Simon's Cider

It's all in the apples!

I started making cider 4 years ago as a bit of an experiment. Using a hired press, not the smallest in the world but very close, I spent 3 days crushing and pressing apples to make about 80 pints of cider. I’ve not moved a long way in some terms but in 2014, with a bit of new equipment, I have launched myself as a producer of ‘real cider’ and have made 1400 pints (800lt). And to be honest it would just be greedy of me to keep it all to myself.

How I make it

What I make is a traditional East Anglian Real Cider using dessert and culinary fruit from gardens and orchards as local to me as possible. How I do it is deceptively simple.

  • Take good quality clean fruit. (You don’t want to be putting rotten apples or sheep poo in your cider, it just ain’t right)
  • Wash the fruit thoroughly in clean water. (This gets rid of the bird doings and other bits of muck)
  • Mill the apples to a pulp. (You can use a bucket and a stick but it gets tiring)
  • Squeeze the lovely juice out of em.

It’s as simple as that, I add a tiny amount of sulphite to keep down any low lying bacteria that might have got through the wash, while the wild yeast from the apple’s skin gets going and it gets left alone for the cider fairies to do their bit.

There’s a bit more science stuff and faffing about I do as well but that’s a bit boring.

Real Cider

Cider apples on the groundThe cider and perry I make are ‘Real’. That isn’t an existential statement about whether they exist or not, it means that I use 100% pressed apple or pear juice and turn it into cider or perry.

I add a smidge of sulphite for hygiene but nothing else, not concentrated apple juice, not hedgerow berries nor elderflower cordial or even strawberries. The pure juice is fermented for around 6 months until all that icky sugar has been turned into alcohol. That my friends is ‘Real Cider’.

Why do I do it?

My main work is as a fencer (no, not ‘on guard’) and I’ve seen so many gardens where apples are just left to rot where they fall. I love growing my own food, making jams and pickles and wine, I’ve got chickens in the garden and bees on my allotment. Cider making is a natural extension to the many, many other things I do. Plus it uses a fantastic product to make an even more fantastic product.

Simon's Cider and Perry

Simon's Cider

Simon's Cider

A true East Anglian real cider, it's slightly cloudy with a sharp beginning that 'makes your ears laugh' and a fruity finish. Wonderfully refreshing on its own but even better with a pork pie.

 

Simon's Perry

Simon's Perry

Naturally cloudy with a hint of fizz. Slightly tart with enough tannin to tease the edges of your tongue and a delightful residual sweetness. This is a limited press of 100lt from only four trees.

 

News

42nd Cambridge Beer Festival

"This must be Thursday' said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. 'I never could get the hang of Thursdays." - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Advertising poster for 42nd Cambridge Beer FestivalDon't Panic! Simon's Cider will be making its Worldwide debut at the 42nd Cambridge Beer Festival and not just on Thursday. #CBF42

 

Apples wanted

When I moved to Cambridgeshire in 1985 I worked as a plant operator keeping drainage ditches clear around local farms. At that time this area was still heavily planted with fruiting orchards and many's the time I'd fill a carrier bag full of plums or apples from trees near where I was working. A lot of those orchards are gone now but little pockets of trees still exist, some are in field margins and some in the gardens of newer developments and of course there are masses of fruit trees in older gardens.

Sacks of apples for making ciderIf you have apples of any varieties that you don't use please get in touch via the contact form. If you just have one or two trees I can drop off net bags for you to fill with your apples which you can either drop off to me or I can collect. If you have several trees or an orchard please get in touch and we can discuss the best way for me to get your apples.

And the best bit is you get fresh juice or cider back in return. When I get the apples, they'll get cleaned sorted and weighed and you'll get a percentage back of the average juice yield in fresh juice or cider when it's ready.

What I do want

Quite simply apples and pears of any variety, if you know what they are, all the better. I have a particular love of Russets AND they make a wonderful cider.

What I don't want

Basically if you wouldn't stick it in your mouth I won't want to stick it in cider. Scabby apples are fine as are recent windfalls with a few bruises.

I really don't want anything that's mushy and black. Please also bear in mind that if they are going to be sitting in bags for a few days one bad apple can ruin the rest and I can only give you back what I'm able to press.

Contact Me

If you'd like to buy Simon's Cider or Perry or have a supply of apples in need of a good home, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to get in touch using the form below