Trying Ciders


Devon is known for its apple ciders. Its environment is conducive for apple seeds and the county has many craft cidermaking companies with a variety of different flavors and benefits. We wanted to put them to the test and try as many as we can to see which are the best ciders that Devon has to offer.


Ashcombe Estate Orchards

Ashcombe Estate Orchards began making cider over 100 years ago, when the White family began brewing cider. Today, they are a family run orchard that produces small batches of cider. We purchased these at the farmer's market on the University of Exeter campus, as Ashcombe often sells their wares in small markets in Devon.

  • Ashcombe Original Medium Dry Cider - At 4.5% ABV, this is not a very alcoholic cider. But what it lacks in booze it more than makes up for in its strong, sour flavor. It's a divisive taste — as those who like a sharp flavor will enjoy it for its musty palette. But those who prefer dryer, milder ciders may find this hard to swallow. It has a light cloudy color with a slight grassy scent.
  • Ashcombe Medium Dry Sparkling Cider - This is like apple champagne and truly an other wordly experience. It's amber in color, but clear in texture. At 5.5% ABV it's not for the faint of heart. But those who try it will enjoy a balanced, bubbly bev.
  • Ashcombe Whites Original - The bottle cap featured a glinting gold sticker that this had recieved GOLD in the "TASTE OF THE WEST,"  which awards prizes to food and drink in South West England. It's a very nice, very sweet cider. Some may find it too cloying, but its sweet flavor counter acts the usual bitterness of cider. It may benefit from a little more carbination to round out its saccharine taste.


Green Valley

Green Valley Cyder, based in Clyst St. George near Topsham, has been a craftmaker since 1989 and is owned by Nick Pring and Chris Coles. Green Valley produces ciders, ales, liquors, and juices.

  • Green Valley Dry Cyder - This cider has a light to medium yellowish color. The flavor is refreshingly sour and crisp. The malt taste is not particularly strong in this one, which allows the sour taste of the green apple to dominate the palatte. However, it can err on the side of too sweet, like a liquid Green Apple Laffy taffy. If you like a tart, biting, and dry flavor to your cider, this may be for you.
  • St. George's Temptation - The name itself evokes the patron saint of England and its packaging features caricature of the eponymous saint. The flavor is just as bold as its name would suggest. This is a cider that desperately wants to be a beer, but can't help that it was made by fruit. It lacks the kind of underlying sweetness found in some other ciders, instead opting for powerful punch of flavor.

Sandford Orchards

Sandford Orchards is based in Crediton, Devon, and specializes in a wide variety of products. Their orchard has apples, as well as berries and pears, which are used for their products. Sandford also produces spiced cider, juices, and proper Devon Scrumpy

  • Devon Mist - The name mist is perfect for this light, easygoing cider. It contains 4.5% ABV, but it feels substantially less, as the taste is well balanced and mild. It tastes like an old friend, comfortable and familiar. It is sparkling and very obviously so, but it could easly be consumed flat without a loss of its taste. 
  • Devon Red - This cider comes with a red sticker reading "Proper Cider" on the neck of the bottle, which could possibly set the cider up for failure, as it almost begs its drinker to question whether the taste is "proper" or not. However, Devon Red manages to be a strong and good cider. It is a deep amber cider with a sweet apple taste, from the red apples in its name. It lacks in a malt flavor, making it closer to an artificially sweetened apple juice targeted at children in terms of flavor. A nice all-rounder. 
  • Shaky Bridge - At 6% ABV, Shaky Bridge should have more flavor than it does. It's a light yellow shade with a hit of bubbles in it. However, the experience of drinking it is rather underwhelming. It's not particuarly sweet or tart or sour or dry or anything of great note. While not undrinkable, this cider lacks a personality.
  • Bumbleberry - This was a come-from-behind favorite. Many fruit ciders (this one is branded as "summer fruits) come off too sweet in contrast with the dryness often associated with apple cider. Bumbleberry, however, manages to make the best of the sweet fruit taste without making it cloying. It's fresh, not too dry, and ultimatley a pleasant drink. 

Miscellaneous Ciders

Just a few more favorite ciders that we enjoyed.

  • Gray's Sweet Devon Cider: It tastes very sweet and very appley — more like an apple candy than a cider. But it also leaves a weird musty film in your mouth that you can't quite shake  It's also more alcoholic than most of the ciders on this list, coming in at a solid 6.5%. This tastes like if you left the sweet sparkling apple juice that you serve to children on new year's eve inside the basement of a nursing home. It's an odd taste that will not be for all