It’s always nice to meet the makers of the products you enjoy. I got the chance to meet Neil Worley when he visited Portland, Oregon to attend the Cider Conference in 2016. He, along with some other British producers, were giving some seminars on English Cider. Neil’s ciders are recently new to the US, but then again, they’re recently new to the cider scene!
Neil started out as a hobbyist buying juice from a Somerset orchard. Soon Neil was buying and pressing whole apples. And like many hobbies run amok, he decided it was time to pay for his “hobby” by selling the excess of his production. Now Worley’s was a commercial cidery.
Worley’s Premium Vintage, as it’s currently labeled in the US, is a medium-dry cider produced from early harvest apples and fermented naturally with yeast on the skins of the apple. In the UK and points beyond, the label has been changed to the name “Red Hen.” Once the Premium Vintage is finished in the US, the bottles will reflect the name change to Red Hen. This bottle was from the 2013 vintage.
Appearance: Hazy copper/orange.
Aroma: Spicy, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple, floral undertones, a little earthy.
Taste: Medium tannin, medium acidity, medium astringency.
Overall Impression: Red Hen (Premium Vintage) is a nicely balanced cider with an excellent spicy character. It’s a classic English cider in its profile but not esoterically so. It’s an excellent introduction to English ciders without being a “dumbing down” of the character that British ciders are known for. It’s definitely one to seek out, especially since their importer recently lowered the pricing.
CO2 Levels: Light sparkle.
Geography: Somerset, England
Apples: Early ripening/harvest cider varieties.
Availability: In the US where Beverage Traders products are sold.
6.4% ABV Premium Vintage 2013
6.6% ABV Red Hen (newer vintages)