After my second cider at Hebden Bridge’s pop up cider bar, the Parcel Yard, I decide to dive in to the hard stuff. There’s plenty of it here. Not only does the bar stock a lethal armoury of right, proper ciders (and perries) but also the odd ale and Belgian beer and wine. There’s also some scran on offer, it would be the perfect place to stagger over to the barmaid and ask to get a sausage an’ cider. But the barmaids are men here, and on being told that the offering today, is quiche, one punter exclaims, Jesus Christ!’ How very Hebden Bridge.
Unswayed, I ask the barman for something with a horrible name, Pig Swill and Black Rat are theobvious choices. Pig Swill sounds the most horrible, so I opt for that. He suggests I taste it first, but there’s no point pussy-footing about, this is real man’s work!
He tweaks the udder of the huge box of cider, and the cloudy liquid spills into the glass (a half, let’s not go mental!). Why don’t we take this outside, I say (to myself), so I take my glass out into the sunny, tree-lined seating area, where the birds are singing, and some other birds in high-heels are slapping each other. Avoiding the slappers, (and slappee) I take up position on a nice warm bench to observe the cider, and discuss the culinary peculiarities of stotty and fadge with a jolly Blackpooler.
Pig Swill is a 7.5% blend of cider and Perry, from Lilleys Cider Barn in Somerset, a family business, who offer a good range or crazy-named ciders and perries The glass of Pig Swill is a very cloudy, warm orangey colour. Slightly sparkling (a natural fizz). I try to get a whiff and detect this may be a dry one, but the bank holiday breeze is up, and takes away the aroma, replacing it with tiny black things.
I brace myself and take a swig of the swill. Oh, it’s a rather complex one, there’s a handful of sweet, and a helping of dry, a nip of bitter, with some syrup and fart chucked in for good measure. All in all, not too bad, it grows on me and I could have another one of these, but with so many other little goodies to try, my guide high-heels it across the cobbles to bring more nectar.
Not to everyone’s taste, but one for a real cider drinker