The Cider Page

May is CAMRA’s Cider Month…..

And to celebrate this Mid Anglia CAMRA has encouraged one local cider maker to open its doors to the general public for free tours and tastings. Harleston Cider Company, based in Palgrave Suffolk IP22 1AP, is open the last weekend of the month from 11am to 5pm. This provides the opportunity for people to see how cider is made, to discuss the many challenges of its production and to sample the range of ciders produced.

Some background on cider making in our region:

Introduction: To be called cider under UK law cider has to contain more than 35% apple juice. Real ciders are often 100% apple juice whereas commercial brand ciders are typically made from apple concentrate (imported from places diverse as Poland and China) topped up with sugar and water. Commercial cider can be manufactured in a matter of days whereas hand-crafted, real ciders can take many months to ferment, typically over winter. This leads to distinctiveness of flavour. 

History: Cider dates back to Roman times and possibly before. In the 18th century onwards it use to be part of a farm workers wages until an Act of Parliament outlawed that practice in 1887. Indeed a farmer would press the apples then ferment the juice over the winter in time for the following season’s hay making. 

Production: In East Anglia, dessert and cooking apples are typically used, producing a straw-coloured cider. 
Harleston Cider Company (HCC) uses locally sourced Norfolk and Suffolk apples which are scrattered into a pulp then crushed to remove the juice. Fermentation starts when the natural sugars in the juice react with the wild yeast contained within the apple. Waste is minimised with the dry apple pulp being donated to local smallholders as an animal feed. Further details about opening times, location and events can be found on 


Printer friendly version attached, just download and print! Summer 2016 Cider flyer

Although real cider can be consumed year-round, it is particularly popular in the summer months and has a number of benefits:

¬ Satisfying existing customers ¬ Getting new customers ¬ Increased sales/revenue with associated profit

Visitors want to drink local cider, as it is part of the rural landscape.

What is Real Cider: a natural refreshing, alcoholic drink made by crushing locally-sourced apples, then fermenting the juice over several weeks/months. When fermentation is complete the resultant cider is dry. It may then be sweetened by adding sugar, apple juice or artificial sweeteners. Each cider is unique given the mix of apples used.

Cider Cocktails: A particularly enjoyable way to consume cider in the summer months is to dilute it or mix it with other beverages. These can prove very popular and it is often up to the pub to decide what works for them. Some ideas:

Cider Sangria - based on semi-dry cider, sweetened with a little Grand Marnier and Harleston ice cider. Some grated fresh ginger perks up the mix. Add whatever fruit is locally available and serve with ice.

Apple Zest – fresh orange juice bolsters the fruity flavour of cider with ginger liqueur providing added spice.

Stone Fence – dates back to the colonial era. The easiest version is equal parts cider and rum.

Snakebite – half a pint of lager mixed with half a pint of real cider.

Black Velvet – half a pint of cider (poured first) topped up with Guinness layered using the back of a spoon.

Ginger Fuss - 25% cider, 25% dark rum, 50% ginger beer + ice and a lime wedge.

Cider Lime Cooler - 4 parts cider, 1 part lemonade, 1 part lime cordial served with slice of lime and ice.

Rosie Red - fill cocktail shaker with ice, add 50ml cranberry juice, 25ml fresh orange, 25ml vodka and shake till chilled. Strain into ice-filled glass and top up with real cider.

Cider Shandy – equal parts cider and lemonade served with an apple slice.

Berry Special - half-fill a tall glass with ice, add 4 parts cider to one part blackcurrant cordial, stir, and enjoy.

Packaging: The local cider makers listed below can provide ciders in 10 litre and 20 litre bag-in-a-box (BiB) containers or in some cases in plastic polycasks with tap. The advantage of BiB’s is that air is excluded as the cider is drawn off i.e. the polythene bag collapses preserving the cider for many months.

Cider with Food: Cider compliments a number of foods. The East Anglian ciders are particularly good with pork, fish, pizzas and cheese. In the winter months, cider is also pleasant if it is mulled with added spices (e.g. cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg) or served as a hot toddy with cloves, ginger, lemon juice and honey.

Wassail! – olde English for ‘be you healthy’ said when toasting cider.

Local Norfolk & Suffolk Real Cider Makers (Who can provide their ciders in 10 litre and 20 litre BiBs.)

Waddlegoose Lane Debenham IP14 6PD 4 x BiB ciders 01728 860510 Burnards Banham NR16 2HG 2 x BiB ciders 07588 556889

Castlings Heath Sudbury CO10 5PX 2 x BiB cider 01787 211759

Crones Kenninghall NR16 2DP 6 x BiB/polycask ciders 01379 687687 Harleston Cider Co Harleston IP20 9BX 2 x BiB ciders 07747 053114 ku.oc.nekih@redic

Jonty’s Banham NR16 2HB 5 x BiB ciders 07765 325103 Norfolk Cider Co Old Buckingham NR17 5 x BiB ciders 01953 860533

Suffolk Apple lketshall St Lawrence NR34 8LB 2 x BiB ciders 01986 781353 Whin Hill Wells NR23 1BW 5 x BiB ciders + 1 x BiB perry 07769 571423

Village Green Cider Pulham St Mary IP21 4YA 3 x BiB ciders 07934 747769 moc.liamg@draldakcaj