Thursday, June 25, 2015

Along Came A Cider Goes to England Pt. 3: The Cider Tap

Here comes the last post about my glorious trip to England and the ciders consumed there. By the time we rode the train out of Cornwall, we'd walked more than one hundred miles. My husband and I had about a day to enjoy London before flying home, and I hoped we could manage one more cider adventure. Luckily we were able to find The Cider Tap.

You can read about the place at their website:

On my way in.

 The building is a victorian gatehouse, making it very small but tall, which gives the place a snug and intimate feel. The cider list was too big to fit easily into one photo, so I took two to capture the whole range of cider chalked up on the board.

I started with a half pint of Severn's Kingston Black. (To read about Severn, check out their website: I chose this one because the Kingston Black is one of rare apples with all of the necessary characteristics to be wonderful single-varietal cider. In the glass, this cider looks hazy and dark. It smells horsey and tannic with hints of bruised grapes. Once I actually started drinking the cider, I was struck with its amazing mouthcoat. My amazing cider helper/husband and I noticed hints of cucumber, pea shoots, and honeydew melon through an intense dryness and tannin blast. It is a challenging and exciting cider that shows its characteristics best in big draughts rather than delicate sips.

Next, we really wanted something sparkling after the severity of the Kingston Black. I chose Orchard Pig's Reveller. ( I noticed lots of fruit and vanilla in the aromas. It reminds one of citrus and fruit salad. This makes for some extremely easy drinking. Tasty! On the finish there is a subtle edge of bitter strawberry that makes the whole thing more complex and interesting. Medium tannins and medium body and relatively low acid.

In my other hand, you can see the Hawke's Urban Orchard Medium. This cider has a fairly low abv of 4.5%. (Their very attractive website is here: I can tell from the number of exclamation marks on my notes and my own memories, that this was our favorite of the evening. It smells yeasty and almost yogurty but also bakey and bready. It does not smell like fruit. The taste develops really interestingly. At first it is funky and salty, but after those flavors start to intensify it goes into its medium sweetness. I get notes of banana and caramel in this phase; it just reminds me of Bananas Foster! But that's not all; it also shows off some leafy tannins, notes of blackberries, and medium sparkle.

We finished our cider exploration for the evening with one last half pint: this time of the Sheppy's Oakwood. ( It smells tannic and oaked immediately and mouthwateringly. It also smells like overripe apples. I get some leatheryness and fresh bread as well. Tastes were dominated by tannins; it's sweet at first and then there is a quick tannic burst. The bigger the drink the dryer it tastes. I get some nectarine, pineapple and a subtle sugarcane finish. It is tart and zingy with some spice on the palate. Very very interesting and good.

This was a great evening and a simply fantastic way to end our trip!

Oh, British ciders, how I do love you!