Cider and perry lovers rejoice: the Campaign for Real Ale has scoured the length and breadth of the nation to find the best out there so you don't have to. After more than a year of local tasting panels and regional heats (good job, if you can get it), the National Cider and Perry Championships named the top of the crop at the Reading Beer and Cider Festival.
Countryman, Medium was a big winner, taking home the Gold in the cider category after impressing judges with its floral aroma, pleasant sharpness and refreshing taste.
Nempnett, Piglet’s Perry scooped Gold in the perry category, with judges remarking that it had a well-balanced sweet taste with a dry finish.
'The competition has shown that the quality of the real cider and perry continues to improve, and also demonstrates the standard of cider and perry being produced throughout Britain,' Andrea Briers, CAMRA National Cider and Perry Committee chairman, said.
To be in with a chance to win, each cider and perry had to impress judges with its individual taste, aroma, flavour, after-taste and overall appeal. To make a refreshing change, both experienced and novice judges were selected to dish out the top awards.
Speaking after the big win, Keith Balch of Nempnett said: 'We’re delighted to hear that we’ve won Gold, it’s absolutely brilliant. This is the big award that everyone wants to win.'
More than 550 beers and 150 ciders and perries, plus a selection of foreign beers, wines and mead were on offer at the Reading Beer and Cider Festival held at Christchurch Meadows in Caversham.
Gold – Countryman, Medium (Devon)
Silver – Salt Hill, Autumn Gold (Berkshire)
Bronze – Gwatkin’s, Captain Gwatkin’s Rum Cask (Herefordshire)
Gold – Nempnett, Piglet’s Perry (Somerset)
Silver - Waulkmill, Mooseheid Perry (Dumfrieshire)
Bronze – Hartland, Perry (Gloucestershire)