Frequently Asked Scrumpy Questions
This is my little space on the web devoted to scrumpy cider. It is my intention to inform people of the various qualities and characteristics of currently available "scrumpy" ciders. As my site grows, I hope to add more info on our favourite drink! Some of you out there may feel that some of the cider mentioned here may not be the real thing. Well, what constitutes the genuine article is open to arguement. I`ve written a short piece below describing some of the traits of "real" cider...but for a really good description, check out the APPLE site listed in the links section. Im not gonna be too fussy over what gets reviewed and what doesnt. If it is marketed as a scrumpy, then I will review it here and let you all know whether it lives up to expectations. Some real hardened cider drinkers may even feel that virtually none of the drinks covered here are the real deal! I`m not going to argue though....have you ever had to fight off a bloke filled to the gills with 8 pints of rough? It aint a nice thought!
Why write about scrumpy cider?
Because it`s luvverly! I really can`t stand beer, wine isnt much better, vodka and the like..forget it! Zider will always be where my spirits lie! It is a drink I particularly enjoy and am most passionate about! True, there are some good cider-related websites around..but none have so far reviewed, rated or held research into the qualities of individual brands. This is my world, and here is my space to waffle about what I enjoy or hate about a particular brew.
What on earth is this "scrumpy" stuff anyway?
Scrumpy is the name given to an alcoholic beverage produced from apples. Unlike in the U.S, in England, any drink labelled "cider" is guaranteed to contain alcohol. Scrumpy cider is cider at its best. Free from sweeteners or artificial additives of any kind and essentially...fermented apple juice with nothing added and nothing taken away. Mmmmmmmmm! There are different ideas for exactly what constitutes a "scrumpy" cider, and in some ways the term is vague. In my own opinion, here are some following traits of what might be considered the genuine article:
1 - Still. A decent scrumpy will not have as much fizz as a commercialised, modern cider. The real thing is often almost completely still.
2 - Cloudiness. One of the best ways to get an idea if it is real "rough" cider is to look through the bottle/glass. The thicker and murkier, the better! I must admit I prefer scrumpys which are cloudy and thick. It is common to find scrumpys which have been filtered, resulting in a clearer texture. This is down to the individual methods of the cider maker. Some would argue that it HAS to be thick and unfiltered to be a true scrumpy.
3 - Sediment. Have a look in the bottom of the bottle if you can. If there is an ample amount of sedement, you could be onto a good `un! Sediment that has sunken to the bottom of a bottle/glass is a good indication that the scrumpy was made using traditional methods. This character trait of a good cider, of course goes hand-in-hand directly with number 2, above.
4 - Somerset. The south west of England is proudly the cider capital of the world and rightly so. No more so is this true than in the county of Somerset. Real cider is not as easily available as it once was, but today Somerset still seems to be the land of scrump. Most of the best cider in the world comes from here, even though small producers in Devon make just as many or more excellent ciders...
So to sum up...scrumpy is real cider usually made in Somerset the good old fashioned way. It is far superior to the horribly awful modern brands sadly overflowing our pubs and supermarket shelves today. Remember...for a more accurate description of real cider..check out the APPLE link!
Where can I get hold of some scrumpy! I`m cravin a pint of the rough stuff!
Sadly, this is not an easy question to answer. If you live outside of the west country, your choices are probably going to be limited. Sometimes you will find quality cider on the shelves of supermarkets etc...or in the pub. However if you really love the stuff, a good option is to order it directly from the producer. Check the links page to find a small number of producers who will be able to mail order you zum scrumpy. I`ve had positive mail order results from both Thatchers and Westons, to name only two.
My friends think I`m crazy and should drink beer instead of scrumpy! What can I do?!
Fear not my friend. It is a sad fact that not many folk these days appreciate a drop of the "real" thing. Quite frankly, I think beer is rather yucky. You aint alone though! Just sip yer cider with the smug satisfaction that yer mates don`t know what they`re missin!
What the hell is "Scrumpy and Western" music??!
It is music to accompany the drinking of scrumpy! As it is the west country where true cider originates, it is no coincidence that the worlds most famous scrumpy and western band:"Adge Cutler and The Wurzels" (known since Adge`s tragic death in 1974, simply as "The Wurzels") originate from this part of the world also. Like a combination of country/folk music, fused with too much scrumpy...it is still the classic choice when having a few pints o` scrump`. Classic songs include "Drink Up Thy Zider", "I Am A Cider Drinker", "I`d Love To Swim In The Zuider Zea" etc! I won`t start to ramble on about the delights of scrumpy n western and The Wurzels.... as there are some fantastic links to find out more about them on my links page!
Bern, you are stark raving bonkers! Do you have an e-mail address?
If you are a real cider producer and would like me to review your products, or just wanna get in touch about anything scrumpified....feel free to drop me a line at:
I can`t promise to reply to all letters received, but all friendly correspondance is welcome.