Spent yesterday afternoon photographing the mendip Morris Men in front of the Thatchers Cider stand at a balmy Bath and west show in Somerset. On such a hot day the cider went down really well with the crowds (and me after I stopped taking pics), the morris men adding to the traditional festival atmosphere.
After the shoot and with half an eye on the Scrumping project’s appearance at this sundays avon wildlife trust summer fair at Willsbridge, Bristol, I wandered over to the cider tent. I’d brought along a couple of this year’s ciders along in the hope of getting an expert to give some expert advice on which cider to exhibit. I purposely brought along a sample of my fruitier blends as they tasted a little different from what I was expecting, I couldn’t work out whether they were fantastically brilliant or fantastically awful. Luckily Cider guru Andrew Lea was on hand to tell me the cider was fantastically awful:-( !!
Well, I’m exaggerating a litle, he kindly described it a slightly acidic, possibly from a bad strain of wild yeast. I must admit it knocked me a little, I thought I did everything right on this batch but I probably didn’t use enough SO2 at the start of fermentation. On a more optimistic note though he’s given me a couple of tips on how to improve it, which I’ll put into practice over the next couple of days. Also, I have got a few other barrels which taste a little better/traditional and it’s one of those which I’ll bring to the summer festival on Sunday.
So if you are brave enough come along say hello and taste some slightly underwhelming cider (should improve with age) , plus there are lots of other lovely stalls exhibits and music to enjoy, so it promises to be a great afternoon.
In the cider tent yesterday it was also lovely to meet Somerset/cider encyclopaedia Alan Stone, poet and writer James Crowden and Gaymers Cider chief Bob Chaplin. You always meet interesting people in the Cider Tent and you get the opportunity to taste some great craft ciders including award winning Bollhayes dry which was rather yummy !
And to finish on a glass half full note – On the way home last night one of my cider bottles leaked through my shoulder bag and onto the car floor, so when I got back into the car around 7.30am this morning I was greeted by a very very strong cider vinegar smell, so maybe there is a future for the acidic cider after all !!