April 9, 2016 § Leave a comment
I don’t know about you, but for many years my understanding of cider was limited to my experiences with Grower, Okanagan, etc. That was until I was in the UK, sitting in a pub, asking for a cider and what I got was nothing like what I had before.
‘Craft Cider’ is right now growing at a faster rate than Craft Beer. In fact both domestic and import producers are scrambling to meet demand.
We were very pleased when Janet Docherty of Merridale Cider to explain all things Cider.
I can honestly say that this was one of the best shows that we have done and there are a number of great stories and tangents. I encourage you to download the podcast and give it a listen as there is a ton more that what can be outlined here in the show notes.
Link To Podcast: (when available).
Segment 1 ~ Cider Apples and What The Heck is Scrumpy?
First off great cider is not made from eating apples. Cider apples have more tannin and would be more bitter and puckering than regular apples.
Back in the day, a couple of centuries ago, cider was the beverage of the peasantry in western England and Northwestern France. In fact it was even used as currency.
Scrumpy in fact is also known as a Farmhouse as it was made at each farm. Often quite murky and thick it was a great source or sustenance in lean years.
The name scrumpy shows the peasant and colourful history of the beverage. To scrump is to steal, and it seems that the English peasantry was inclined to steal the apples rather than do without cider.
Segment 2 ~ The making of Cider
Neither pesticides nor herbicides come anywhere near Merridale and all the farming is organic, although nowhere does it say that on the bottle. They have been doing it this way since the beginning, it’s the right thing to do, so they never felt the need to add it to the label.
Each cider is a blend of the various apples. A cider is made from each of the apple types then blended together.Multiple blends are usually tasted prior to settling on the ‘right one’.
Segment 3 ~ Distilling
Merridale also does distillation. They make a Vodka, a Gin with 40 different, locally foraged botanicals, and a whisky that is in very short supply.
They also make line of fortified products that take which is a blend of wine made from fruit and spirit made from the same fruit. Winter Apple is like Apple Pie in a bottle.
Segment 4 ~ The Business
Merridale is a family business and has been in Janet’s family for 17 years.
Strangely, they operate under what is called a modified winery license which was created for the original owners 25 years ago, when the government didn’t think it was necessary to create a Cidery license.
In addition to making classic ciders like Scrumpy, Cyser, House, Traditional and Merri Berri (only available during Spring and Summer), spirits, Merridale has a wonderful bistro and does a multitude of events such as for the Love of Gin which is coming up on April 30th 2016 at 6pm (reservations are required).
For More Information About Merridale: Merridale Cider
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