Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Community Booze: Hawkes Urban Orchard Cider

Remember Lucienne told you about Hawkes' Alcoholic Ginger Beer last year? It was a bit of a hit amongst the Vinspire team, especially in the fruity, gingery cocktail recipes they sent us, so I was excited to hear about their latest release.

Introducing... Hawkes Urban Orchard Cider.

It's the company's first foray into cider making, and is more than your average bottle of boozy, appley goodness (although it is certainly that).

As well as culinary apples, the cider is made using apples grown in urban orchards as well as some donated by communities and individuals in urban areas who want to put their apples to good use.

I've lost track of the amount of times friends of mine have practically begged me to take some more of their homegrown apples because they've got too many and they're rotting and going to waste. So naturally I can see how a community-based cider like this is a good idea!

This is especially true when you factor in the fact that Hawkes' aims to give 10% of its profits to urban community groups and projects that help make life better for lots of people.

Those Hawkes folks certainly sound like nice people, so I was even more impressed to read founder Simon Wright's explanation as to why their work with urban orchards is so important:

“The urban orchards where these apples have been sourced, play a key role in the communities that they exist, providing not only a food source but also an outlet for education and rehabilitation. We want to work with these community groups and individuals to put to good use some of the apples that they grow, in turn, creating a network of orchards that reap the rewards when we sell our cider."

Social responsibility and tasty cider - it's a win-win, right? But just how tasty is the cider? They sent me a couple of bottles to try.

Tasting notes

What arrived was a very pleasant surprise - not a 'fizzy apple juice' type cider, like many of the ones in the supermarkets, but a round, complex cider with delicious, lightly stewed apple flavours and a lovely depth and length thanks to the Champagne yeast used in its production. It's medium-dry, and not sickly at all, and the round touch of sweetness is wonderfully balanced with the rich texture and body.

They said their inspiration for the taste was the apples sold on the streets of Victorian London, and there's certainly an air of history and a traditional character about it, but it's been executed in a very on-trend way.

I'd recommend sipping it as the sun goes down on a Sunday afternoon (like I did), but it's also very food-friendly, and would be a glorious match for pork belly or a light chicken stew.

You can buy Hawkes Urban Orchard Cider at Beer Merchants for £1.90 per bottle - and it's coming to a supermarket near you soon!

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