The farm in Dore Abbey, which is run by the Gwatkins since 1919, has a very rich history of cider making dating back even to medieval times. Cider has been simply always made here. Interestingly, similarly to many other families and cidery’s, they went to the commercial stage of cider making only in 1992. Their ciders have picked up countless awards so when I saw that the Williams Ale & Cider House has one of their ciders on draught I knew I had to try it! Even though it happened to be the sweet Stoke Red…Company: Gwatkin Cider
Place of Origin: Moorhampton Park Farm in Abbey Dore, Herefordshire, UK
Apples: Stoke Red
Sweetness as per label: sweet
Package type: on draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, flute or snifter
Appearance: pours a hazy amber with raspberry hues. A little bit of foam in the beginning with flat carbonation. The body is oily.
Aroma/Nose: The Stoke Red smells slightly vinegary with wild notes of beeswax, leather, and barnyard. Also, it’s fruity, with refreshing sweet raspberry and a touch of strawberry with red apples.
Taste: As you could expect from a sweet cider, it begins very sweet (too sweet for me) with a rather low-acetic acidity. The mid-palate is funky with flavours of beeswax, barnyard, leather and wood. Also, notes of raspberries with a delicate strawberry and red apple skin appeared. The finish has a lingering astringent taste.
Overall: Although I usually don’t drink sweet cider, this time I have decided to go for the Stoke Red, which is a sweet cider. The reason is that I have never tried cider from Gwatkin before and wanted to take the opportunity. I assumed at the start it would be too sweet and hence less appealing to me. I was right only about the level of sweetness. The Stoke Red was indeed too sweet for my liking, but those notes of funk and red berries with a strong astringent taste are really something! Only the level of sweetness stopped me from taking another pint. Great scrumpy! 4/6
Availability: in their farm shop, and online store.
Price: 4.75 GBP (5.45 EUR) at The Williams Ale & Cider House in London.