Back in early October, a small group from Sheffield & District CAMRA including festival cider bar managers Sarah & Hazel, festival equipment manager Rod Sprigg, Chairman Andy Cullen and a few others joined the apple pressing volunteers at Woodthorpe Hall.
The equipment set up is quite Heath Robinson. The process involves washing the apples and sorting out rotters, putting them in a chopping machine then the results from that is put in an old garden shredder that has been adapted into a scratting machine. The apple pulp that results is then pressed to obtain the juice that goes into the fermenting tanks.
There is currently just one Woodthorpe Hall cider – Owd Barker – at about 10.5% ABV although a sweetened version called Rubie Suzie is also sold. However come next year when this batch is ready, there will be a new lower strength version of Owd Barker – at about 5%, as one of the fermenting tanks this year will not receive any priming sugar. It is hoped this new more sensible version will be attractive to pubs in the area wanting to stock a local cider!
As well as working as volunteers, there was a social side of the day too, with a pub lunch at the Angel in Holmesfield, afternoon tea in Woodthorpe Hall’s garden, a few social drinks of cider in the evening and supper in the Hall’s dining room. We’d like to thank the Shepley’s for their hospitality.