Along came a Cider – Manchester snapping at Bristol’s heels for ‘City of Cider’ crown
In September Cath Potter from Cider Buzz Mcr will qualify as Manchesters first Cider Pommelier. Here she tells us how Manchester is helping to lead a new Craft Cider Revolution.
I was born in Manchester in the smog of the fifties; lived, studied, worked, retired here. Its with real pride I walk around modern Manchester and celebrate its diversity, unity and spirit of innovation.
The tram into town usually leads us straight to the Northern Quarter, or at the weekend, GRUB and the plethora of Brewery taps. As someone raised on Oldham Brewery best bitter, I can’t fail but to notice the impact of the craft beer over the last ten years.
But cider? Isn’t that usually some mixed berry, overly sweet concoction; with more water, additives or sugar in it than apple juice? Or is it the scrumpy my dad drank on holiday – before he fell over?
I learnt about Cider after touring the orchards of Somerset and Devon. We followed the Normandy Cider trail and learnt about natural ciders and Calvados. We became regular visitors to the cider and perry orchards of Herefordshire and its famous Cider Museum in Hereford.
Promoting quality cider is my passion. While craft cider had been cruising along on auto-pilot for a while in Manchester, the last year has seen it hurtle into the fast lane.
Imbibe magazine even claims that Manchester is now snapping at Bristol’s heels to steal the UK City of Cider crown. Yet another reason to be proud of my city.
“Craft” is the key word here. This means the product is made in small batches, from whole fruit and natural ingredients, and by someone with a genuine passion and intimate knowledge of the apple, the orchard and the cider. And it’s ethical.
Cider is about as green as you can get. Indeed, it has a positive environmental impact with orchards providing habitats for a huge range of wildlife. It’s where bees thrive and pollinate. Craft cidermakers protect and enhance this by their efforts, as cider or perry begins and ends with the apple or pear.
Not only this, but craft ciders and perries are vegan friendly and gluten free, naturally.
The turning point came when GRUB, the go-ahead street food gang, teamed up with Hogan’s Cider to host the Fairfield Cider Fête in 2018. Since then there has been a phenomenal surge of interest in Craft Cider in Manchester. Growing month by month, this mirrors the craft beer revolution in Manchester, but ten years later!
But it’s not just a story of volume; quality leads the way with some of the best Natural Ciders, Fine Ciders and modern Craft Ciders in the world to be found in bars and bottle shops across Greater Manchester.
So how do you discover the Craft Cider, as opposed to the sickly sweet industrial ciders? Simple, we now have two craft Cider Maps, one for the City Centre and another for Greater Manchester.
Follow the maps for ‘The Crown and Kettle’ home of the monthly #McrCiderClub or ‘The Smithfield Tavern’ for Fine Ciders or ‘Brink’ for local ciders or ‘GRUB’ for ciders, streetfood and the annual ‘Cider Fete’.
Or you could venture out to: ‘Stalybridge Buffet Bar’ or ‘Browtons’ in Ashton; or ‘Harvey Leonards’ in Glossop; or ‘Bunbury’s’ and ‘The Beer School’ in Bolton; or ‘The Grocers’ and ‘Northern Type in Salford’; ‘Wigan Central; ‘Petersgate Tap’ in Stockport; or ‘The Font’ in Chorlton.
We even have our own Manchester Cider makers, the iconic donor apple Moss Cider and Dunham Press Cider who have their own cider apple orchards near Altrincham. I recommend a visit to those orchards and try their first perry, made with real heirloom Perry Pears. Come to their ‘Party At The Orchards’ on Saturday 29th June
If you want to learn more about craft cider come along to #McrCiderClub – every second Thursday at ‘The Crown and Kettle’.
Or pick up a copy of ‘Full Juice’ magazine, free at most craft cider bars.
Ciders we recommend:
Hogans – keg cider ‘Wild Sider’ collaboration with Ross on Wye Cider and Perry
Dunham Press – ‘Peterloo Perry’ or ‘The Dabbler’, Dabinett cider.
Little Pomona – ‘Hazy Ways’
Tom Oliver – ‘Fine Cider’ or ‘Fine Perry’ and soon to be released collaboration with Cloudwater Brewery
Ross on Wye Cider and Perry Co – Natural Ciders and Perry
Pilton – ‘Smokey Plum Cider’ with Wild Beer Co
Moss Cider – ‘Many Hands’