Latest Blog Posts

New Year and another Cider Road Trip with Fetch The Drinks!

IMG_0969IMG_1860img_0970

 

With Ollie and Wilbur our canine companions safely aboard their crate in the hold – ready to guard our precious cargo (or try and break into it in Wilbur’s case!), we left the sunny, but rather chilly south, in our Fetch the Drinks van to visit some of our wonderful cider producers and stock up on some truly scrumptious ciders. First stop was Oxfordshire to visit Rory Souter, founder of the Cotswold Cider Company and stock up on Yellowhammer (6% – a medium, rich and fruity cloudy cider), No Brainer (6% a classic dry cider with a great depth of flavour), Side Burn (5.4% a medium bottled cider with toffee apple infusion) and Blow Horn (4% with a botanical blend of Indian chai-spices) – all great favourites with our customers. It was great to catch up and hear about some exciting new developments for 2017. Watch this space for new products later in the year.
CCC Rory Souter (2)

From there we headed across into Wiltshire to see Nick Howard, who founded Circle Cider near Swindon in 2011. He’d been busy pressing recently as someone had very kindly given him a load of apples on Christmas Eve. Here we loaded the van with some delicious Bag in Boxes of Butcher’s Dog (7% sweet), Cat’s Tongue (6.1% dry) and Roundabout (5.6% medium).

Nick Circle Cider

On into Somerset to Millwhites Cider based in Rookridge, where orchard pruning was underway. The dogs enjoyed a good run around the paddock before we all headed off loaded up with Bag in Boxes of Rum Cask (7.5% made from West Country cider apples and aged in barrels from The Jamaica Rum Company – full of flavour with a subtle rum finish), Blackberry Blush (4%, a medium dry real cider blushed with blackberry juice) and Rioja Cask (6.7% aged in Rioja casks – dry with a glow of red wine and hints of wood tannin). By now it was absolutley freezing!  On our way south we passed The Willow Man Sculpture near Bridgwater, originally unveiled in 2000 to mark the Millenium. Very impressive 3 tonne structure of willow woven on a steel framen and sometimes referred to as The Withy man or Angel of the South.

Millwhites (1)Millwhites

Devon and Ventons Cyder next.  Here we caught up with Mark Venton in the lovely village of Clyst St Lawrence (so named due to the River Clyst running through Devon). Freezing still but sunny (Mark assured me it was not cold though!  I begged to differ but then I’m always cold!). Here we enjoyed a glass of his Bath and West Show award-winning cider in the paddock before loading up Bag in Boxes of Skippy’s Scrumpy (6% dry, traditional straw-pressed cider) and Apple Vice (6.5%, a medium fruity straw-pressed cider) both made from vintage Devon apples.

Mark Venton Ventons Cider (8)Mark Venton Ventons Cider (7)Mark Venton Ventons cider (2)

Our last stop of the day took us to Hecks which has a lovely farm shop where I took the opportunity of picking up some delicious Smoked Cheddar Cheese made on Batch Farm near Shepton Mallet and some Caramelised Onion Chutney from Rose Farm near Wedmore in Somerset – perfect accompaniments for cider tastings later that evening! Hecks has been producing Traditional Farmhouse Somerset Cider for 6 generations since 1841. This time we collected some single variety Bag in Boxes for a festival order and some BiBs of their Traditional Farmhouse medium.
IMG_1881

This trip saw us breaking our journey with a lovely stop at the wonderful Wheelhouse B & B at Gawbridge Mill in Kingsbury Episcopi on the Somerset Levels. Here we were treated to the most amazing homemade scones on arrival and fresh flowers followed by a delicious breakfast the following morning with oodles of fresh fruit, warm compot, homemade yoghurt and a wonderful full English breakfast wih the choice of duck or hen’s eggs.

The evening was spent at the Wyndham Arms pub in Kingsbury Episcopi drinking some of Julian Temperley’s Burrow Hill Cider and Somerset Cider Brandy – perfect for such a cold night. Ollie and Wilbur certainly enjoyed the evening and the heat from the roaring fires. Needless to say tastings continued back at the Wheelhouse accompanied by some lovely smoked cheddar.

IMG_1902IMG_3387  IMG_1885IMG_1890

After a leisurely walk (us) and run (dogs!) round the paddock before and after breakfast –  (with Wilbur thoroughly enjoying his freedom after several months of lead walks due to an elbow problem) – we drove just a short distance to Burrow Hill to collect some more lovely Traditional cider (dry and medium dry or ‘Alf N ‘Alf as they call it!). Here we were fondly greeted by a very muddy Fudge, one of their farm dogs and had a quick tour round the very impressive Somerset Cider Brandy distillery courtesy of Laura.

