Friday, 13 November 2009

Dave's Perry and Severn Cider

I enjoyed watching Hugh F-W playing Gloucestershire Roulette under a perry pear tree last night. Just so you know, those pears are hard and they hurt, especially if they happen to fall twenty feet.

Earlier I was visiting Nick and Tom Bull at Severn Cider in Awre, across the river from Days Cottage. In case you were wondering, Awre is pronounced 'Arrr'.

They make a proper drop over there - strong and fairly dry, with a good clean flavour. The sparkling cider is particularly good. I've been a fan for a while, so it was a treat to meet the makers, who were busy pressing apples for this year's cider. Big bags of Kingston Black and crates of Dabinett promised great things, and there are some unusual apples in the mix too - the venerable Hagloe Crab and rare Box Kernel.

Their perry is excellent too and they've just started doing a new bottle-conditioned product. The region between the Severn and the Forest of Dean is legendary perry pear country, and the Blakeney Red, named after the neighbouring town, is their staple ingredient. Brown Bess, Huffcap and Malvern Hills add character. Nick pointed out that the latter is also known as Moorcroft and Stinking Bishop - which is where Charles Martell's famous cheese gets its name.

I've already mentioned Days Cottage and Oliver's. There's an incomplete (and slightly out of date) list of perry producers here, with Orchard's, Gregg's Pit and Gwatkins among the best. Gwatkins was featured on Oz Clarke and James May's TV show.

Tom Bull took me for a swift half at the Railway Inn at Newnham-on-Severn - a place of pilgrimage for cider and perry fans. And a lovely pub it is too. Meanwhile, it seems Severn Cider has a bit of a fan club (thanks to the National Association of Cider Makers for the pic)...

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