It’s been an interesting week in Britain, that’s for sure. While I usually refrain from talking much about politics on this forum, I’m greatly saddened by the vote to leave the European Union. While saying that Britain was a responsible and helpful member would be a stretch at the least, at least they were participating in making Europe a more unified place, even begrudgingly. Now that’s all coming to an end and leading into an uncertain future.
As a beer and travel enthusiast, the EU’s open borders and willingness to protect cultural items like Oude Gueuze has been directly beneficial to me. I’ve traveled all over Europe with relative ease by plane, train, and automobile. British cider country had been on my list for my near term travel goals. Now that’s all on hold. While it’ll still be easy for US tourists to travel to Britain, I’m personally loath to spend money in a country that is giving into its baser instincts. But it’s never an easy decision to make as it’s not 100% of the people, especially when you care about the an industry like I care about the cider industry.
The British cider industry is one that has suffered in the past as people turn to mass market cider-like products, ignoring their national heritage and its authentic, high-quality products. Now that the heritage cider makers of Britain are working to promote their segment of the market, they could have key EU protections and markets taken away from them. Small, family farming is never a terribly lucrative business and any small downturn can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Hopefully such a major disruption of markets and European unity won’t put the wonderful cider makers of England out of business.
Hecks Farmhouse Cider is one of those families that have been around and making cider for nearly 200 years. 6 generations of Hecks have been tending their orchards in the West Country of England. Recently, they’re found a new market to export their ciders to: the US. Hopefully access to the cider excited drinkers of America will help the various family orchards of England in these uncertain times.
Hecks Vintage Dry Cider is made in the traditional farmhouse style of England and is aged for over a year in wood. This is the 2013 edition.
Appearance: Tarnished gold, light haze.
Aroma: Dry apples, buttery, light caramel, light chemical/phenol/fermentation notes, dirty straw, pineapple.
Taste: Medium+ tannics, medium acidity, medium astringency.
Overall Impressions: They’re not kidding when they label this one dry! Its dryness levels are in line with the dryness you’d see from a Spanish sidra. Tannic and funky, Hecks Vintage Dry cider definitely has that rustic farmhouse character you’re looking for in a product like this. It’s flavorful, unique, and fun. If you come across this one in draft or in bottle, it’s definitely one you’ll want to experience and enjoy. It’s a great representative of English Farmhouse Cider.
CO2 Levels: Still
Geography: Somerset, England
Apples: A blend of traditional English cider apples.
Availability: Nationally where ciders from B. United International are sold.