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Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

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Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

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I gather that "cider" means a fermented beverage, and that CAMRA serves as the respected authority and guardian of the tradition. I also now understand that there are many "non-real" pretenders that I'm better off not allowing to pass my lips. I read that a "scrumpy" was once a rough and unrefined cider but has gotten transformed into a more elegant beverage.

So what should I look for when I search out a pub for a real cider? I have become a "cheap drunk" in my senior years, so the alcohol equivalent of a couple of pints of beer is now my limit. Does that translate into a couple of glasses of cider or perry? And while in Devon would I be going wrong to drink cider and perry in favor of beer?

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Devon
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1. Re: Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

I would find a beer festival where you can try different sorts of beer and cider so that you can see what you enjoy. Or go to a cider farm where you can get tastings.

Depending on when you plan being here but in our country pubs if you say your interested in real cider they will enjoy finding you the real scrumpy. It's worth a taste if you get the chance. Not delicious, a bit aquired but a notch on your belt. Must be the real thing though, cloudy and tart.

You;ll find cider on sale in shops and pubs but that's tailored to appeal to all, pleasant but unremarkable.

As to being a cheap drunk the same applies to look for a local beer fest somewhere not too big. Find a pub that does real ale and you;ll find that there's a huge difference between the alchohol content. Old Thumper at 5.1 doesn't sound much but has a heck of a punch. My friends reckon a couple of pints to keep walking and talking. It doesn't seem to have a great rating on the net but does locally.

Otter Head is Devon beer at 5.8 but I've not tried it.

I can't help with locations. Did I notice you were in South Devon? I only know West Somerset and North Devon.

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2. Re: Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

The answer is to drink what you enjoy ! The link I put on the other thread was simply to advise what CAMRA (and I agree with them), class as “real” cider.

It does seem a shame if, heading to one of England’s great cider counties, you just end up drinking the generic stuff you can find anywhere - but it’s your call.

If you do want to try the real thing, simply head to the pubs on the link that Sonya posted and keep an eye out for signs at farm entrances. Or head to East Sussex and try a hundred plus here : http://www.middlefarm.com/cider-barn/

Mike

Edited: 20 February 2018, 07:20
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3. Re: Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

Sorry, I meant Sonia, and her link to cider producers. There’s a good list of English cider pubs here telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/… including one in Devon.

Should you fancy finding The Best Pub in The World (according to me, anyway), drive east to the next county, Dorset, and head for The Square and Compass at Worth Matravers. An ancient place with home made food and their own cider.

Mike

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4. Re: Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

I worked in the alcoholic beverage industry for > 30 years.

Cider must be made from apples, and perry from pears (Babycham is actually a perry) anything else is a fruit cordial, whatever the manufacturers try to claim.

Ditto beer: there is no such thing as 'grapefruit beer' - yes, I have seen that here in Budapest: anything which claims to be beer but contains such items as oranges etc is also a fruit cordial. Ignore any claims to the contrary. Beer is flavoured with hops: period.

And CAMRA started out trying to save real beer, no idea what they are up to now.

Scrumpy can still be found, as hinted above it is pretty rough and unrefined, but I enjoy a pint ot 2 when back in the UK: it was the traditional drink of farm workers. My late uncle - a farmer - used to make it: my Mother forbade me to drink it.

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5. Re: Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

Check out the Monkey House Defford online for an unique cider only pub

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6. Re: Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

Can’t add much to what has already been said but that proper scrumpy can be very strong (alcohol)! A

lthough Devon is often linked to Cider the bigger producer counties are actually Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset. A lot of pubs serve very good real ales these days, but sadly have more generic ciders.

Old Rosie (Herefordshire) although now a big brand does have a fairly authentic scrumpy which is fairly widely available in pubs and supermarkets if you’d like to see if you are a scrumpy fan.

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7. Re: Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

Worcestershire is also a cider producing area, especially around Evesham

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8. Re: Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

I always like to try the local beverage when staying away from home, and being a coeliac these past 12 years rules out beer, so cider is my alcoholic beverage of choice.

I would agree it is worth trying some local cider wherever you find it, but it will generally be stronger than beer or lager, often it will be around 6 per cent alcohol (or more). It can be worth asking the bar staff if there is local cider as it may be 'hidden' in a barrel behind the bar. Also some pubs will have a box (or two) of real cider on a shelf behind the bar. (Some Wetherspoons pubs in the west country will have several boxes of cider available).

My preference is for the cider to be served flat (not sparkling) and be at room temperature.

You will find there is a great range of different tastes to be tried, sometimes due to the apple variety used, but also where the apples are grown, cider from Kent or Suffolk being quite different. Real perry(pear cider) is also worth a try, but is much less likely to be found in a pub, (historically farmers often kept perry for themselves while using cider as part of the 'pay' for their workforce).

Locally to me Thatchers are the main producer with their 'fizzy' Thatchers Gold found everywhere. Instead try to search out Thatchers Cheddar Valley, it looks like orange squash, and is an acquired taste, but is more the real thing.

In answer to your question as what to drink in Devon try both cider and beer, but not at the same time. They say 'beer after cider makes a good rider', but 'cider after beer makes e feel queer' !

Look out for Sandford Orchards ciders of Crediton, and also Sampford Courtenay cider.

In Newton Abbot Ye Olde Cider Bar in East Street is an original cider bar, but serves no beer.

In Exeter you could do worse than visit the Old FireHouse in New North Road, which has a good selection of real cider, and good beer.

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9. Re: Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

I know this post is a little old, but I’m over visiting my dad at the moment and he’s a member of CAMRA

It stands for CAMpaign for Real Ale and members rate the ale (beer) for freshness, taste etc - he even has an app on his phone. My dad takes it quite seriously. It’s amusing to witness :)

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10. Re: Cider, perry, scrumpy and CAMRA

At one time CAMRA were apparently rated as the most successful pressure group in the world. They set out their vision, got their tactics spot-on and ended up with exactly what they wanted- and more.

But that was the 1970’s. Gradually their overwhelmingly male-based membership got older and more conservative. And in all that time, their obsession with the very best real ale, at any cost, meant that they missed something happening right in front of them - the closure of thousands of pubs.

Where they go from here is anyone’s guess. Any group that celebrates good beer gets my support. I’d like to see them try to appeal to more women, put more effort into pushing real cider and to stand up more for pubs. If that all means they change their name - perhaps to acknowledge the craft beer revolution - then so be it.

Other views will vary !

Mike

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