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Baker's Arms Holiday Cottages

South Perrott, Dorset

This is an owners own site, run by Richard and Mary Torrens.

Local cider producers

In 2018 I started making my own cider. It wasn't very pretty but, compared with all the commercial ciders I had ever tasted, it had phenomenal flavour! See Cider on my web site. I have also been following the cider workshop mailing list since 2018 where there is a lot to be learned but it gets quite technical: starting to produce your own cider is not at all difficult - until something goes wrong, which, with a little understanding, is not that likely.

It is also very easy to make your own cider vinegar - probably easier than cider. See my page on vinegar making.

Mouse contamination

Many (perhaps most!) craft cider makers are apparently not aware of the wild yeasts of the brettanomyces/dekkera type which can contaminate cider as they impart an off-flavour colloquially known as "mouse" as the taste, to those who can taste it, is said to be reminiscent of the smell of a mouse cage. Or like mouse urine. But others claim the flavour is like toast! It seems that a lot of cider makers simply cannot taste it and are not aware of it! It is usually perceived as an aftertaste. My wife is very sensitive to it. I, less so - sensitivity to the taste does vary enormously as, probably, does the flavour perception. If present and you are sensitive, it can make the cider undrinkable or certainly unpleasant. However in small amounts it can simply add to the complexity of flavour.

Cider types

We tend to like dry ciders, not too alcoholic, from Sainsburys and Waitrose, many of which are produced in bulk by Symonds. So a good cider needs to beat these relatively cheap bulk ciders. Sadly, many do not!

These bulk ciders are produced industrially and will always taste the same. Craft ciders, from small producers, vary from batch to batch and from year to year. That is part of their charm and should be borne in mind when reading the notes below - some less tasty when we tried them may be better when you try them. Or vice-versa!

I think a good recommendation, if you visit a cider producer, is to ask them about mouse and if they are not aware of it, be cautious! Especially is the label does not state that it contains sulphites.

So we are sampling local cider-makers gradually and I will add my opinions here.

Bridge Farm Cider

A small local producer on the A30 just before East Chinnock. They will often let you taste their ciders. They brew pear as well as apple. Unfortunately the ciders we tasted were somewhat insipid. One, according to my wife, had a slight mousiness - which might have been masked if the cider had any significant flavour. I am less sensitive to brettanomyces contamination, so I did not notice it.

When we visited Bridge Farm Cider the "boss" was absent and the young man in the shop did not even know about brettanomyces contamination. So not recommended!

Bridge Farm Cider's web site

Cedrics

Once a pub, Cedrics of Misterton now sell preserves, cider, home-made cakes and other goodies. Their main focus is on their cakes - the cider is from local producers.

We tried a bottle of their Marmalade cider, produced specially for them. Unfortunately this batch had "mouse" contamination - which some people can taste, others cannot. My wife could not drink this, I could but it was not to my taste. Without the mousiness it probably would have tasted very good!

Cedrics' web site

Chaplin and Cork

Chaplin and Cork are based in Shepton Mallet. We sampled their Somerset Reserve Cider. A good, still cider. We had some delivered by Morrison's as a replacement for Crumpton Oaks cider. Equivalent it is not, but we accepted it and did not completely regret the substitution! It has no trace of mouse - it contains sulphites - and it is tasty. I can recommend it as a fine example of a craft cider. My wife commented "For a still cider, it is one of the nicer ones."

However although the taste is good this is a strong cider - 6.8%. We shall not be buying more - we prefer not to feel the effects of a drink of cider and after a bottle of this, we do definitely feel the effects!

Chaplin and Cork do not have their own web site. They sell through supermarkets. Seems Tesco also sell it. However a search reveals that they are owned by C and C group who also own Bulmers - the world's largest cider producer! Chaplin and Cork on C and C group web site. The group also include Magners cider!

Harry's Cider

Harry's is based in Long Sutton, about 20 miles almost due north of South Perrott, but it is available in some local shops. Their single variety Dabinett cider is very drinkable. Dabinett is said by many to be the king of cider apples and the cider is certainly worth tasting. However, good though this cider is, we shall not be changing from our normal tipple!

Harry's Cider web site

Hecks Cider

We sampled their "Kingston Black Cider". Tasty and quite strong (6.5%). My wife though it was "not very appley tasting". Indeed it does not taste like you usual eating apples so will not be to everyone's taste. I think it is not a cider we would buy again, but in part that is because we prefer less alcoholic ciders. However it is highly recommended to sample.

It contains sulphites - sulphite kills the brettanomyces yeast which imparts the off-flavour colloquially known as "mouse". So this does not have mousiness. Kingston Black is a apple variety much valued for cider making.

Hecks's web site

Isaac Cider

On the main road from Beaminster to Bridport, Isaacs is clearly labelled. We tried their Calculus cider - 4.5% so not too strong, a sparkling brew. A very good appley smell and a good taste. Unfortunately my wife - the expert mouse detector - did detect slight mouse. She said the taste got better as she drank it, I did not detect mouse. It is the first local cider we would be happpy buying for our visitors.

A good cider: recommended.

Isaac's web site

Strong Orchard

Strong Orchard is very near Bridport. Their ciders are available locally. We sampled some of their "Top of the Hill" cider which is brewed from 11 varieties of cider apples and contains no sulphites. My wife's first impression was mouse - slight but definite. The reason sulphites are used in cider making is to suppress the brettanomyces yeast which are responsible for mouseiness. I did not get the mouse. This cider is slightly sweeter than my wife favours, but I found it quite pleasant. But I think we would not buy it again.

A different cider: recommended.

Strong Orchard's web site

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Page first published: 13th of October, 2020
Last modified: Thu, 22 Apr 2021 08:24:49 BST ©2020 - 2021 Richard Torrens