Getting a taste for cider with the Somerset Cider Brandy Company

Products from Burrow Hill Cider

Products from Burrow Hill Cider - Credit: Archant

Fiona Taylor, of Christopher Piper Wines, discusses The Cider bus

Julian Timperley.

Julian Timperley. - Credit: Archant

For those who have been to Glastonbury you might have noticed The Cider Bus.

It’s a bright blue double-decker – actually, fairly unmissable I would have thought.

This is Julian Temperley’s pride and joy, serving out pints of crisp, cold Burrow Hill Cider.

Fine cider is made from a blend of different varieties and Burrow Hill Medium-Dry from the Somerset Cider Brandy Company includes seven different examples, all of which bring something important to the final flavour.

Burrow Hill Cider

Burrow Hill Cider - Credit: Archant

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For instance, the legendary Kingston Black brings aromatic fruit flavours whilst the age-old Dabinett gives body and structure.

This is a cider made from a blend of at least 11 varieties of vintage apples, that dances on the palate with freshness and verve but is also profound and flavoursome.

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Hidden away in the criss-cross lanes of the Somerset Levels, just outside the village of Kingsbury Episcopi, you will find an extraordinary collection of eclectic buildings that is Pass Vale Farm, huddled together below the dominant Burrow Hill. This is the home of the Somerset Cider Brandy Company (SCBC), established in 1989, when it was the first cider producer in the UK to be granted a licence to distil in recorded history.

Established by the ever-present and eccentric Julian Temperley, Pass Vale Farm houses two continuous pot stills which Temperley affectionately calls Fifi and Josephine. Made by Gazagne, a well-known Parisian still-maker, at the beginning of the last century, these two elderly spinsters consume about seven tons of cider apples to produce 500 litres of cider brandy.

The use of continuous stills ensures a fruitier and fresher cider brandy than you would get from a pot still but the real secret of making fine Cider Brandy comes from the quality of the initial produce.

Burrow Hill has one of the great cider apple ’terroirs’ where the soil, climate and geology come together to guarantee perfect conditions for the 40 different varieties of cider apple that are grown on the 150 acres that surround the distillery.

Put a bottle in the fridge and pull it out later to enjoy whilst overlooking the glorious Somerset, Devon or Cornwall (or in fact any place you might be) countryside. And don’t forget to roll those ‘Rs’ in Ciderrrrrrrr.

Burrow Hill cider is of course available through Christopher Piper Wines and many other delicious brandies and aperitifs from the SCBC are also online and in the shop in Ottery St Mary.

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