Aspall Cyder - Cider and Vinegar

The story of Aspall & the stag


Date
12th May 2014

Category
Events


I'll admit; I was somewhat hesitant when I was asked to conduct a tasting for a stag party. I had visions of a group of rowdy blokes with the poor groom being hand-cuffed to the nearest lamppost.

But this request was from Patrick Smith from the Telegraph, and with men's attitudes to drink in London changing, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put s group of metrosexuals to the test. As Men, we are now happy to talk about tastes, aromas and brewing techniques amongst each other whilst savouring artisanal products - rather than gulping down 'euro fizz' at a pound a pint. 

Patrick’s job as Best Man was to organise the most memorable of male meanderings around London town. His job as a journalist was to remember enough to be able to write about it in his column! First was a paint balling session in North Greenwich. Quite a violent affair by the looks of the welts, shown off with great pride. Then it was beer and cyder tasting, followed by a classy dinner before the mayhem ensued on a party bus tour of London's finest clubs.

The Artillery Arms (@artilleryarms) was the setting for the beer and cyder tasting. A great, traditional, characterful, 17th century English public house in Moorgate run by Fuller’s. They have a great upstairs function room, large enough to accommodate us and in keeping with the iconic London/British theme.

The tasting was light-hearted and with no small amount of innuendo, as could only be expected on such an occasion! A beer and cyder quiz, 'Knock your hops and cox off', was designed to test the aromas and flavours that the group detected by giving them two sets of tasting notes – one correct, the other being completely made up.

The warm-up

To awaken the taste buds of the rather polite and social bunch of well bearded, twenty-something chaps we tasted cut up segments of English apple varieties; Cox’s giving heady floral sweet esters, Russets with a luxurious subtle sweet perfume and silky texture and Bramley's racy, acidic, sharpness. Washed down with the fresh pressed apples in Aspall Apple juice - the base of all our Suffolk Cyders.

The tasting was light-hearted and with no small amount of innuendo, as could only be expected on such an occasion! A beer and cyder quiz, 'Knock your hops and cox off', was designed to test the aromas and flavours that the group detected by giving them two sets of tasting notes – one correct, the other being completely made up.

Let the cyder tasting commence!

Sampling of Aspall Harry Sparrow cyder ensued. A healthy tot half filling a wine glass, allowing much swirling, gazing, sniffing and even a “hello” to the cyder!

Then was the mighty Fuller’s Smith and Turner’s Chiswick Bitter. But only after the crowd had been enlightened on the sniffing, rubbing, biting and eating of various malted barley states and varieties of English hops - the fundamentals of all good quality Fuller’s beers.

The group then went through all the styles guessing which answer was right. This included Aspall draught and Imperial vintage Cyders and Fuller's Bengal Lancer IPA and Black Cab stout. After much exchanging of views, jockeying of opinions and attempted bribes, the answers were in.

The session ended with the guys all standing (a good sign!) and a resounding round of applause from a group who had been well entertained, educated and inebriated!

 The group was fantastic and some brilliant questions came out such as 'how does this Suffolk cyder differ so much from the scrumpies of Somerset that we are used to?', ‘How could beer travel all the way from London to India over a hundred years ago and still taste good?' and 'Does the level of alcohol affect the taste of the drink?'

 The group was fantastic and some brilliant questions came out such as 'how does this Suffolk cyder differ so much from the scrumpies of Somerset that we are used to?', ‘How could beer travel all the way from London to India over a hundred years ago and still taste good?' and 'Does the level of alcohol affect the taste of the drink?'

Pleasantly surprised

Really thoughtful and in depth questions. These were the thoughts from a group of guys who were concerned about what they were consuming, where their drink actually comes from and how it was made.

I was happy to be surprised by our audience. It was great to see good beer and cyder working as social catalysts, worthy of being appreciated like wine and coffee, with where it's from, how it's made and its history all contributing to a great tasting end product.

For the full write up by Patrick of his perfect stag do in London please read the Telegraph Men's online pages and follow his twitterings @PatrickHJSmith.

To use a fantastic Fullers pub or learn more about their beer check out   www.fullers.co.uk or contact Fullers Corporate Event Manager Cassandra Orford

And to find out when the next Aspall tasting is, follow us @Aspallknights and all our celebrated Cyders are detailed online at www.aspall.co.uk

Guest post: Nathan Sloane, Buisness Development Manager