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Home-brewed Cider Competition

by David Lyons – 12th January 2014
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The second Haddenham Cider competition was held on Saturday 11th January at St Mary's Centre, as part of the Haddenham in Transition Low Carbon Party. Following the launch of this year's competition in October there has been much speculation in the village as to who would enter and who would win.

Blind tasting was carried out by the judges who agreed that all the ciders were of good quality and there was a wide variety of styles and flavours.

Margot Hodson, Vicar of Haddenham and leader of the judging panel said that they were considerably better than the bland industrial ciders and were comparable to good craft ciders you can find in Somerset and Herefordshire.

Another of the judges, Michael Whitney, confirmed that it was the best job he had had all year!

The third judge, Brian Harper from Transition Malvern was surprised to find so much cider was being made in Buckinghamshire and that it was to such a high standard. A scientist and engineer in the fields of thermal imaging and gas lighting, Brian continued his scientific analysis of the competing samples long after the other judges were appreciating the combined delights of the competitor offerings!

The Results

Winner and holder of the Haddenham Cider Competition Wassail Cup for 2014: Dave Watkins his brew 'HappyL', made with apples from his garden at Fort End. The judges agreed unanimously that it was a strong distinctive cider that was more appropriate to enjoy occasionally with friends, rather than with a meal. Dave said he was looking forward to showing the Wassail cup to his daughter who had 'poo pooed' his efforts!

Second Prize: Richard Moore with his cider 'Railway Embankment' made with apples from near the railway station. This slightly cloudy cider with a strong attack had a sharp taste and good finish. Richard was very pleased with this award and vowed to return next year for the first prize!

Two joint third prizes were awarded to Greg Smith and David Lyons for their offerings 'The Gables' and 'Resilient Rat' respectively. Highly commended was awarded to a number of other entries including 'Exploded Diaper' from Luke Chowns and 'Lillie's Summer Delight' from his sister.

Organisers of the Haddenham Cider Competition are very grateful to the Haddenham Beer Festival for sponsoring the Wassail Cup trophy and to Beth Lang for providing the certificates.

Last autumn was a bumper harvest for apples and many people were been inspired to borrow the Haddenham village apple press or use it at the Homemade in Haddenham festival. With ambition already rising for the Wassail cup at the next competition in 2015, let's hope that next autumn yields a good harvest to enable another strong competition.

This year's winner, Dave Watkins, refused to say whether he would be offering his services a judge next January or competing once again to keep his place at the top of the league!

Full scores:

Dave Watkins HappyL 1st Prize
Richard Moore Temptation 2nd Place
Greg Smith The Gables Joint 3rd
David Lyons Resilient Rat Joint 3rd
Lillie Chowns Lillie's Summer Delight Highly Commended
Luke Chowns Diaper Explosion Highly Commended
Tim Shaw Tim's Cider Highly Commended
Lindsey Poole Connie's Highly Commended

For more photographs, please see our GALLERIES

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