The craft cider scene continues to thrive in Australia. Yet another big event, traditionally focused on beer, GABS 2017, is dedicating a lot more attention to cider this year. As always, we will attend the event and publish our own independent review. In the meantime, we are publishing a brief overview of what the event promises to be.
GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest is back for another year and promises to be bigger and better than ever before. One of the most anticipated aspects of GABS 2017 is the addition of ‘Festival Ciders’ for a second year in a row. Made especially for GABS, these ciders were introduced for the first time last year and smashed all expectations. After this encouraging reception, the festival will welcome a record number of one-off ciders that can’t be found anywhere else in the world – flavour combinations that have never been seen or tasted before. With 20 exciting new Festival Ciders on offer it has been challenging picking a top 8, but here are GABS co-founders Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone’s top picks for this year.
Blue Elephant Beverage Co – “ROCKAFELLA”
Cider Cider Maker’s Note: A cider to challenge the senses. Check it out now! A full-bodied aromatic cider displaying funk and soul brother! Textural detail with drying phenolics are achieved through a combination of a full solid ferment in stainless steel and oak balanced with crisp acidity, displaying a mesh of citrus and tropical fruits of grapefruit and guava. Ingredients: Fruit is sourced from our own 20-year-old orchard and we use Pink Lady apples for their distinct flavour profile and natural acidity. Brewing process: Fermentation is conducted with indigenous yeast in a combination of stainless steel and old French Oak hogsheads. Fermentation takes approximately four weeks on full solids at a moderate temperature between 12-16 degrees celsius.
Golden Axe – “PASH MA COBANA” Tropical
Cider Cider Maker’s Note: If you like pash ma cobana, and drinking cider with fruit, If you’re not into soda, if you’re not wearing a suit, If you like making love to tastebuds, in the bar or at GABS, I’m the love that you’ve looked for, drink me down, buy a slab. Ingredients: Passionfruit, Banana, Mango, Coconut.
Grand Ridge Brewery – “CINNAMON APPLE CIDER”
Cider Maker’s Note: The Twisted Sister Apple Cider has delighted many since its release a couple of years ago. Now with the introduction of cinnamon, it will have you dreaming you’re at the bakery smelling that fresh Cinnamon Apple cake. The spice and fresh apple are amazing together. Try this with fresh seafood, pork belly or Asian slaw.
Small Acres Cyder – Small Acres “SUMMER PUDDING”
Cider Maker’s Note: A celebration of locally grown summer fruits are co-fermented with our cider variety apples to create Small Acres Summer Pudding. Cherries, plums and blackberries weave their magic with the earthy flavours of 20 different cider variety apples. Add to this the complexities of a wild ferment, plenty of lees stirring and barrel aging and the result is summer pudding in a glass. Ingredients: All fruit was locally grown by us or our neighbours. Brewing process: The apples were first scratted and allowed to macerate for 24hrs, a process not commonly used in Australia. A rack and cloth press was used to press the fruit, again a process not commonly used in Australia. The natural yeasts were allowed to ferment the juice rather than inoculating with cultured yeasts. Barrel fermenting and lees stirring adds complexity, depth and palate weight.
Edgebrook Cider – “WINTER CHAI” Cider (NZ)
Cider Maker’s Note: Hand crafted seductive tones of cinnamon, clove, anise & vanilla blended with luscious Hawke’s Bay cider. Featuring traditional English and French cider apples, wild fermented Pacific Queen, Braeburn & Pink Lady. Soft and smooth in texture, you’ll love this apple and chai spice infusion. Purely made, with no concentrate.
McCashin’s Brewery – ROCHDALE PINA COLADA Cider (NZ)
Cider Maker’s Note: Crisp Nelson apples, coconut and vanilla combine to create an easy drinking and refreshing tropical cider. With notes of pineapple, this cider conjures up images of summers beside the pool. Serve cold over ice, perhaps with tropical fruit such as pineapple to create the perfect tropical punch.
The Mussel Inn – HOT DOG FISH (NZ)
Cider Maker’s Note: Real country cider made from Granny Smith, Sturmer and other apples from around the hood with the addition of cayenne chilli. Too hot for some – never hot enough for others – just right for you? Ingredients: Cayenne chilli. Brewing process: Lovingly hand crushed and pressed apples using a traditional basket press while playing vinyl Beatles records recorded on their Apple label.
Three Wise Birds – NATIONAL TREASURE (NZ)
Cider Maker’s Note: A tribute to a Kiwi classic, the combination of pineapple and chocolate that put New Zealand on the world map. Experience the milk chocolate aromatics before getting hit with a tropical pineapple punch that sweetens the mood, as this cider escapes onto your palate. A cider rich in both flavour and nostalgia. Ingredients: Pineapple and chocolate.
Melbourne: GABS is held over five sessions between Friday 19 and Sunday 21 May and is being held at the Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson Street, Carlton. For more information visit https://www.gabsfestival.com/melbourne-event-info/
Sydney: GABS Sydney is held over two sessions on Saturday 27 May and is being held at The Dome at Sydney Showground, 1 Showground Road, Olympic Park. For more information visit https://www.gabsfestival.com/sydney-event-info/
New Zealand: GABS Auckland is held over three sessions from Friday 16 to Saturday 17 June and is being held at the ASB Showgrounds, 217 Greenlane West, Epsom, Auckland. For more information visit https://www.gabsfestival.com/auckland-event-info/