 

Burrow Hill Cider (2)IMG_1905Burrow Hill Cider (3)IMG_1907

We then headed off to Perrys Cider, beautifully situated in Dowlish Wake near Ilminster where the family has been making cider since 1920. Here there was a lovely farm shop with many enticing products – (not all alcohol I hasten to add!) although I did get distracted by an appealing bottle of ginger liqueur which I’m sure will have many medicinal benefits!

We spent a long time talking to a wonderful gentleman who’d worked there for over 40 years and enjoyed a quick visit to their museum before heading off with Vintage Pathfinder (7.2% medium) on board.

 

Perrys Cider (3)Perrys Cider (5)Perrys Cider (6)Perrys Cider (4)

 

Final official stop – Green Valley Cyder located at Darts Farm on the outskirts of Exeter where we collected some lovely boxes of Vintage Cyder (7.5%) and spent some time catching up with the wonderful Larry of Green Valley (pictured below). This also provided the perfect opportunity for a yummy lunch stop –  delicious hot chocolate, pork and scrumpy pie and millionaire’s shortbread. There was also a great dog park for Ollie and Wilbur to go wild in before heading back home with a slight detour for a sunset walk along the bay at Lyme Regis.

IMG_1942IMG_1944IMG_1945IMG_1950

IMG_3388IMG_1954

Another perfect road trip collecting cider ready for you to order through our website or trade department for commercial sales!

Halloween Cider Fest – Fri 28th Oct – cider list

We have a fantastic range of traditional craft ciders (with appropriate Halloween-themed names or logos!) from small artisan producers at our Halloween Cider Festival this Friday!  And if you liked them – all available to buy in 36-pint party-size bag in boxes on the Fetch The Drinks website.

Cotswold Cider Company – No Brainer dry 6%

ccc NB BIB

Circle Cider – Cat’s Tongue dry 6.1%

cats-tongue

Mr Whitehead – Devil’s Device dry 8.4%

devils device

 

SeaCider – Medium 4.6%

seacider2

West Milton – Midnight Stumbler medium 6%

west milton logo

Black Rat – medium 4.7%

Black-Rat-Cider

Handmade Cider – Crazy Diamond sweet 6.8%

Handmade-Cider

Mr Whitehead – Midnight Special Perry sweet 5%

midnight special

Snails Bank – Fruit Bat sweet and fruity 4%

snails bank fruit bat

Beard and Sabre – Blackbeard sweet and fruity 4%

bs-blackbeard

Millwhites – Rum Cask medium 7.5%

millwhites rum cask

Farmer Jim – Rootin Tootin medium 4%

roottoot

PLUS … amazing cider drinking and dancing music from the Mother Ukers!  The Mother Ukers are ‘The Ukulele Band’ who unleash the power of their humble little four string ukes and guarantee to tickle your ears, kiss your soul & get them feet a tapping!

Yummy hog roast from foodie legend Carl at The Perfect Pig

£5 per ticket – book on-line through the Shelley Theatre website.

WHAT IS JUICE CONCENTRATE AND WHAT DOES IT DO TO MY CIDER?

Fascinating article by Jeff Alworth from All About Beer Magazine 17th February 2016 – copied in full.

 

Poverty Lane Orchards

The history of cider doesn’t involve much in the way of technical innovation until the 20th century. The biggest challenge for cidermakers has always been the juice—it is heavy and takes up huge amounts of space. Because apples ripen only once a year, cidermakers end up having to deal with a year’s supply as it becomes available between September and the end of the year. But in the 20th century, clever people figured a work-around: concentrate the juice, store it, and then rehydrate and ferment as needed throughout the year. And that’s what large producers do.

I had never really put a lot of thought into how juice is concentrated until I sat in on a session at CiderCon – an industry conference – with Terry Chambers, President and GM of FruitSmart, a company that prepares and sells apple juice and apple juice concentrate (AJC) in Yakima. FruitSmart is not principally a supplier to cider makers, but they have lately started getting requests, and Chambers was at CiderCon in Portland, Oregon to explain what the different products were and how they’re processed. It was enlightening.

When apples come to FruitSmart, the process for all products begins the same way: the fruit is inspected, washed, and milled or pulped. That’s exactly what you’d find in any traditional cidery. The product lines then diverge, going toward unprocessed juicing or processing. For the unprocessed products, the milled apples are then pressed and either pasteurized or sold unpasteurized. (The latter product is new and offered on the request of cideries.) It’s cloudy and viscous—the rustic sweet cider you’d buy at a farm stand.

