Cider and Perry Bar 2017

Cider and Perry have been produced in the British Isles since at least the time of the Romans. Traditionally special varieties of apples are used to make cider; perry is the same, but made from special varieties of pears. These varieties contain higher levels of tannin than apples and pears grown for eating or cooking. Orchards with the traditional varieties gradually reduced in geographical area to become concentrated in the West and South West of England. Other areas have seen an increase in cider and perry production in recent years, but these have largely been from eating and cooking varieties that give a softer character to the cider and perry. However there has also been a small revival of growing traditional varieties outside of the West/South West, including by Rob North at Pure North Ciders near Holmfirth, whom we are happy to be able to support.
Cider and Perry at their simplest are made by crushing and pressing the fruit and allowing the juice to ferment by natural yeasts, although many producers add commercial yeast for greater consistency of flavour. The production process thus has much more in common with making wine than beer and is subject to seasonal variations. Like different wine vintages this is part of the fun of cider and perry as those made in the traditional manner by small producers are likely to vary from batch to batch, making accurate tasting descriptions in advance difficult. The programme will give you a general guide and more information will be available at the bar.
The definition of Real Cider/Perry is complicated and controversial, but in brief the CAMRA policy now allows the addition of real fruit, vegetables and spices. However many of the “flavoured” products commonly available include concentrates or various flavourings. As this sub-category, real or otherwise, is commonly available we have avoided these products for our small bar and instead have concentrated on ordering directly from three West Yorkshire producers and two from more traditional areas, in Dorset and Herefordshire. Sadly it was difficult to find a Lancashire cider but the Pure North Sweet Union is made from fruit grown in West Yorkshire and Lancashire.
We feel this will give a range of more easy drinking products for those who are used to the modern style, as well as some more challenging flavours for those who like the more traditional style. If you are not familiar with the traditional styles, why not seek the advice of the bar staff and try something new to you? You may like it and leave with a greater love of cider and perry!
A word of warning though, make a note of the ABV and treat with respect, as some may be stronger than you are used to and cider & perry has a habit of going down all too easily – until you go out into the fresh air and find your legs suddenly go down. Regarding intolerances and allergies, some but not all producers add sulphites to the product to help preserve it; however anyone with an allergy to sulphites may want to avoid all cider and perry, as even when not added, the natural fermentation process is likely to produce some sulphite. A final note regarding perry; some perry pears contain relatively high levels of sorbitol. All you need to know about sorbitol is that it acts as a natural laxative, so don’t overdo it on the perry – or you may have more than a hangover to contend with!