Yes, the excuse to pay a visit was cider. Specifically, their first international cider festival. This was obviously doing well as, despite arriving early on Saturday, we found a lot had been drunk on Friday night. Nine out of eleven perries had been drunk but there was still plenty to go at. We grabbed a seat in the large beer garden-despite (naturally) the BBC predicting rain; we had good weather all day.
Kicking off with the rather bland Thatcher’s Heritage-well it is only 4.9%, we counted them in and we counted them out in the toilets later. Gwynt Y Ddraig (try saying that after an afternoon on cider) Orchard Gold was of similar strength but was a medium cider with a definite touch of oak in the flavour. As did Hecks Kingston Black.
Of course we also sampled some old friends-Cheddar Valley and Morris Minor Mike’s favourite, Black Rat. Special mention has to go to Ross on Wye’s Dry Farmhouse. This started off as if it were going to remove the enamel from your teeth, but as Archimedes commented, “You actually get to like it after a bit”. However, man does not live by cider alone, so we felt compelled to try some beer before we left, including the excellent Phoenix Midsummer Madness
We called in at the GBG Black Horse on the way back to the station but this proved disappointing-as I think it was on my last visit. This seems to be one of those pubs that some elements of Camra tend to favour-slightly down at heel and with more emphasis on number of pumps, rather than quality. Leaving our pints of butterscotch, we headed across the street to Wetherspoons. The Titanic Iceberg here not only was much cheaper but in much better nick. A good last call before our trek back to the station.