Real cider has been making a comeback in recent years supported by CAMRA and a general awareness that the real stuff has life and really tastes of apples.
The Robin Hood & Little John in Arnold, Nottingham, has been named the best place in the UK to drink Real Cider by CAMRA. The pub has a long history dating back to 1750, but closed down in 2013 before having new life breathed into it in August 2014 through a partnership between Nottinghamshire’s Lincoln Green Brewery and Leicestershire’s Everards Brewery, under the management of Anthony Hughes and Lorraine Swain.
Since its reopening the pub has won the Nottingham CAMRA Cider Pub and Nottingham CAMRA Pub of the Year 2015 as well as being named the East Midlands Pub and East Midlands Cider Pub of the Year.
The pub has become famous for its ‘real cider’ which is made from pure fruits with no additives or chemicals and served naturally still, unlike commercially produced cider which is force-carbonated to give it fizz. Real perry is produced in exactly the same way as real cider but with pear juice instead of apple juice. The cider makers follow CAMRA’s definition; pure fruits, vegetables, honey, hops, herbs and spices, and no added concentrates, cordials or essences.
Sarah Newson, the organiser of the Cider Pub of the Year competition had this to say about The Robin Hood & Little John, “This is an amazing achievement for a pub that not only just re-opened last year, but had never even been in the competition before. A great feature is its ‘cider wall’ which enables the cider and perry to be served at a consistent cellar temperature, providing the customer with an excellent drinking experience.”
The pub’s cider wall features eight ciders and perries which are always from smaller producers rather than big brands. Anthony Hughes added, “We aim to ensure that our customers understand the provenance of our ciders, and what it contains with informative articles in our table top menus.”
CAMRA voted at their last AGM in Nottingham to widen the definition of real cider to include versions produced with natural added fruits and spices, such as the popular ‘Blush’ ciders which have raspberries added after fermentation giving both a unique flavour and colour to the cider.