I’m a bit of a fan of subscription services as you get to try out new things regularly and they work really well if they are geared to something you have an interest in or enjoy. So a drinks based one seemed like a great move. Crafty Nectar have a plan where you can opt for 3,6 or 12 boxes a month and try out some premium ciders. You get some tasting notes with the pack and it’s worth reading before you open your cider particularly if you are planning to serve it with food.
Now I’m a real ale fan and like nothing better than a good pint of bitter, but I also enjoy lots of other types of drinks. Cider has been undergoing a renaissance in recent years and increasingly I have been served a craft cider as part of the wine flight of a top restaurant. I’ve found that it usually has been chosen with a lot of care and is a great match for the dish, often better than some of the wines elsewhere on the list. In fact, the first cider I tried from my pack was the Angioletti Rosé and it would be a perfect choice for dishes that you would normally pair with a sparkling rosé wine. It’s easy to believe that you are drinking a Prosecco as the apples and the splash of blueberry mimic Prosecco very well. In fact, this would be a good lower alcohol alternative.
Next I tried Kentish Pip – Wild Summer Elderflower which was less to my taste. It tasted very similar to a lot of craft lagers I felt and whilst I felt that it was a complex, yet refreshing drink, it wasn’t one that I would pick out again.
I prefer the rounder taste of the West Milton Cider Company’s Lancombe Rising. It is produced with a long, slow fermentation, but it’s bottled while it’s still young to retain the natural sugars. It has a hint of toffee to the taste and would be good served with meatier flavours if you wanted to pair it with food. It’s recently won Supreme Champion (2017) at the Royal Bath and West Show.
Overall I had 3 very different ciders to try out and very much enjoyed sampling a range of quality craft ciders.