What are the different types?
West Country Style
The apples which are used in the West Country & other certain parts of the country are cider apples, which are grown specifically for the purpose of making cider and can make the cider darker in colour due to containing tannin.
In Somerset and other areas of the West Country, layers of straw have been used in the production of cider instead of cloths. Some producers still use this method.
Eastern style cider is made from eating and/or cooking apples, which contain little or no tannin – usually resulting in a paler coloured cider!
Traditionally, Eastern style cider was made in East Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire). However, this style is common in all areas that do not traditionally grow cider apples.
The Kentish style can be considered a sub-style of the Eastern Style. It is also made from eating and/or cooking apple, but tastes much more like wine than cider. This is achieved by using certain wine yeasts rather than cider yeasts. Not all ciders from Kent are wine-like, so do not conform to the Kentish style. Wine-like ciders can be made anywhere.
What is real Cider and Perry?
At its simplest the ingredients list is one item. Fruit. Apples are crushed in a press called a mill and the resulting juice fermented, traditionally from the autumn when the apples ripen till the following spring. Although, ageing and blending are key tools in the cider makers craft. Nothing else is added. Some back sweetening with juice or sugars is sometimes necessary
Historically cider is a wild fermented drink. Only the yeasts present in the atmosphere in the orchards, on the skins of the fruits are left to turn the sugars in the apple juice into alcohol. Like brewers cider makers have the ability to choose between a wild ferment or using specific cider or sparkling wine style yeasts.
CAMRA’s definition of Real cider requires a cider to be made from the freshly pressed juice of apples, not syrup, and not to have been pasteurised or artificially carbonated. Whilst many mass produced ciders do not meet this definition there an increasingly greater choice of session and fine ciders available at pubs, taprooms and restaurants across the country.
A glass of real cider or perry represents generations of traditional production dating back hundreds of years. The basics of cider production have remained the same the whole time – simply pick and press the fruit, allow to ferment and enjoy.