Beds, Herts & Bucks

Buckinghamshire brewer wins national cider award

Virtual Orchard Cider
Image caption The cider was described as 'eminently drinkable'

A brewing company from Buckinghamshire has won a national award for its cider.

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, announced the winners of the National Cider and Perry Championships 2011 at the Reading Beer and Cider Festival.

Virtual Orchard from Wolverton, won the gold medal with its real cider, Hard Core.

The cider was described by the judges as 'a bold, flavoursome cider, eminently drinkable, with a balanced, dryish finish.'

The finals featured 24 ciders and 24 perries, from across the UK.

Laurence Conisbee, producer of Virtual Orchard cider, said he was delighted to win the national title.

"I've been trying to win this accolade for a few years now, and it's absolutely amazing to achieve this," he said.

"The cider is the result of a 2009 harvest, which is when I re-started cider making after first getting involved in production 15 years ago. This is a pleasing return to cider making."

'Attention to detail'

The entries were assessed on aroma, flavour, finish, and overall balance by a judging panel consisting of publicans, drinks writers and CAMRA members.

Andrea Briers, CAMRA National Cider and Perry Committee chair, praised the variety of this year's entrants.

"One of the things that struck me was the range of tastes and the strong attention to detail in the choice of apples.

"The competition this year was very tight and of a very high standard, and we are seeing an increased range of flavours, better blending, and all round choice on show each year," she said.

The medallists were:

Gold - Virtual Orchard, Hard Core from Wolverton, Buckinghamshire

Silver - Gwynt y Ddraig, Black Dragon from Llantwit Fardre, Glamorgan

Bronze - Hartland, Sweet from Tirley, Gloucestershire

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