The processed track looks a lot different. After milling, the pulp is heated to 190°F or higher. The juice is then treated with enzymes for 30 to 90 minutes, which breaks down those viscous compounds in regular juice. Then it goes through “hot extraction” (juicing), filtration, and then concentration, which is a process like distillation (more heat) where the water is boiled off. To recap: processed juice is heated three times and broken down with enzymes in its long journey toward concentration.

The effect is, as you would guess, profound. During the session we tasted the regular unprocessed juice, a processed juice that hadn’t been concentrated, and then juice made from concentrate. The unprocessed juice was farm-fresh, complex, aromatic, and viscous on the tongue; it also had that slightly chalky mouthfeel you get from apple skins. The processed juice is what you remember from childhood—very light color, perfectly clear, vaguely appley aroma and a one-note, very sweetly apple flavor. The concentrate had even less color—it was just this side of water—absolutely no aroma, was the consistency of water, and it didn’t even really taste of fruit at all. It was basically a sugar-water solution.

In fact, all the flavor and aroma gets blown off during the process of concentration, and FruitSmart captures it and sells it as “fruit essence.” If you are a juice-box maker, you might buy both the AJC and the essence and when you rehydrate before packaging, you’d spritz the dull juice with a bit of essence to make it taste like apples.

So what to make of all this? There is a very heated but mostly subterranean war going on between small cideries who make “orchard-based” products without concentrate and larger producers who have to rely on AJC to meet production demands. I had mostly been agnostic about the AJC debate: so long as the juice was rehydrated to its original strength, this seemed like a convenience rather than a transgression. But learning more about the concentration process has made me question that.

Stella Cidre label

If you pick up a bottle of supermarket cider, you’ll likely find a string of ingredients that includes words like water, sugar, apple juice concentrate, carbon dioxide, malic acid, natural flavor and caramel color. All of those extra ingredients are necessary to replace everything that got stripped out during processing: water and sugar to rebalance the concentrate, natural flavor (like FruitSmart’s essence) to replace lost flavor, and caramel color to restore its lost hues.

There’s nothing inherently wrong or immoral about using AJC in a cider. Many cideries only use a portion, blending in more flavorful whole juices to add character. And even when a cidery uses only AJC, they reconstruct the flavors and aromas to create a profile they’re looking for. It’s not even hugely “unnatural,” in the sense that these constructed ciders use natural (albeit processed) ingredients. Rather, the takeaway for me is realizing how processed AJC really is, and how manipulated ciders using it must by necessity be. It results in a consistent, mass market product that can be made year-round. If you’re looking for the flavor of an orchard in your cider, though, you won’t find it in products that use apple juice concentrate.

Coming soooooooooon! THE CIDER SHED – For Fetch The Drinks Cider Tastings

Work is well underway with our great builder Louis, to create the perfect venue for sampling and enjoying … guess what?  Yes, CIDER, from all our wonderful producers across the country.  We are transforming what was the cider storage facility into a fantastic be-spoke wooden chalet for a cosy intimate space dedicated to sampling cider!  

cider-shed

Even the TV aerial point has gone in, in anticipation of those all-important Autumn Internationals and 6 Nation matches!

Bookings for up to 15 people for cider tastings with ploughman’s lunches.  Contact us on cheers@fetchthedrinks.com for more details.

Watch this space for further news.

Cider Tasting at the Bournemouth Stable at Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival Weekend (and Ollie and Wilbur came too!)

Following the antics of Wilbur’s last road trip – 15 hours in the front row with us – he (and Ollie his 6 year old canine companion) have been ‘promoted’ to the hold!

wilbur-van
Fear not there is light and ventilation and some rather tasty plywood! We will soon be taking possessions of a new crate I can assure you.

So off we ventured to Bournemouth (only 10 minutes down the road from us) to listen to some exciting bands playing in the Lower Garden as part of the amazing Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival and to sample the cider delights of The Stable Bournemouth – recently opened pizza and cider bar and restaurant.

sean-dogs

As you can see, the dogs were completely captivated by the bands which included the Mother Ukers, pioneers of Ukular Fusion, who will be playing at the Bournemouth Halloween Cider Festival on October 28th.

halloween-cider-festival-2016-1-page-001

 

Then onto the Stable, fantastically located in the heart of the town on Westover Road with its terrace overlooking the Lower Gardens. And dog friendly! When I checked that included a puppy, they said even better – and proceeded to bring them their own water bowl. 5 star treatment indeed!

