Oliver’s At The Hop

I’ve been off to see Mother Kelly again.
I’ve almost got enough stamps to have a free bottle!

Though their cider selection seems to have been reduced in size, I’ve found one that is At The Hop Ciderinfused with hops. That sounds interesting. A beer-flavoured cider. Cibeer?
It looks like a beer bottle too. Hey, why not try to add beer to everything? Beer cornflakes. Beer milk.

Beer cheese!
I decide to food-pair this one with a mini cheddar cheese, made with Black Sheep Riggwelter ale, from Morrisons. Nice.

The 5.5% cider is from Olivers, in Herefordshire .
It’s quite a sharp taste. A very oaky, fruity smell. Sharp but sweet, and dry. Ah, there’s the bitterness of the hops, like a very posh snakebite.
The cheddar is very soft, and crumbles everywhere, I should have used a spoon! I can’t taste the ale in it though.

At The Hop is a pleasant cider. With eye-watering sharpness, it might be very sweet, but tempering it with the hops gives it a wonderful tang. I don’t thnk this one is illegal, either, though I’m not sure snakebite is actually illegal. Maybe that was a rumour.

Apparently, (according to the bottle label) ‘it was tradition to follow a hop yard by planting a cider apple orchard’. At The Hop uses English ‘Cascade’ hops and Czech ‘Kazbek’ hops, too. It burns the throat as it goes down, (in a nice way) with a powerfully sweet and oaky smell. It feels like I’ve been smoking this one, like a cider vape thing.

Thankfuly, this is much more a cider than a beer, but an interesting blend. What next, vodka cider? Oh, I just found out a snakebite and black with vodka is called a ‘Turbo Diesel’. Now there’s an idea for a post!

Verdict: 3/5


London Drinker Beer and Cider Festival

It’s not often I get day release to go to a cider festival. I found there’s one that’s close to home–the 31st London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival at the Camden Centre, so I knocked off work with a valid excuse–massive hangover–to head down to Euston.London Drinker Festival

After warming up at the Euston Cider Tap, I head for the building behind Camden Town Hall (just off Euston Road, not actually in Camden proper). Outside, there’s a queue of balding middle aged men (and seven women), with scraggy beards and jamjar glasses. I add my own scraggy beard to the queue, and we wait like excited kids in dandruffed anoraks, for the doors to open.

London Drinker Festival  HallThe room is grand inside, it’s a 1937 ballroom, with a large chandelier hanging above us. Around the edge of the room are various bars and food stalls, with the odd table set up in the middle of the floor to lean on. It’s a few quid to get in, but for that you get an LDBCF pint glass (you can ask for halves at the bars), and a handy guide to the festival. According to the guide, they have zebra and camel burgers on sale here. London Zoo are among the sponsors.

Time to get stuck in. I immediately gravitate towards the Campaign for Real Cider and Perry stall. I choose a pint of Ventons Apple Whisky Cask. A 6.3% Devon cider. It’s pretty dry, but not tongue-stripping. However, there’s a strong note of silage, with smokiness from the whisky cask.

I try to remember to pace myself, and wander over to the CAMRA merchandise stall. You can not only buy the t-shirt, but also the bar mat, keyring…you name it. I can’t find a walking stick plaque, though.London Drinker Stall

Next I go for the Williams Bros Hooker. A 6.3% cider from Glamorgan. It’s a very nice medium cider, a little tarty, a little sweet, lightly sparkling with a dryness. Apparently it’s a new one from Williams, a proper 36-24-36 of the cider world.

My alarm beeps to tell me it’s time for my pills. I buy the biggest cheese bap I ever saw and another pint of something or other–my memory’s not what it was. The atmosphere is warm and buzzing, the bar staff are friendly. I notice some youngsters in the crowd and wander over to a table to chat to some young brewers from the Beer Hive, near Brixton. ‘Beer Hive’, get it? Those crazy kids.

After 4 pints of scrumpy, my legs are starting to give out and I decide I should quit while I can still see. I dry off my souvenir pint glass, so it doesn’t wet my shopping trolley and head off for the bus.

Same time next year?