Earlier this year, celebrity chef Marco Pierre White introduced his own branded beer “The Governor”, in conjunction with Middleton brewers J. W. Lees. Now, I’m no fan of his, but I suppose this must be praised as an effort to give beer more class and less of a downmarket image. However, having sampled it in both bottled and cask forms, I have to say it comes across as just another underwhelming brown beer from Lees.
Marco has now collaborated with Herefordshire cidermaker Weston’s to produce a “Governor” cider. It’s 4.8% ABV and retails in Morrison’s at £1.75 for a 500ml bottle, or 4 for £5.50. It is pale in colour with a slight greenish tinge. There’s a small amount of sediment which produces a moderately hazy appearance, although much less than Westons’ Old Rosie. It has a fresh, quite sharp taste, that probably qualifies as “medium-dry”. It only has a slight hint of carbonation and overall is probably the best bottled approximation to a traditional draught cider I’ve come across. As described here, the intention is to reproduce the characteristics of Old Rosie at a more moderate strength, which I would say they have succeeded in doing. I spotted the similarity before reading that article. However, as it is well-nigh still and a touch hazy, it might not appeal to those who are more used to Magners and Stella “Cidre”.
While I do enjoy the occasional bottle of “craft” cider, I’ve never really tried to review any on here as I lack the tasting vocabulary to describe them adequately. However, I recently sampled Hereford’s Pilgrim, which took my eye as it promises to donate 10p to Help for Heroes for each bottle sold. The company are rather coy about where it’s actually made, although the postcode links it to an industrial estate in Ledbury. However, even though it is supporting a good cause, I thought it was pretty unpleasant, with a dominant perfumey off-flavour. I won’t be trying that again.