Here we sampled 5 tasty ciders which were part of their Tasting Board

:stable-cider-tasting-board

Purbeck Cider Company Dorset Draft 5% – fairly dry, sparkling, crisp and fresh, with a lovely explosion of flavour, light in colour;

Purbeck Cider Company Dabinett 5% – slightly dryer than the draft in my opinion, sparkling and light in colour;

Hunny Bubble by Dorset Nectar 3.8% – a still cider, beautiful rich colour with distinct honey aroma and subtle honey taste;

Lilley’s Cider 6.8% – cloudy appearance and lovely and sweet to start with. Initial velvety texture but lacked depth in my opinion and left a rather sharp after taste;

Black Rat Perry 5.6% – a lovely sweet and fresh cider with an intense pear flavour. Yummy!

Top of my tasting list were the Dorset Draft and the Black Rat Perry. Top of Sean’s were the Dorset Dabinett and Dorset Nectar’s Hunny Bubble.  Needless to say all can be purchased through Fetch the Drinks website!
sean-cider-tasting

Another great day!

Bournemouth Halloween Cider Festival – Shelley Theatre Friday 28th Oct 6pm

halloween-cider-festival-2016-1-page-001

 

So why is this the best Halloween event to hang-out at this year?  Well, we’ve laid on all the perfect ingredients for the perfect night out – real cider, hog roast, foot-tapping dancing music, halloween fancy dress (optional – but why not when you can win a case of cider for the best dressed halloweener!?) and a great location!

A dozen traditionally made real craft ciders from small artisan producers sourced by Fetch The Drinks.

Amazing cider drinking and dancing music from the Mother Ukers!  The Mother Ukers are ‘The Ukulele Band’ who unleash the power of their humble little four string ukes and guarantee to tickle your ears, kiss your soul & get them feet a tapping!

Yummy hog roast from foodie legend Carl at The Perfect Pig

£5 per ticket – book on-line through the Shelley Theatre website.

 

Fetch Cider Club…members receive their first case of craft cider!

fcc2

Fetch Cider Club is an exclusive on-line real cider members club.  With a monthly subscription of only £39.00 (including free delivery!) Fetch Cider Club members receive a MONTHLY mixed case of 12 x bottles (500 or 330 ml) of traditional craft cider or perry.

fcc3

We have just despatched our first ever mixed selection box to our members!   This month’s carefully selected cider and perry included (from left to right on the photo)

Cotswold Cider Company No Brainer

New Forest Cider Kingston Black

Millwhites Rum Cask

Burrow Hill Perry

Millwhites Scrumpy

Ciderniks Yellow Sun

Celtic Marches Lily The Pink

Celtic Marches Slack Alice

Dorset Nectar Jurassic Skyline

Sandford Orchard Bumbleberry

Pilton Keeved

Millwhites Hedge Layer

Don’t worry if you’ve missed out this time – sign up as a member here to get your exclusive case next month!

Or we have plenty of other options of getting cider from the orchard to your doorstep!

 

 

West Country Road Trip!

We have just come back from a flying visit to the West Country, catching up with our wonderful producers and collecting more delicious ciders on our first trip of the Autumn – and Wilbur, our 6 month old bundle of Labrador fun, came too!

img_0969

After some heavy traffic and a very inquisitive Wilbur, the first stop was Ciderniks in the picturesque village of Kintbury in West Berkshire.

img_2729-1

Here we loaded up with delicious Ciderniks Coombe Raider (6.5%, light & dry) and Kingston Black (6.5% with a distinctly nutty flavour, single varietal cider – 1st place 2015 CAMRA South of England award winner). Wilbur was very taken by the exciting smells of the Kintbury pavements and the Ciderniks beagle!

Next stop was Beard and Sabre in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

img_0968

This was a trip down memory lane for us as we used to live just outside Cirencester many years ago. This says a lot about us as I wanted to visit the church where our middle son had been baptised and Sean wanted to revisit the rugby club! Needless to say a lack of time and lots of new developments on the Cirencester roundabouts prevented either happening! Anyway, back to the cider. Beard and Sabre produce some truly wonderful ciders pressed traditionally by rack and cloth. Today saw us collect Berry Master (4% medium with hints of strawberry and raspberry) and Black Beard, what a wonderful name, (4% medium dark fruit cider with blackcurrant).

