Kicking off my cider tasting, with not so much style

So how do you kick off a food and drink loving blog… well a trip to the off-license of course, with the City Suppers crew! And this isn’t any old off-license, its Stirchley Wines. No idea why it’s got ‘wine’ in the title as its selection of wine isn’t anything special at all but when it comes to beers and ales, look no further. That’s what it’s got its rep for among beer loving aficionados in Birmingham and I could see why.

But as always with these places, cider isn’t half as well represented but there were a good couple of shelves dedicated to the refreshing beverage. A mixture of independent and mainstream ciders, but being in this type of shop it would have been cheating to pick a Magners. Not being a cider expert, rather a drinking expert, I did what felt best – choose a couple of bottles based on the label.

Well, why not. Earn those creative types some kudos for the hours of hard work they put into design of the label.

So I’ve ended up with Abrahalls Cider, Wyld Wood and el Gaitero.

And there was no time like the present than to crack open a cold cider to sup away at during the rest of the afternoon. After making such an effort to get the drinks, you can imagine how much I was looking forward to sampling.

Abrahall's well rounded medium cider

Abrahall’s ‘well rounded medium’ cider

I reached for Abrahalls, examined the bottle in delight and with a big grin opened it. I immediately went in for the smell and POW, the strong oaky apple smell hit me. Now for many ‘real cider’ drinkers, they’d have known they were onto a winner but I knew from that moment I wasn’t going to like this. Don’t get me wrong, I love cider but I can’t take the scrumpy types in this world – they’re just too overpowering for me and transport me to farmland, not beautiful apple orchards. I instead need a more balanced cider and this definitely wasn’t.

But I’m not one to waste carefully crafted cider, whether I like it or not someone has taken time and consideration into creating this so I owe it to them to taste it. Although it didn’t get any better for me. Instantly I got a sharp kick, followed by a really dry feeling in my mouth and was left with that oaky aftertaste – not a fan.

I was surprised to see that when looking at Celtic Marches, the producers, website it was described as a ‘well rounded medium cider’ – no it’s not, it was dry as a bone. But here’s where it gets better, apparently Celtic Marches make a separate ‘Dry Still Cider’ too. Having described my reaction to this one, who challenges me to try that one?!?

After a not so successful start into my exploration of ciders outside of the mainstream mix, I’m holding out for my other two purchases, hoping they’ll give me that cider fulfilment I’m after.


Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Cider, Independent


  1. Spanish cider in the sun | citysuppers - May 2, 2013

    […] onto a winner. Lots of fizz followed by a lovely fresh smell of apples, not the oaky farmyard aroma I described before. Reading on the bottle that it’s made with 100% freshly pressed apples I could see why this […]

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