I’ve heard there’s a cider festival on at The Alma, in Newington Green, London. I’m intrigued. The last pub cider festival I went to, had 3 boxes of cider behind the bar, all from the same supplier. However, I’m more hopeful that the Alma will do it well. In the past here, I’ve attended Christmas parties, seen female torso vodka luges , and it’s also a dog-friendly pub. All I need now is a booze buddy. I find a willing candidate in my old drinking partner, Baz.
It’s Friday night, I cruise on over to the Alma. It’s packed and Baz is having a beer outside, with the Jesus man. Baz briefs me before I enter the melee. I need to buy tokens at the bar, then join the cider queue. I’m surprised by the number of people queuing to taste the contents of the stack of strange, boxed ciders behind the makeshift cider bar. Cider certainly has made a comeback.
Straining to see the names from the back of the queue, I notice one called Pheasant Plucker, and opt for this, just because of the name. This is a 4.5% Somerset cider. I take a full glass outside and have a toast with Baz and Jesus, and we do the obligatory tongue twister; “I’m not the pheasant plucker, but the pheasant plucker’s son….”
The Pheasant is very appley. There’s a lot of cider in this one, it’s flat and hazy, and a sweet, but heavy taste. It’s a nice cider, however, it’s gone for the middle ground, not too much of anything. I suppose it’s dangerous for a pheasant to stick it’s neck out.
It’s getting late, I still have a token left, and head back in to what used to be the cider bar. There’s now only one choice left. What? No plucking pheasant left?! Well, it is the last hour of the last day of the festival. Ok, so what’s the one remaining? Farmer Giles’ Berry from Australia, is what the barmaid tells me.
This is s strange one, and the cider sense has now kicked in, and I’m too tipsy to make adequate notes. So, in summary, this is a glass of orange crushed ice that tastes like a cranberries. Someone’s having a laugh. Probably Farmer Giles, with his Mister Frosty.
I take a photo of Farmer Giles’ outside, you can see Jesus clapping in the background. Jesus likes to clap. We head off to Church Street for a mini pub crawl and pluck pheasants until the pheasant plucker comes. He doesn’t fucking come, so we go home.