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Cider Visit - UK

CAMRA Thanet branch

Friday 14th October 2011

Linda Clarke

The fourth annual Thanet CAMRA Branch Cider Festival was held in the middle of October 2011. It takes place in the basement of the Churchill Tavern, Paragon, Ramsgate, a CAMRA Good Beer Guide pub, which overlooks Ramsgate Harbour. The Churchill is about 20 minutes walk from Ramsgate station but is within easy reach of the Thanet Loop Bus service, the Westcliff Road Bus stop being the nearest and less than 10 minutes walk away.

thanet cider fest 1 bar area

The branch only get access to the room after the Churchill House School Students have had their lunch.

So at about 14.00 it's all hands on deck to sort out the lighting, get the stillage up, bring the ciders and perries in from the store room, get the labels on the containers, organise the glasses and tokens, rearrange the tables and chairs.

All of which had to be ready for opening at 17.00 on that Friday.

I counted fourty-nine ciders and ten perries. I served a few customers, tried a couple of perries and then I volunteered to be part of the judging team. When tasting you only have a small sample, rather than a half pint, so you get to try more variety. Ciderniks Coombe Raider was dry and crisp but a bit too sweet in the aftertaste for my preference. Glebe Farm Side-R Medium Dry had a lovely slightly Elderflower flavour, their Dry was very nice indeed. Rosie's Triple D Cider was also very pleasant, I would have liked to have a pint of it but thought I'd better stick to just the taster.

thanet cider fest 2 judging tableGray's Medium cider was pleasant enough. Checkley Brook Roger's Jolly Dry, was very dry and very nice, I would have liked to have a pint of that one too. There were three available from Ross-on-Wye ciders. I tried the Whisky Cask Dry one which was OK but I am not over keen on ciders matured in Whisky casks. Springfield Red Dragon Medium Dry was very lively, I would have like a half of that. Rich's Legbender had a slightly citrusy lime flavour whereas Handmade Cider Co's Rough Diamond had a slightly sherbety flavour.

Some from Kent were Broomfield Orchard Dry Cider which was very quaffable; Core Fruit Products Penny Pot Medium was nice and very appley. The best, in my opinion, from five from Kent Cider Co was Gala Medium Dry and Appley. I thought the best of the ten perries were Kent Cider Co's and Penalt's Capsy Wennet.

I found out later that the Kent Ciders of the Festival were Broomfield Orchard Medium and Core Fruit Products Penny Pot Medium and from outside of Kent the winners were Rosie's Triple D Cider and Springfield's Red Dragon.

A thoroughly enjoyable festival. Well done to Thanet CAMRA Branch and all their volunteer helpers.

Important Information:

The Churchill Tavern, 19-21 Paragon, Ramsgate, Kent CT11 9JX. Tel: 01843 587862