Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Dispatch from London
I'm in London for 48 hours, working with a group of international experts to define telehealth, care management, and big data opportunities for the UK, Europe, Australia, and US.
During the afternoon break I had a remarkable experience.
Unity Farm apples (40+ heirloom varietals) produce a crisp, well-balanced fermented cider that includes sweet, tart, aromatic, and astringent components.
Kathy, my wife, searched the web for the best cider pub in London and asked me to stop by so I could compare Unity Farm cider making with traditional farmhouse ciders from the UK.
The Cider Tap, a remarkable place, is, by good karma, 100 yards from my hotel in Euston Square.
Professor Justin Beilby, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide, and I tasted six still and four sparking ciders, fresh from the cask.
1. Severn Perry (made from crushed pears) - 6.3% alcohol, aromatic, dry, with a subtle pear flavor.
2. Sandford Bumbleberry - 4% alcohol, sweet with a mixture of herbs and berries. It reminded me of a traditional spiced mead - a metheglin.
3. Bleangawney - 6% alcohol, dry, with an almost lime-like flavor.
4. Upper House Farm Oak Barrel aged - 6.5% alcohol, medium/sweet with a clean, crisp flavor. This was my favorite still cider and a style that I've tried to replicate at Unity Farm.
5. Severn Farmhouse - 6.2% alcohol, medium, a classic full bodied english farmhouse cider
6. Burrow Hill Alf n Alf - 6.0% alcohol with a very complex taste that leads me to think it is half dry cider/half medium cider.
1. Aspalls Harry Sparrow - 4.6% alcohol, dry, crisp and clean. This was my favorite sparking cider, a true scrumpy
2. Lilley's Stargazer - 5% alcohol, medium/sweet, with a great apple flavor
3. Sheppy's Oakwood - 4.8% alcohol, medium/dry without any overtones of oak, despite the name
4. Somerset draught - 5.5% alcohol, medium, well balanced and complex
The proprietress of the Cider Tap explained that the still ciders change weekly, with new fresh products produced in small quantities from local farms.
Tasting living, complex, handcrafted ciders made with centuries of experience was the highlight of my trip. I only wish we had the local cider tradition close to Boston. I guess it is up to Unity Farm to bring handcrafted ciders to the Metrowest!
Posted by John Halamka at 3:11 PM