Thursday, 29 April 2010

Fresh young thing...

2 Bees has landed

We were offered quite a few Jonagold apples last year and as these are dessert apples, I was not sure what to do with them. Jonagolds are an American-bred apple from the 1940's, produced by cross-pollinating Jonathan apples with Golden Delicious... hence the name. The fact that Golden Delicious apples were part of the Jonagold parenthood, did not endear them to me! However, after consulting with the good and  knowledgeable folks on The Cider Workshop the news came from some folks "across the pond" in the US of A that Jonagolds make a perfectly good cider. So the idea of fermenting them separately and seeing if they were suitable as a single-variety cider germinated.

After careful racking and blending of the various containers of Jonagold cider, I was very pleasantly surprised by the results and so we decided that it was worth the gamble in offering this cider as a Single Variety. Now we are not claiming that this is a "vintage" cider - but it is light, refreshing and crisp. Dessert apples are often higher in acidity than the traditional cider-apples like bittersweets such as Dabinett or Yarlington Mill, but the Jonagolds seem just fine: slightly sharp, but no more than many a West Country cider I have tasted. It is also much hazier than I am used to, with a fine pale burnt-orange colour; whether the haze and colour will last as it matures, I'm not sure. However, after years of making clear ciders without trying, we are quite amused to have produced a hazy one. Hopefully this will also please the die-hards who claim that it can't be a "proper" cider unless it is cloudy... Hmmm - I'll pass on that one! At present it is slightly sweet, sort of off-dry rather than dry, and has an ABV of about 8.4% - this is a reflection of the naturally high sugar-levels of Jonagold apples, as we do not add any sugars to our ciders, they are fermented from pure fresh-pressed apple juice. At the moment it looks as if "2 Bees" first public appearance will be at the 15th Newark CAMRA Beer Festival 28th-30th May, 2010 - a Nottinghamshire debut for a Nottinghamshire cider: very apt.

By the way, the name for this cider came before the cider... I wanted to name one of our ciders in celebration of the fact that Gail and I got married in 2009, and as we both now have the same surname beginning with "B" so calling it "Two B's" - or "2 Bees" - seemed natural. I've always had a fondness for Bumble Bees so the image for the label popped into my head almost instantaneously - with a little artistic licence of course.

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