Charlie Harvey

Review — Sam Smiths Organic Cider

I think that Sam Smith's, the Tadcaster based independent brewery, are a fantastic organisation. Everything they brew is vegan and a high percentage is organic. They run some of the cheapest and most pleasant pubs about; their pubs feel like proper pubs, rather than soulless McPub beer malls. By Wotan, none of their pubs or drinks are even advertised in the media! So, I wanted their Organic Cider to be a truly phenomenal drink, like their many fantastic beers.

As it turned out, this was a mass appeal cider - a medium sweet, inoffensive tipple, which didn't quite live up to the loveliness of Sam Smith's Ayingerbrau or their superlative Organic Ale. Don't get me wrong; this is not a cider that could, in all good conscience, be mentioned in the same sentence as Strongbow. Except for that one. It's just that this is very much a quaffing cider. It's light and summery, easy to drink and a considerable aid to witty conversation, as I discovered on my rather ad hoc tasting expedition, which was actually a piss-up at The Glasshouse Stores on the occasion of a chum's birthday. I drank the bottled version, though there is also a draft hewn from the same apples.

Initially the cider is light and crisp, not so much so as an Aspalls, though. It doesn't have the offputting saccharine of an Olde English or the Scumpy-ish body of Westons Organic; its not too sweet or too dry. Discussion with my co-taster established that this would be a good cider for a lazy summer day in a pub garden, or perhaps a picnic, but that it probably hadn't enough wurzelishness for a full-on rave, and certainly hadn't the devil-may-care-my-percent-is-bigger-than-yours mischievousness for a twelve hour anarcho-punk gig. As the only cider in the pub it's pretty darn good, but Sam Smith's are up against some kick-ass real ciders elsewhere. I hope they make it.


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