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Sweet cider a stone’s throw away

Known as one of Australia’s premium orchard growing regions, the Hawkesbury is producing some of the best cider in the country. Bilpin Cider Co. is just one of the many local brewers crafting delicious ciders thanks to the Hawkesbury’s mountain elevation, cool climate and fertile soil.

With more than 25 years’ experience in the brewing game, Sean Prendergast founded Bilpin Cider Co. in 2011 before establishing the Cellar Door in late 2015 — now open seven days a week.

Sean said one of the nice things about cider is that the brewing process is fairly simple and very similar to making wine.

“We pick local fruit and crush it as we need it to produce the right quantity of juice,” he said.

“The juice is poured into a tank to ferment and then we ‘pitch’ a little bit of yeast into it which initiates the ferment. (Pitching is a brewer’s term for adding the yeast to the fermenter.) The sugar in the fruit is what converts the juice into alcohol, exactly the same as wine.

“We use local Pink Lady, Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples for our range of five alcoholic and one non-alcoholic cider varieties.”

Born with a sweet tooth, Sean said his favourite cider of the bunch is the Bilpin Blush, which delivers a refreshing sweetness in the front palate and a crisp, clean taste in the back palate, as if you’re biting into a Pink Lady apple. The best part is there’s no added sugars or concentrates to achieve that sweetness — it’s simply the freshly crushed fruit doing its natural thing.

When you take a trip to the Cellar Door, you’ll be treated to a tasting across the entire Bilpin Cider Co. range. You can wander through the farm and orchard where you’ll be met by alpacas, sheep and lambs. Come September, delicious hampers will be on offer to enjoy at the picnic site, alongside your choice of cider.

To whet your whistle, Redbank residents will receive 10 per cent off the cider range at the Bilpin Cider Co. Cellar Door when they present this edition of the newsletter!

Bilpin Cider is also stocked at all good bottle shops, including Liquorland in North Richmond and Dan Murphy’s in Richmond.

For more information, visit the website www.bilpincider.com, or take a drive out to the Cellar Door at 2369 Bells Line of Road in Bilpin.