Charlie Harvey

Review — Brook Farm Cider

Brook Farm Cider at the Lamb and Flag, Oxford

I learned an important lesson yesterday. It turns out that drinking a couple of pints of Brook Farm Cider makes understanding the mathematical writings of Gottlob Frege pretty much impossible. Who would have imagined it. Not me.

Drink with care and don’t try and do maths afterwards

I’d gone to the Lamb and Flag for a natter and a pint on a day off work and asked what ciders they had on tap. Turned out that they had Thatchers Gold, which is "OK if there’s nothing else®" but also Brook Farm. The woman behid the bar told me that it was like Marmite in that people seemed either to love it or to hate it. I had a taste and realized the truth of her words.

Its a bone dry, bittersharp, almost sour cider. A vast amount of tannin — almost like drinking raw acorns — and tons of deep smoky, oaky character. It reminded me of the wonderful Roger Wilkins Farmhouse Cider I reviewed a while back.

Its a deep orange with a thin head and a lightish body. It packs a 6.9% punch. I really felt it once I stood up after the second pint. Its very still and very much in the tradition of Herefordshire farm cider, as one might expect. On the website, the cidermaker lists some of the apple varieties in the orchard, Broxwood Foxwhelp, Yarlington Mill, Porters Perfection, Stoke Red, Harry Master's Jersey, Brown Snout, Dabinett, White Norman, and Chisel Jersey, plus several more whose identity is still being investigated.

It is made very much in the traditional way with the fruit not being sprayed and no magic extras like dead rats, concentrate, pond water and such. Fermentation is by naturally occuring yeasts over Winter, Spring and early Summer.

As I mentioned this comes in at nearly 7%, so drinking a pint is something like drinking half a pint of sherry. But unlike sherry, it tastes lush. The boytled ciders that Brook Farm sell are even stronger. Drink with care and don’t try and do maths afterwards.

2012-08-17 by Charlie Harvey


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