Little Pomona Old Man & The Bee: an exciting new cider
With the rise and rise of craft beer quality cider has been somewhat eclipsed of late but this beautifully made - and packaged - cider deserves a place on everyone’s dinner table.
It’s made by James and Susanna Forbes of Little Pomona, a new orchard and cidery in Thornbury in Herefordshire and named after the farmer who planted their orchard, Mark Murray (and the bees that pollinate the trees)
James and Susanna (a drinks writer who has been an occasional contributor to this site) produce their ciders in very small quantities (there are just over 1250 bottles of this - probably less by now). It’s a blend of Dabinett, Ellis Bitter, Harry Masters Jersey and Foxwhelp (part of which was barrel aged) from the 2015 harvest and is fermented with wild yeasts.
It has an incredibly deep rich apple flavour and costs around £5 for 50cl which is expensive for cider but cheap for a comparable wine. It’s not ‘cidery’ in the conventional taste - more like a strong, vinous apple drink, made to go with food. (Roast pork immediately comes to mind).
The Forbes take fantastic care over its production. To quote from their website:
"We hand pick and hand select each apple. We age our fruit in small crates until the balance of acid, sugars, tannins and fruit is just right before milling and then pressing. We ferment with natural yeast, and wait until the cider says it’s ready before release. That’s it. No water or sugar additions. No pasteurisation, filtration or artificial carbonation."
You can taste it at Birch in Bristol which has a spectacular cider list and buy it from specialist beer and cider retailers such as Hop Burns & Black and some wine merchants such as Borough Wines in London (see a full list of stockists on the Little Pomona website)
It's simply one of the most distinctive and exciting ciders I’ve tasted.
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