MBFPoster2_700x495Well the weather so far this summer has been the usual pattern of searing heat quickly followed by monsoon rains and grey skies! This makes planning events and beer festivals tricky and many of the festivals Salt Hill Cider has been at have been affected by the ever changing climate.
This weekend from Friday to Sunday is the Slough, Windsor And Maidenhead CAMRA beer and cider Festival which is held at the football club in York Road in Maidenhead. This promises to be a great event with loads of great beers, ciders and perries as well as live bands and a freindly match on Saturday between Maidenhead and Slough.
Salt Hill Cider will be be available throughout with our Urban Fox- dry , Merry England – medium and also the only appearance this year of our Autumn Gold- medium sweet which won the regional competition at the national CAMRA cider competition back in May.
This cider is slightly lower in alcohol at a mere 5% abv so usually proves popular with those who want to drink cider but don’t want to be home in bed before the sun goes down!
Myself and Keith Smith will be working the cider bar most of the weekend and hope to meet as many cider fans as we can.
Salt Hill Cider will also be available this week at The Jolly Farmer in Cookham Dean and at Binghams Brewery near Twyford.

The cider list for the SWM Beer Fest is;


Kintbury, Berkshire

Dab Hand [6.0%]
A blend of Dabinett and Michelin cider apples grown in an orchard near Ledbury in Herefordshire.
Kingston Black [6.0%]
Made from Kingston Black apples grown in Herefordshire and Dorset.
Ten Years After [6.0%]
A blended cider to celebrate 10 years of Ciderniks’ cidermaking and also in memory of Alvin Lee (1944-2013), one of the greatest blues-rock guitarists.


Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

Rum Cask [7.5%]
Aged in barrels from the Jamaican Rum Company.
Scrumpy [6.5%]
Ancient apple variety with a vibrant apple aroma, dry oaky taste and slightly sparkling on initial pour.
Apples & Pears [5.0%]
A refreshing blend of our scrumpy cider and the juice of fresh pressed pears.
Hedge Layer [4.8%]
Light and refreshing.
Blackberry Blush [6.5%]
Late summer blend of our scrumpy sider and the juice of hand picked blackberries.

Oliver’s Cider & Perry

Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire


Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry

Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire


Salt Hill Cider

Slough, Berkshire

Urban Fox [6.2%]
Organic 100% juice made from Berkshire apples with no additives.
Merry England [6.2%]
Cider which is naturally sweetened with English sugar.
Autumn Gold [5.0%]
Award winning cider made from Berkshire apples.

Side-R (Glebe Farm)

Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

Blackcurrant [6.0%]
Cider flavoured with natural Blackcurrant concentrate.
Medium [6.5%]
Made from Cambridgeshire grown, dessert and cooking varieties of apples.
Dry [6.5%]
Made from Cambridgeshire grown, dessert and cooking varieties of apples.
Strawberry [6.0%]
Cider flavoured with natural Strawberry concentrate.

Virtual Orchard

Old Wolverton, Bucks

Side Effects [6.0%]
Blended from eating and cooking apples to give a delicately flavoured cider.
Saxon Aelle [5.5%]
This is a fruity cider with a real tang. Made from 5 early varieties of apple. Aelle was the first king of the South Saxons and, with his three sons, famously did battle with the Britons and won.
Hard Core [7.0%]
A mix of culinary and dessert apples from private orchards, many of which are heritage varieties no longer available on the high street.
Hogs Head [6.0%]
Light cider blending the rich acidity of the classic Bramley apple with the delicate sweetness and flavour of the contemporary Gala apple.

Woodley Sider House

Woodley, Berkshire

Six Point Three [6.3%]
Natural cider with no added ingredients, sourced from Woodley and Purley-on-Thames apples.
“18” [5.4%]
Made solely from apples from Emmer Green. Named ’18’ after the owner that the apples were sourced from.
Woodley Wobbler [6.0%]
Berkshire Apples.


Milton Keynes, Bucks

“7” [7.0%]
Traditional ‘West Country’ style cider produced from 7 varieties of cider apple.

Cider List is subject to change without notice.

Maidenhead Beer Festival 2014 – 18th to 20

As well as the pubs listed below Salt Hill Cider will be available at one of the best beer and cider festivals in the country this weekend; The White Horse in Hedgerley, Bucks are holding their annual festival.

This pub always has a great selection of beers, ciders and perries but during this festival there will be dozens of great ciders to try and our Urban Fox and Merry England will be amongst them.

This is a fantastic event that attracts drinkers from far and wide and is a great way to spend your weekend if you enjoy high quality drinks in a beautiful country setting.

See you up there!


Salt Hill Cider had a bit of an ego boost recently; we won the South East regional award at the CAMRA national judging competition which was held at Reading Beer Festival over the Bank Holiday weekend. It was nice to get recognition for our cider and vindication for sticking to our core values of using only local fruit and totally natural fermentation. As regional winners Salt Hill Cider went through to the final which was won by Sheppy’s of Somerset.

Our Merry England cider will now be available at a new pub which is very local to Salt Hill; The Garibaldi is the last remaining pub in Chalvey and is now being run by Dan who is doing a sterling job of turning around the fortunes of the pub. Formerly a lager and Strongbow pub Dan is keen to make a real change and is going to be stocking two real ales as well as Salt Hill Cider throughout the year.

