The Brewing Shed

The quest for the Holy Cider

For most small-scale ciderists, the apple pressing season is in full swing, but we’ve been a bit late to the party this year… partly down to being caught out by an early ripening apple season, and partly down to the scarcity of fruit in the usual orchards from which we scrump.

Things were looking grim for the Thirsty Gardeners’ cider stocks – the very thought of cider rationing had Nick’s bottom lip all a quiver. This was an unpresidented, unacceptable situation, so we desperately turned to our old friend Mr Google Map and his (ever so slightly invasive) satellite facility… using it to scour the countryside for telltale grids of trees that might denote an orchard or two.

Having located a few potential sites, we fired off a few letters to the houses we thought had ownership, and lo, it came to pass that someone doth phoned us up and invited us around to the grounds of their 13th century priory (!!!) to pick from the surrounding orchard. This was undoubtably a divine intervention… Praise The Lord!

We swiftly donned our waterproof cassocks, and despite scrumping during biblical weather conditions, managed to bag a decent sized haul, consisting of a mixture of six or seven varieties of cooking, eating and cider apples – perfect for us to create a magnificent, monastic, cidery booze.

Here’s hoping next year’s cider is heavenly, and not God awful.

Hallelujah to that!


Three sacrosanct boozes, brewed by holy hands

Chapter: Carthusian
A holy order of over 130 plants and herbs go in to making this pungent, vegetable liqueur. Made at the Grande Chartreuse in France by two monks who are the only holders of the secret recipe at any given time. Like a pious, liquified Kentucky fried chicken.

Ampleforth Abbey beer
Chapter: Benedictine.
Brewed for Yorkshire monks by Dutch brewer Wim van der Spek, who has extensively researched Trappist recipes and techniques in Belgium and the Nederlands.
It’s double fermented in the Trappist tradition using a Rochefort monastery yeast culture.

Buckfast tonic wine
Chapter: Benedictine
Originally a ‘tonic wine’, sold in small, medicinal quantities by well meaning monks. Sadly hijacked and misused by delinquents and ne’er do wells, this notorious fighting fuel is blamed for much social mayhem north of the border. It contains more caffeine than Redbull, and at 15% abv, it’s not called “wreck the hoose juice” for nothing.

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