Starting on Friday 4th May and running until today (assuming they have some left) the Rutland Arms mini wall of cider was the chance to try a range of ciders from a number of UK producers, including some oop ere in the North, some with fruit infused in them, and a range of perries.
With help and assistance from Big Andy the list was pretty good, and I managed to get in Saturday day during my football result ignoring project, and tried a goodly selection. Producers included Westons, Tutts Clump, Udders, Orchard Pig, Hewitts, Springherne, to name but a few. There was also a selection of cask aged ciders, which I was wary of based on them all being a little stronger.
Bolstered by a lovely pint of Springhead Bit O Black and one of the FINEST bacon sandwiches I have ever had, I was ready to take on the task at hand.....
As a former Sheffield beer festival cider bar volunteer I have a penchant for a mix. Not of cider and beer, that would be mental (erm, in the same glass, since i started on beer), but of two or three ciders in a glass. Alas the Rutland had not prepared a range of pre-mixed ciders to best represent the myriad of sweet, tangy, sour, ultra dry, cheesy, fruity, sweaty, bitter and pastry (I kid ye not) flavours, so I opted to attempt this myself.
Ably assisted by Paurltous and Stuart I was able to taste a few of those on offer and come up with a decent mix or two along the way. The Rutland actually deserve a lot of credit, firstly for putting em all on at the same price, and also, for putting up with me.
The three best combinations I discovered were Tutts Clump and Springherne medium, Malvern Magic and Millwhites Vintage, and Newtons Draught cider with Orchard Pig Philosopher. There was no real science involved, this was just a mix of sweet to medium with the drier and ultimately more frighteningg ciders. And also, so as not to take the piss, I couldn't very well have tried all of them, so you had or indeed may still have, the opportunity to think of a better combo (please note, I hope that nice gentleman who runs the Rutland is OK with this, I haven't asked his permission to promote my cider mixing plan, so if you decided to try it, you didn't hear it from me....)
I would love to have had the opportunity to get back and try some more but this has been a packed week of celebrations so the above was my only visit. I'll just have to make a date for visiting next year.