Aspalls Draught Suffolk Cyder at the Jericho Tavern, Oxford
Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve reviewed Aspalls’, my previous Aspalls Premier Cru review was a bit bourgeois, at least according to Simi. He suggested that I should review White Lightning. The difficulty with that is remembering the taste afterwards, I suppose, but watch this space.
The Jericho Tavern is an ideal venue to enjoy a cheeky Suffolk Cyder; dark, cosy and espcecially friendly. Its where they put on the Oxford Geek Nights.The geezer behind the bar joked about the champagne style Aspalls Cuvee Chevalier Cider which is also served at the Tavern. Rather than an especially good dry cider, people think of it as a not especially good champagne he observed. Well, the draught was poured and we set about poring through various reading materials including the frankly bizarre Independent’s Day — its a book of adverts for independent shops mixed up with interviews with the shopkeepers — and the Annotated Turing.
The Aspalls is a light, dry, zingy cider; the producers spell it "cyder" and claim to have been making the stuff for 275 years. Suffolk cyder is a sophisticated, fizzy, light and mellow tipple much more akin to a dry white wine than to the West Country farm scrumpy. The stuff is thoroughly drinkable and weighs in at a gentle daytime drinking friendly 5.5% — perfect for sitting around in Jericho, reading some number theory and chatting about what gig to go to that evening.
The colour is almost clear, with a golden haze, think Italian white wine. There’s a slight tannin edge to the flavour, but in a lovely dry way. Light fruity and summery tones in the flavour complement the bubbles-in-your-nose fizzyness perfectly. A complex palate balancing apple skin, mown grass, white wine and more than a hint of melon. My co-conspirator who is no fan of cider warned that, "you could get really pissed on this stuff".
I enjoyed a single glass of the Aspalls before we headed off for more bimblings and eventually a concert at the Sheldonian. It is my considered opinion that my ingestion of Aspalls enhanced my enjoyment of the various works of Bach, Pachelbel and Vivaldi that were there performed, but having no control group against which to measure this assertion must remain in the realm of speculation.
2011-02-07 by Charlie Harvey