On into Somerset, we stopped off at Broadoak Cider to stock up on some tasty Perry (7.5% sweet, refreshing glorious pear) before driving through spectacular countryside and challenging lanes (!) to get to Nempnetts Cider in the village of Nempnett Thrubwell near Bristol where they’re based on a pig farm. Can you imagine Wilbur’s excitement?! What smells, noise and squelchy mud to get stuck into. Here we stocked up on some lovely boxes of Piglets Choice (7% single variety oak-matured) and Piglets Perry (7% cloudy straw colour with wonderful floral pear aroma).

img_0977

Back on the road now complete with smelly but very happy dog, we headed for Wilkins Cider in Mudgley, near Wedmore. Here Roger Wilkins has spent his life dairy farming whilst also finding time to produce award-winning traditional ciders which we saw being pressed. A warm welcome and a glass of cider always awaits you here. Well worth a visit if you find yourself down on the Somerset Levels. Unfortunately time was against us so no loitering or drinking permitted. Dry, medium and sweet Traditional Farmhouse Cider were all loaded up and we were off again!

img_0970

Next stop, Burrow Hill Cider overlooking the Somerset Levels where the farm has been pressing apples for more than 150 years. They also have their own distillery where they produce Somerset Cider Brandy, very popular with some of our clients. Having taken Traditional Cider (6% dry, medium-dry and medium) on board we headed off to Street, near Glastonbury, to catch up with Hecks Cider (where on our last visit we bumped into David Cameron and George Osbourne!  Maybe as they are both looking for jobs they should now consider producing cider!).

cameron-osborne-at-hecks

The Hecks family have been making Traditional Farmhouse Somerset Cider for six generations since 1841. Here we collected dry, medium and sweet ciders fermented in oak barrels and Farmhouse Perry (6.5% fragrant and fruity).

img_0985

Then on to our last producer of the day and we had finally made it into Devon – Green Valley Cider located on the outskirts of Exeter where we stocked up with Rum Tiddly Um Tum, Vintage (8.3% medium dry) Strawberry (4%) and Dragon Tears (4.7% dry sparkling).

We rewarded ourselves with one last stop where we popped into the opening night of the new Stable in Exeter and sat on the fabulous roof terrace and obviously tried some superb real cider recently delivered by Fetch The Drinks of course! Wilbur just tried to eat the plants.

dsc_0140

We finally made it home at about 11 pm and were just about still on speaking terms with Wilbur who was still full of energy and in his best and most destructive mode! At least the cider was safely stored away in the back!!

The Dorset Cider Bar @ The Great Dorset Steam Fair

GDSF barHaving attended the event as customers for the past few years, The Great Dorset Steam Fair had always been a distant dream for the Fetch The Drinks team. However, this year it became reality, with only two months to go until the event we finally got the call, we were in! The Dorset Steam Fair would have a Dorset Cider Bar for the very first time. Although we hold nothing against the previous and current cider bars at the show and have always been great fans of the Burrow Hill Cider Bus, we and now the organisers could not go another year without the County’s finest produce on offer at the County’s finest Show. Read More

Cider Breakdown, Who Drinks What?

alex articleNow the Ashes are back where they belong, the Pub & Bar magazine have put their own averages together to analyse the consistently improving performance of Cider.

The data was collated by Cardinal, collecting opinions and data from customers, to create The Cider Report. Unlike many drinks, cider has an even split between men and women drinkers, displaying its diversity and Broad appeal. It is also interesting to note that the younger drinking age bracket have drunk the least amount of cider, perhaps displaying a reluctance to try something new or a lack of education in the expanding market. The middle bracket on the other hand are more likely to choose a premium product and are therefore not put off by a higher price or an unknown product. However, it does display an encouraging progression for cider and a willingness for the product in each category.bar and pub

In the second graphic a clearer breakdown of what type of cider is being consumed by each sex is displayed. The Roooooot of the findings point towards an even spread of cider drinkers between men and women, however pear and flavoured varieties are extremely more popular with women with men sticking to the traditional forms. “One of the key growth drivers we have observed is the heightened demand for flavoured cider,” points out Kathryn Purchase, director of customer marketing at Carlsberg UK. “Consumers are increasingly discerning and are keen to trial new and interesting flavour profiles,” especially the women according to the research. The style of delivery also differs between the sexes, with men preferring the draught option and women strongly favouring the bottle. suggesting that women are more likely to chose a product based on appearance and quality of  branding where as men may trust the look of a product due to its position on a bar hand pump.

 

Thanks to Pub and Bar for collating the information and producing such aesthetic designs, we hope our readers enjoy your findings as much as we have! For more info visit them at http://pubandbar.com/.