Hedgerow (6%) and Cockhaise (6%)
Bignose and Beardy, Sussex
It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these reviews, so here’s a two for one – two ciders from a maker I haven’t previously come across.
Bignose and Beardy are based in Sussex and produce still ciders in small one off batches using apples from local gardens and orchards.
I have two examples to try, both in stubby 330ml bottles – presumably to ration these small quanitity batches – hidden by mysterious brown glass and both described as dry.
Hedgerow is the lighter in colour of the two, and is made with unwanted apples from Lauren Tree Farm. The story goes that the tank of cider was left outside due to a lack of barn space and forgotten about for a while through everything the English climate could throw at it.
It’s pale and slightly cloudy. The nose is fruity but subtle, and doesn’t give a lot away. The taste is classic eastern counties cider – Apple flavours with a touch of tartness. There are hints of a dryer flavour in there along with a bit of caramelised apple pie sweetness, and overall it’s pretty easy to drink and nicely balanced. I’d probably pigeon hole it as medium dry rather than totally dry.
Cockhaisy is named for Cockhaise Mill Farm and uses cooking and eating apples from an orchard near the Bluebell Railway. Much clearer than Hedgerow and the nose is so subtle it’s almost non existent. Taste wise, it’s got a lot more depth, stewed apples being the main event but with some sharpness in the mix too. There is a bit of dryness in the finish but again I’d say it’s medium dry rather than the advertised medium.
It’s great to hear of abandoned orchards being brought back to life, and producing some decent ciders.