In 2014 I set out to the West Country in search of real cider. He drank some great ciders and met some lovely folks, including the Skimmity Hitchers, a Bristol-based Scrumpy and Western band. In 2016 Cider Riot! hosted the Skimmity Hitchers in Portland in what’s now our production facility to 300 people as the grand finale of Cidercon. I was their driver and roadie on their tour of Cascadia with dates in Corvallis, Eugene, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC where they played for 700 people at a packed house at the Rickshaw Theatre with the Dreadnoughts.
When Kev from the Skimmity Hitchers told me I had to get over Easter Weekend and I found a plane ticket for $666 I thought I had to be a sign. So here be I in the West Country. The Skimmity’s had arranged some great cidery events for me which I’ll share with you here.
The first stop was Cranborne Chase Cider in Dorset. When I visited the farm in 2014 I met Badger Meaden who showed us around and made me most welcome. In 2016 his son Bill, the cidermaker who also brews at Sixpenny Handley brewery, accompanied the Skimmitys on the tour along with cidermaker Charlie Harris of Talbot Harris cider. Bill even brought along a bag in the box of his cider to the Portland gig.
I was very excited to join the Skimmitys for their gig at the Meaden’s farm. Cranborne Chase was originally a royal hunting preserve, as a result it abounds in large expansive green fields, it looks similar to Yamhill County with more hedgerows, and less vineyards. In the following posts I’ll take you on a tour of the West Country originating there.