An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Friday, 14 January 2011

Badger Week III

It was with thoughts of the wurzels, and much “ooo arrr” that I cracked open a couple of ciders whilst sat in my favourite position in front of the telly. There has been quite a revitalisation of cider over the few years prompted initially by the success of the Magners brand selling premium priced grog to UK punters. This would naturally lead to other producers having a bash promoting their own cider brands or creating them (see super normal profit, how it prompts market entry from competition, moving the market to normal profit equilibrium and explaining full well why Magners have never repeated their initial success and never will again regardless of whatever brand extension they attempt , or whatever the company says to the markets) These days you can find a fair few premium priced ciders on the shelves. I gather there has been a knock on effect for “real cider” too, a wince inducing product beloved of the bearded members of our community. There is of course one cynical reason you can assume with some brands. With alcopop suffering at the hands of the tax man and seen as a product hawked at kids, you can produce something sweet and fizzy as a fermentation rather than mixing an ethanol distillation and call it cider and hawk it at that important part of the market for people that want to get pissed but don’t like the taste of drink. A market not only containing teenagers, but indeed some adults.

However this stuff I was about to neck firmly sits in the premium end of the market. Premium meaning “actually made from apples” rather than flavoured corn syrup. Nowt against fermented flavoured cord syrup, ethanol is ethanol in my view and cheap cider is usually the only cider I actually like. Unlike beer where I do like most beers, whether expensive authentic imported stuff, pongy cask ale, keg bitter or cold fizzy delicious cooking lager. I like ‘em all but being cheap I neck the cheap stuff. With cider I’ve never much liked the proper “real cider” stuff, considering it “minging” and full of dead rats, and can only really neck the chilled fizzy variety.

These Badger ciders are contract made by Thatcher’s. I don’t know whether they are “real” in the bearded sense of the word. I tried to find out using Google but the technicalities of the definition put me into a boredom induced coma. Read it for yourself and decide here, then tell me. Whether “real” or not in the bearded sense of the word they are real in the philosophical sense in so far that they tangibly exist. They are also products of authenticity and tradition being as I’ve said before actually made from apples and pears. So will I like ‘em?

Badger Apple Wood Cider Oak Aged 6% of Thatcher’s in Somerset, made from Dabnett & Redstreak apples from a single harvest. Medium dry with oaky wood infused notes. Looks promising, at least the 6% bit does. Cracking it open you get a sweet appley smell, which is I guess what you would expect. It is lightly carbonated and on the first swig you get a thick full on apple flavour. Not as thin as other commercial ciders, and also with a lingering sweetness. The sweetness is all natural with none of the saccharine sweetness of the cheaper brands. I loved it. Delicious. Really hits the spot and arguably a superior product.

Badger Pear Wood Cider is a crisp and fruity 5%. Cracking it open the smell was to my mind “odd” but then again I have to confess to being unfamiliar with pear ciders other than the very name “pear cider” can get the beards all red faced and argumentative. “It’s Perry” they will scream “Pear cider doesn’t exist” they will rant. Big deal, so what, get over it. It is no big deal if a “barley wine” drops the term and becomes "strong ale”. So what if it’s called “Pear Cider”. Nobody knows what the fook Perry is. Everyone knows what cider is. What is Perry? Well it’s basically cider made from pears instead of apples. Why don’t we call it pear cider then, we might sell more? Perry? The only Perry I fancy is Katy Perry. The odd smell wasn’t unpleasant, it was floral. Maybe I wasn’t expecting that. The taste was all sweetness with a treacly stickiness at the roof of the mouth. I had a swig. Alright, not bad, not exactly my cup of tea but more than just drinkable, worth trying. The squeeze liked it more than me. My preference being the apple cider, her preference the pear cider. All in all 2 nice decently respectable drinks I’d neck again and entirely lacking the super strength white cider tramp image cider used to possess.


The Beer Nut said...

[Fixes false beard and adopts pub bore voice]
I think you'll find that cider is not "brewed", it is "made".

Also, Katy Perry sounds like an autotuned foghorn.

Cooking Lager said...

Whadya expect from an ignorant lager lout?

Out of interest, how do they make it? I'm presuming a process of fermenting it with yeast, usually in every other sense called brewing?

The Beer Nut said...

Wouldn't want to be waiting for a pot of tea in your gaff...

Brewing is all about adding things to hot water, hence the application to tea and coffee. Cider is all done cold, to enhance the dead-rat flavours.

Cooking Lager said...

Fascinating stuff, Nutty, I learnt something and thank you. The corn syrup stuff, that is added to water and would be "brewed" right?

You're right not to want any cup of tea that I make. If you pop round hope the squeeze makes it.

The Hearty Goodfellow said...

Revenge tends to 'brew' but it is also famously 'best served cold.'

So, revenge is definitely a beer - not a cider.

I'm comforted by that.

The Beer Nut said...

Dunno about that, Cookie. I'd suspect not, but I couldn't be sure. Besides, Magner's ads here will tell you that it's made in a farmyard from freshly-harvested local apples by an inappropriately labour-intensive process.

Curmudgeon said...

Cider is made more like wine than beer. Last year the government changed the rules so that anything taxed as "cider" has to contain at least 35% apple (or pear) juice. Less than that, and it is subject to a higher rate of duty as "made wine". Therefore it's now less profitable to sell fermented corn syrup as cider.

Cooking Lager said...

Basics & Value cider is now £1.35 for 2 litres, Mudge. It was £1.32 when I reviewed it last April. Rotten, stinking governments.

As for wine/beer, isn't it all just sugary liquid fermented, whether that is fruit juice or rinsed out malted grain? Though today I learned brewing is extracting from the grain, like extracting from tea leaves and not the process of fermentation. Blogging rocks, I'll keep at it.

Tandleman said...

Isn't it something like pear cider can contain apples and pears, whereas perry can only contain pears?

Cider can contain black rats I understand, so it is somewhere in the middle.

Tim said...

@Tandy - I believe that Perry has to be made with perry pears which are a slightly different species to dessert pears and have a higher tannin concentration.

Just as a true crab apple is a slightly different species to regular apples, although with cider there are true cider variety apples of which some are techniocally crabs and some are technocally regular apples.