Friday, 8 November 2013

Welsh Cider: Gwynt Y Ddraig and Dunkertons

Like many others this last summer I have been indulging in cider.

What's different about that is that I've not drunk cider for about twenty years. As a teenager trying to find out what it was that I was going to waste the next few years drinking I tried some cider's but always got an instant blinding headache after about 1 pint so that crossed it of the list.

Gwynt Y Ddraig Farmhouse ScrumpyForward to this summer just gone, and one day the wife and I fancied something cold and refreshing so bought a few lagers and I also picked up a few cider's from Spar, including their own brand bottles. And we liked them. The dry cider's seemed to be our preference, and so started a new avenue for me seeking out new bottles on shelves that had gone untried. Packing boxes of cider/scrumpy for camping was a great move, and exploring some well known Welsh Cider producers was very enjoyable and tasty.

I still think it unlikely I'll be drinking pints of it in a pub but in certain circumstances I can see myself sipping the apple stuff.
A few that stand out over the summer for me were not always for good reasons. Some of the Bulmers fruit flavoured bottles were just so sickly, red pressed grape springs to mind. A Perry that was so acetone it was undrinkable, and the Cidre Pear by Stella Artois was foul (sorry to my mate who gifted it to me but it was).

Gwynt Y Ddraig Black DragonHighlights include 2 from the Welsh brewery Gwynt Y Ddraig, their Farmhouse Scrumpy,  5.3 % and the 3 litre box is a bargain, delicious full flavoured with good body, some cider seems so thin, this scrumpy on a campsite in August just hit the spot perfectly.
The second from them is Black Dragon, a 6.5% medium sweet oak matured cider. This is probably the one that I've drunk the most. It's a darker colour than most cider's, perhaps that lends some gravitas when judging by eye rather than some straw urine you might pour (as a nurse I see plenty of different shades of urine produced trust me!) A dry aroma, red apples and woody, a bit 'funky' if truth be told. For a medium sweet it seems quite dry to me, a pleasing bitterness creeps in too. Perhaps bitterness is the wrong word, tartness is more appropriate.
Dunkertons Black Fox Cider

Another nice one was a bottle that I picked up as a present for a friend, and got another for myself was Dunkerton' s Black Fox cider. What is it with cider names and black animals?!
Black Fox is a 7% medium dry bottle, from a cider mill in Pembridge, Herefordshire. Quite a solid tasting cider, tart dry and musty, and a great sweetness pushing through. Certainly if I see anything else by Dunkertons I'll snap it up, suggest you do the same. Nice label too, simple and striking design.

This new found avenue also looks like having benefits when my friends and I go on our annual Cornwall holiday next year as I'm sure that there is a cider producer nearby, a tour could be our boys day out sorted I think!!


  1. Fair play to you, I've never returned to cider since a similar misuse in my youth (an entire half crate of Strongbow at a house party; my teeth nearly fell out the next day, along with a chunk of my brain). I've heard good things about Gwatkins and Gwynt y Draig though and I know cider has a come long way since the days of either Strongbow or Blackthorn. Is Blackthorn still a thing? There's another black-and-cider connection for you.

  2. I wish I had got to the stage that the headache was induced by copious quantities but that wasn't even it!!!