Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A cider-maker hops to it

It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that, like hoppy beer, flavoured cider is more than a little bit fashionable. So over in the States, someone had the idea of combining the two – hops and cider that is, not beer and cider, which is Snakebite and can easily get the unwary drinker into all sorts of trouble…

And now England’s Purity Brewing has collaborated with another well-known English name, Westons Cider, to follow suit. The result is Pure Hopped Cider, which combines Herefordshire apples with Worcestershire-grown Target hops – its creators are very proud of its local origins and traceable ingredients. It came out last month and Purity kindly sent me a can to try.

The first surprise was the aromatic hoppy hit on the nose as the can hissed open – it's the smell of uncooked dry hops, not of beer. The liquid pours a cloudy yellow-gold with a light sparkle but no head. In the glass, the aroma is more of scrumpy cider with an unexpected hint of ginger beer – the proper yeasty lemony kind, not the fizzy soda version.

It's sweeter on the palate than I like, but not grossly so. There's a lightly tart apple and lemon note, again a distant note of ginger beer and a touch of hops. It's unusual to get that leafy hoppiness unaccompanied by bitterness – it’s the boiling in brewing that brings out the bitterness, of course.

Would I try it again? Sure – it’s an intriguing mix and a nice cider, even if I normally prefer my ciders a little drier than this. It does make me wonder what a proper dry scrumpy would be like when dry-hopped, though!

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