happy hour friday: cider

What pops into your head when you see the word "cider"?

For me, knowing both the English and American versions of the stuff, it depends on the context.
American cider makes me think of fall, hot donuts, pumpkin picking and football games. English cider reminds me of farms, Southern England, blue skies and pubs.

English cider is very different from American cider in a couple of ways.

  • It's always alcoholic. There is no 'hard cider'--it's all hard. 
  • Some ciders are carbonated, some aren't. I haven't seen non-carbonated "hard" cider in the US--ours all seem to be carbonated.
  • Ciders are not all sweet. (Hard) ciders you purchase in America are almost all sickly sweet, like apple juice with alcohol. There's nothing wrong with that, but the English are very particular about their ciders. It's classified more like wine: dry and sweet. So you can try a dry cider that tastes like dirt and farm, or a sweet one that tastes like dirt and farm (farm is definitely a taste...). Or a dry one that tastes very apple-y, or a sweet one that tastes very apple-y. There is a lot of variance within this one category, where in America they all taste pretty much the same unless they have some other flavor added, in which case they taste like that flavor. And they're still quite sweet.
NOTE: Apparently, according to Wikipedia, there are big differences between West Country ciders and the ciders produced in the eastern Kent and East Anglia region. I seem to have been trying most of the West Country ones, also known as "scrumpy".

I found out these differences among drinks when I visited Middle Farm in May of last year. Located between Lewes and Polegate, Middle Farm is near the South coast of England. It is not only a huge variety of cider and perry (pear cider) of which you can fill your own jug, but also has farm animals, a shop packed to the brim with local produce and food, and a little restaurant.
It is absolutely tons of fun. I've never been anywhere like it!
However, I literally never expected my cider to taste the way it did. Earthy, dry, harsh, barnyardy...by "barnyardy" (which is my own adjective, as you can probably tell), I mean it tastes just like a barnyard smells. Same goes for "farm taste", which I used above. I've had this same experience with cheese before. It's really strange, but you'll know it when you taste it.

I don't remember trying any ciders that were as sweet as American ciders. That goes to show you the vast difference between American and English ciders.
Anyway, here are a few pics from my trip!

Jersey cows!

Chickens with fluffy feet?!

England in a glass!

They carry over 100 types of cider and perry, all of which you can try before purchasing. 

My favorite of the lot!

I highly, highly recommend visiting Middle Farm if you're ever down by Brighton or Eastbourne (even though it's a bit of a drive). It's a very cool experience, and is about as English as it gets :)

Hope you enjoyed this different rendition of Happy Hour Fridays! Have a great weekend! x



  1. very interesting post! I'm from the UK and really only tend to go for dry cider (sweet is too sickly) but I love fruit cider like Jacques and Kopperberg mixed berry or strawberry (it tastes like ribena.. or blackcurrent because maybe ribena is just an english thing??).. do you get them over in the UK.. I think kopperberg is swedish and no idea about jacques!

    thanks for your lovely comment too! it's nice to know there are so many good people out there and I've had quite a few nice messages from that post in all kind of different forms and from some people I wasn't expecting!



    1. Haha I love Ribena! I don't think I've had any of the fruit ciders before--I will have to try them the next time I'm in the UK!

      I'm glad to comment--it's unfortunate to have the rude people out there, but it seems like for the most part the blogging world is overwhelmingly positive. That's one of the things I love most about it! You have a wonderful blog and I always enjoy reading it--keep up the good work! x

    2. Hi...Im from the US and was looking for a cider like Jacques over here and ran across your blog. Was wondering if you knew of any cider over here thst has around the same taste as Jacques..would love to find some!

  2. love the pictures!super fun!!!