Best cider and perry named at UK championship

Harry’s Scrummage was named best cider at the CAMRA National Cider and Perry Championships held at Reading Beer and Cider Festival 2018. Nempnett Piglet’s Choice won perry gold.

Blend wins top cider award

Single varietals fared well in the annual selection, which followed more than a year of local tasting panels and regional heats, but the overall winner of the cider category was a blend.

Scrummage Medium Farmhouse Cider made by Harry’s Cider, in Long Sutton, Somerset was named best cider. The judges described it as ‘a sharp but easy drinking cider that stretches to a long lingering and pleasant aftertaste.’ A blend of bittersweet and bitter sharp apples produces a medium cider with an ABV of 6.2% that is unfiltered and matured for a minimum of six months. It is sold by the 20l bag in box.

Harry’s blends varieties such as Harry Masters Jersey, Dabinett, Yarlington Mills and Browns Apple. However, cidermaker Harry Fry won the 2017 British Cider Championships held at the Royal Bath and West Show with his single variety Dabinett which is back-sweetened with juice.

Whin Hill wins cider and parry gongs

A single varietal collected silver at Reading. Whin Hill of Norfolk’s Browns Premium Cider was described as ‘a light & fruity tasting single variety cider with a bite,’ by judges. Whin Hill also picked up a bronze for its Perry.

The cider bronze went to the Herefordshire cidermaker Orgasmic’s sweet White Jersey single varietal. Orgasmic also produces medium sweet Brown Snout and medium Yarlington Mill single varietals, blended ciders and perry.

Keith Balch of Nempnett Cider Company said his perry gold was ‘fantastic news and just shows what great products you can make from 100-year-old orchards.’ The judges called Piglet’s Choice Perry well-balanced ‘with a clean and fruity taste.’ The fruit is hand-picked from 108-year-old trees in village neighbouring Nempnett Thrubwell near Blagdon, Somerset.

The perry silver went to Oliver’s Perry made by Tom Oliver who rebuilt family orchards in  Herefordshire from scratch in the 1990s. Oliver’s Cider and Perry is one of the organizers of the the Cider Salon in Bristol, 22-24 June, a tasting event with around 20 producers displaying.

The Reading Beer and Cider Festival took place from 3-6th May at Christchurch Meadows in Caversham where more than 550 beers and 150 ciders and perrys were on show with a selection of foreign beers, wines and mead.

Championship rules ban pasteurization and concentrates

The national competition is open to draught ciders and the best are judged ‘blind’ by a team led by one of CAMRA’s Apple committee but otherwise anonymous. The national finals are open to producers who make at least 100 gallons for commercial sale but earlier rounds are open to producers on any scale.

Under CAMRA’s rules the liquid content before fermentation must consist entirely of non-pasteurized apple or pear juice and no concentrates can be used. No pasteurization is allowed during the production process. Colourings, flavourings and artificial carbonation are all banned. Sweeteners can be added after full fermentation and up to 10% water can be added but no micro-filtration is allowed.

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