At this time Merry England is also available at The George in Burnham, The Jolly Farmer in Cookham Dean and also at Binghams Brewery shop in Ruscombe near Twyford. More pubs and Beer Festivals will be added through the coming months and I will try to update information regularly.



cider : Fresh apple juice flowing from apple piece into the glass. Isolated on a white background.It’s a big weekend coming up for Salt Hill Cider; over the Bank Holiday our new season cider will be appearing at some great events around the area.

The biggest cider event of the year takes place at Reading CAMRA beer and cider festival from Friday to Sunday, there will be 200 top quality ciders and perries on offer including the full range of Salt Hill Cider.

It will also be available at The Ale House in Reading all weekend.

For anyone that doesn’t want to travel to Reading the cider will be available at The George in Burnham who are having a beer and cider fest over the weekend which should be good; several local beers and of course Salt Hill Cider.

The cider drinking season is now properly underway so hopefully we will get some decent weather to go with it. Wassail


The first of the new season Salt Hill Cider has been delivered to pubs in the local area; if you fancy trying a pint of Noveau cider you will find it available at The Royal Standard in Wooburn Green, The Jolly Farmer in Cookham Dean which has Salt Hill pretty much year round and the latest pub to take on our cider is The George Inn in Burnham High Street.

This pub is a proper old school boozer which now stocks two local real ales and hopefully will be stocking Salt Hill Cider throughout the year. They are also holding a local beer/cider festival over the first Mayday bank holiday weekend and they are going to have loads of local beers and a couple of ciders to try and live music and a hog roast available.

After the bumper apple crop in the autumn of 2013 we made more Salt Hill Cider than ever before so hopefully there will be plenty available at the usual good pubs and beer festivals around our area and a few new ones as well.

We managed to get a great range of apples all from around Berkshire and a few from Bucks from our many generous fruit donors and I’m expecting a vintage year due to the outstanding quality and variety of the apples we used and the high sugar levels in the apples due to the summer sun mean it will be pretty strong stuff! It could easily go over 8% ABV by the time we reach summer as real cider is a living thing and the natural yeast will continue to ferment the natural sugars for a few months yet.

With the blossom time coming in May we will soon find out how much damage has been done to the fruit trees in orchards across the country during the endless rain of the winter just passed. Apple trees can withstand having roots under water for prolonged periods but four months may prove to be a big challenge to our orchards and this may have devastating consequences for the harvest in the autumn of 2014.

“drink up thee cider” while we can !



The arrival of spring completes the cycle of the cider making year and heralds the most crucial period when the entire production for the coming year hangs in the balance.

The blossoms that will form the apples in the autumn are set in May and they are very vulnerable to adverse weather during this time.

If there is too much rain at this point in the season then the bees and other flying insects will not be able to fly around the orchards and pollinate the fruit trees. If there are too many hard frosts then the delicate buds and blossom can be killed and lead to a disastrous shortage of fruit such as happened in 2012.

The shortage of fruit across the country that year led to a shortage of real craft cider during the warm summer of 2013 and the shortfall in supply was largely filled by the bigger cider makers with mass produced cider based drinks which are unaffected by the vagaries of the British weather.

Most of the big industrial manufacturers use apple concentrate which is available from all around the world all year round so year round supplies can be maintained.

The UK is a major producer of cider and accounts for 62% of Europe’s output and is worth £3 billion per year!

Cider sale in the UK now make up around 9% of the drinks market and there are an estimated 480 cider makers here using around 250,000 tonnes of British apples every year

Unfortunately at present the real craft cider makers only account for a small percentage of these growing sales figures.

The majority of cider sold across the UK is still made from apple concentrate and can have as little as 35% fruit content which is likely to have travelled hundreds or thousands of miles to reach the manufacturer!

These bland fizzy abominations are what is usually on offer in most of the pubs and why you usually have to go the best pubs or CAMRA beer festivals to get the artisan craft ciders.

The spring of 2013 was very kind to cider makers and this led to a bumper harvest in the autumn which should ensure a really good supply of cider throughout 2014 as all cider makers have benefitted from the biggest apple crop in over ten years, although crops of perry pears were rumoured to be quite poor so there still maybe a shortage of good quality perry this year.

 Around Berkshire and Buckinghamshire we had a fantastic apple harvest last autumn and there will be plenty of your local Salt Hill Cider on offer throughout this year.

We managed to make a record amount of cider in 2013 due to the generosity of local people and we collected around 5 tonnes of unwanted high quality apples of many different varieties from orchards and gardens locally which hopefully will produce a great vintage cider this year.

The cider that was made through September to November is now fermented and is slowly maturing and improving until it will be ready for drinking around March time.

Salt Hill Cider will be aiming to supply as many good pubs and beer festivals as possible during the year across our region and hopefully getting into some new outlets to supply cider drinkers and maybe convert some drinkers to the delights of 100% fresh juice cider.

Here’s hoping for a mild and dry spring followed by a long hot summer for us all to enjoy drinking some real cider and perry.


Wassail !

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