An in-ciders guide on where to find the 100% fresh pressed good stuff - from olde English styles to Asturian sidras
It started with a Twitter conversation about places to drink in Ancoats and ended with a cider map of Manchester. Dick Withecombe loves cider. He loves it so much he's created a handy map of all the bars, pubs and restaurants serving the proper stuff in Manchester city centre (we've embedded it below) and written us a few words to go with it. The rest is Dick...
This traditional drink has long suffered from a terrible image, with people's experiences of festival rough scrumpy matched with the experience of industrial ciders made of carbonated water, additives, sugar and just over 35% fermented apple juice.
Less than a year ago Manchester was a cider desert, today it is only surpassed by London and Bristol as the centre of the new Cider Revolution.
From a small tasting launch event at Port Street Beer House (main image) in Spring 2018, Alcester-based Hogans Cider can now be found in many of the bars in Manchester's Northern Quarter. In July they teamed up with street food outfit GRUB to launch Manchester's first ever cider festival, the Fairfield Cider Fête, showcasing many new and innovative ciders from across the UK - so successful was the event that it'll be returning in May.
Some of the finest ciders in the world - many listed in 2018's Cider Insider book by Susanna Forbes - can also be found in The Smithfield Tavern, ran by Blackjack brewery, while local ciders can be found at The Brink on Bridge Street, who have a 'made within 25 miles of the bar' policy.
The Manchester Cider Map
Nearly every Spanish restaurant sells the typically sour ciders of northern Spain. Indeed, if you visit Iberica, where Asturian food is the speciality, a waiter will pour you Sidra in Asturian style, using a narrow spout the bottle is held high and poured with panache into a small glass held low. This is an experience not to be missed. Over at Deansgate's Lunya they serve Trabanco Sidra Natural 6% - a traditional Asturian Cider made from Spanish acidic cider apples and fermented in chestnut barrels.
Natural ciders, made from wild yeasts, no additives and 100% fresh pressed juice in small batches, are now competing with fine wines for quality. Manchester Natural wine supplier Love and Labour are now selling Raison D’Etre by my favourite cider maker, Ross on Wye, and will be extending their list in February.
Also look out for The Crown and Kettle, the only pub in Manchester with its own cider vault.
Dick's top picks:
Little Pomona at The Smithfield Tavern, 37 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ
Raison D’Etre, by legendary Herefordshire cider maker Ross on Wye, from Love and Labour
Dunham Press, from an orchard of west country cider apple trees at Dunham Massey, at The Brink, 65 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BQ
Hogan's Cider at GRUB, Fairfield Social Club Arch, 6 Temperance St, Manchester M12 6HR / Pilcrow, Hanover St, Manchester M60 0AB
Bag in Box cider from Beard and Sabre at The Crown & Kettle, 2 Oldham Rd, Manchester M4 5FE
Tell CiderBuzzMcr what you think about the recommendations and tell us of any ciders you have enjoyed, and where you found it at firstname.lastname@example.org - and please use #RethinkCider to get involved and to tell the cider community what you want from it - it's your opinion that counts.
Follow Dick's natural cider and perry mission on Twitter @Ashton1848