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The cider making season has begun for Salt Hill Cider; there seems to be plenty of fruit around our local area this year so we have started collecting apples from some of our loyal donors.

The first few barrels of juice are now slowly fermenting and will continue to ferment and mature until they are ready for drinking around Easter 2016.

We will continue to harvest the crops until late November or when the fruit runs out.

The last of this years’s cider will be appearing at Ascot Beer Festival in a couple of weeks and also at Woking Beer Festival which is in October.

If all goes well and we get enough fruit to make a decent amount of cider this year I hope there will be enough to supply all of the usual places in 2016 and a few new ones as well.

I will be looking to get Salt Hill Cider into a few pubs in Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead next spring so if anyone knows of a likely pubs let me know!



Well so far July has been a scorcher! July will be a great month for cider drinkers around our area;
If you are looking for somewhere to enjoy a few pints of good cider this coming weekend you could do worse than head to Ealing Beer & Cider Festival.
From 9th to 11th July this great outdoor event will have a fine selection of cider and perry including the full range of Salt Hill Cider for you to try.
Later in the month from Friday 24th till Sunday 26th July there is another chance to drink some great ciders and perry all selected by myself for the Maidenhead Beer & Cider Festival.
I will be there along with the full range of Salt Hill Cider along with some outstanding ciders and perries that are rarely seen around our area.
I’m particularly pleased to have sourced some perry from Gloucestershire which should be rather wonderful and prove very popular with the punters!
As autumn looms I’m keeping one eye on the apple crop which is looking pretty good at the moment although if we don’t get enough rain over the next few months a lot of the apples will drop from the trees before they are ready to harvest.
Fingers crossed!

Summertime is the season when real cider is at it’s best after months of maturing and improving and the cider is at the peak of condition at the same time as the peak of cider drinking demand.
It is for this reason that the CAMRA,s cider judging competition takes place at Reading Beer & Cider Festival which is held over the Mayday Bank Holiday each year.
More than 150 ciders and perries from all across Britain are available to discerning drinkers and they also do battle to win their regional award and the winner of each region goes forward the the national judging which is judged by a panel of CAMRA members and experts.
In 2014 Salt Hill Cider was proud to win the Southern regional award and go through to the final against some of the very best cider makers in the land.
The results for 2015 went as follows;

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, the winners of its National Cider and Perry Championships

GOLD (joint) – White Jersey, Orgasmic Cider Company
GOLD (joint) – Janet’s Jungle Juice, West Croft
BRONZE – Medium, Three Cats

GOLD – Two Trees Perry, Gwynt y Ddraig
SILVER – Snowy Owl, Raglan Cider Mill
BRONZE – Perry, Snails Bank

The joint winners of the Cider Gold medal are White Jersey by Orgasmic and Janet’s Jungle Juice by West Croft. White Jersey was described by judges as being ‘fruity’ and ‘easy drinking’, with ‘a slight sweetness balanced by an excellent tang’, and having‘balance without too much acidity’. Janet’s Jungle Juice was described as having a ‘mature and woody aroma’ with ‘an initial sweetness and a smooth finish’, and a ‘full mouth feel with a resinous aroma’.

The winner of the Perry Gold medal is Two Trees Perry by Gwynt y Ddraig (meaning ‘dragon’s breath’ in Welsh) which the judges described as being ‘initially sweet with a refreshing, dry aftertaste’,‘complex yet well balanced with a poached pear flavour and aroma’ with a ‘slowly developing finish’.

The final round of judging for CAMRA’s National Cider and Perry Championships 2015 took place at the popular Reading Beer and Cider festival .
The competition featured ciders and perries from across the UK, with each cider and perry judged on its individual taste, aroma, flavour, after-taste and overall appeal.
The top awards were selected by a specially chosen panel of experienced judges, drinks writers and CAMRA members.

Andrea Briers, CAMRA National Cider and Perry Committee Chairman, had this to say on the quality and diversity of entries:

“The quality and variety of real cider and perry is increasing year-on-year, making our job as judges increasingly difficult. With a set of truly excellent drinks available this year at the festival, and a competition which was very tight right until the final judging we are confident these ciders and perries can truly be known as the best in Britain.”

Reading CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival serves over 550 beers available, plus 150 ciders and perries (from over 100 producers), plus a selection of foreign beers, English wines and mead.
Over the four days festival around 13,000 attendees will drink over 35,000 pints of beer and 11,000 pints of cider.

2015 could prove to be the most challenging year for small cider makers; EU plans to force all cider makers to pay duty could spell disaster for the diversity of local ciders across the UK.

At present cider makers who produce less than 7000 litres do not have to pay duty; this helps to encourage small farmers and cider makers to plant and maintain a network of orchards across the country which is vital to wildlife and an important part of many local economies.

Many tourists enjoy popping into farm gate cideries in the West Country as they have done for generations and this is part of the local culture and economy but if this EU legislation goes through there may well be many less of these as the extra cost of this duty will make small scale cider making unviable for many.

This could seriously damage the range and variety of local flavours and mean that the larger commercial cider makers will have an even bigger share of the market!

Please sign CAMRA’s petition to stop this from coming to pass.

A great range and ciders and perries will be available to try at Maidenhead Beer & Cider Festival in July which will be an opportunity to try ciders and perries from Berkshire and several other counties.

2014 was a disastrous year for our local apple crop which made life hard for Salt Hill Cider but hopefully this autumn we will have a much better harvest across berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

We are always looking any unwanted cooking or eating apples for our cider so if you know of any going spare please contact me on 01753 823918.


This coming bank holiday weekend Salt Hill Cider is going to be available at three excellent venues; it will be at Reading Beer & Cider Festival which is one of the great cider events of the year.
Salt Hill Cider will be available and we will also be entering the cider competition and hoping to repeat last year’s success when we won South East regional cider of 2014.
I will also we working on the cider bar on the Thursday evening and doing missionary work promoting the delights of cider drinking.
For cider fans who are not planning on going to Reading’s festival Salt Hill Merry England will be appearing at two great pubs over the weekend; The Royal Standard in Wooburn Common and the White Horse in Hedgerley both of which will have a good range of beers as well.
Let’s hope for some fine cider drinking weather!

Summer is officially here!
I saw the first swallow of year yesterday and that’s good enough for me; the cider drinking season has started. Just three weeks now till the biggest cider event of the year; CAMRA’s Beer & Cider Festiaval is on over the first May bank holiday in Reading and is a great place to try more than 100 ciders and perries including Salt Hill Cider.

Hopefully we have seen the last of winter and as spring comes into view so the cider season begins once more.
It’s been a tough year for Salt Hill Cider as we struggled to get enough fruit for this year’s cider and in the last month we have had the worrying news that the EU is trying to force the UK to abolish the duty exemption for small cider makers such as us. If this goes through it could well mean the end for many of our traditional artisan producers and this would be a serious blow to the diverse range of unique local styles available.
It’s not been all bad news however as Salt Hill Cider won our regional CAMRA cider of the year award at Reading Beer & Cider Festival last May and will be at this year’s festival to try to win again in 2015.
Reading is rather a good town for cider drinkers and this weekend I am pleased to say that one of the town’s best pubs, the Nags Head in Russell Street will have Salt Hill Cider available.
The season is officially underway and hopefully our cider will be appearing at many pubs old and new around the area.


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