Farmhouse now available!

In recent months we have been renovating the old farmhouse and it’s finally complete! It’s available for holiday lets on a short terms basis, minimum 2 nights and maximum 14 nights. It’s much nicer than when we lived in it; in fact, I considered moving back in but Andy didn’t seem too pleased. We now live in the converted barn right next door to the farmhouse so you’ve always got help on hand should anything go wrong.

The farmhouse has 3 double bedrooms (2 double and 1 kingsize), 2 bathrooms upstairs and a shower room downstairs, large living room with a wood burning stove, dining room and a big kitchen with an AGA which is on all winter. If you think you might like to stay on a cider farm for a little break, then check it out on Facebook or AirBnB and we’d be pleased to welcome you. Free cider tasting included!

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/6965828?guests=6&s=8ZUI4BWh

https://www.facebook.com/BlaengawneyFarm/

 

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Twitter competition terms and conditions

  • This competition is being run by Hallets Real Cider and is in no way associated with, endorsed, sponsored or administered by Twitter.
  • The competition is only open to people who meet all criteria: following our Twitter account and retweeting the competition tweet.
  • This competition is open to residents of the UK aged 18 years and over only. Proof of ID may be required.
  • The prize is one case of 12 x 500ml Hallets Real Cider bottles.
  • The winner will be drawn at random from all those who follow the Hallets Real Cider Twitter account and retweet the competition tweet before midnight on Sunday 15th December 2013. Entries received after that time will not be considered.
  • Hallets Real Cider will contact the winner via Twitter. If the winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours or doesn’t comply with these terms and conditions, Hallets Real Cider will select another entrant at random to offer the prize too.
  • The prize is non-transferable.
  • To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, Hallets Real Cider hereby disclaims any and all liability for loss, injury or damage (direct, indirect, consequential, incidental or special) arising out of or in connection with your entry into this competition or occurring to the winner(s) arising from their acceptance of a prize.
  • Hallets Real Cider shall have the right, at its sole discretion and at any time, to change or modify these terms and conditions, and such change shall be effective immediately upon posting to this webpage. Hallets Real Cider also reserves the right to cancel the competition if circumstances arise outside of its control.

The pears are ripe for the picking

What with the popularity of perry on the up, we at Hallets aim to give the people what they want. After the success of last year’s still perry placing first in the Welsh Championships and our Blakeney Red going well with the punters, next season will see a bottled sparkling version of Blakeney bring a bit of fizz to our collection.

But before we can all enjoy a nice cold glass of the bubbly stuff, we had to take to the rain-sodden pear orchards in Trellech, Monmouthshire to round up a few tonnes of fruit. Having decided we were going big on perry production this year, we assembled a crack team of adept pear pickers fully prepared to roll up their sleeves and get the job done in a oner.

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The team consisted of Andy, whose job it was to steer the picker (affectionately named Tittie, because it’s a Toothill Temperley apple picker, obvs) and, I’m guessing, to bark orders; Annie, whose job entailed picking up the pears at the foot of the trees where the picker couldn’t reach and, I’m guessing, to bark back; Rachel ‘Sack Handler’ Matthews, was in charge of holding open the sacks; Gavin ‘Tub Chucker’ Naish, who had the fairly taxing task of lugging all the heavy pear-filled tubs; and finally Gwilym ‘The Ginger Beard’ Pugh, who took to the panking pole like a seasoned professional.

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Persistent rain notwithstanding, the team got stuck in and worked together like a well oiled thingamabob. At one point Gwilym was seen purposefully removing his coat to get a better purchase on his panking-pole duties, Rachel was quoted as saying “sack holding is my favourite” and Gavin’s noticed his biceps have never looked so good. Apparently, “tickets to the gun show are selling out fast”.

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So we just wanted to say a big thank you to the best darn pear pickers this side of the border and that there will be a bottle of the new, sparkling, Blakeney Red waiting for each of them by next summer.

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Check out the website for info on how to order and keep visiting our Facebook page for all the up-to-date goings-on. Remember, you’re always welcome to pop along to our farm should you need a quick and easy cider re-stock.

After Abergavenny

First off we’d like to give a hearty Hallets’ thank you to all you merrymaking festival go-ers who came out to see us at the Abergavenny Food Festival this past weekend.

The sun was shining and the temperatures were up which made for perfect cider-swilling weather, and people wasted little time in capitalising on it. I don’t suppose you necessarily need an excuse to start drinking at 9.30 in the morning, but it’s nice when you’ve got one.

That was the time we sold our first pint on Saturday and we didn’t stop selling them until early evening. So thirsty were the Hallets patrons, our stock began dwindling in mid-afternoon as Andy was forced to make an emergency run back to the farm’s cold store

Even with a limited selection available people kept queuing and we were down to just one box of draught and a few bottles before Andy made it back in time. A cheer went up from the crowd and Annie sat down with a sigh.

Blindfold, again, was a hot pick with punters on both Saturday and Sunday, as was the limited edition, Rum Cask, that seems to be ever increasing in popularity since it became available earlier this year.

The entire event was a terrific success with all sorts of presentations, demonstrations and discussions being held throughout the weekend. A highlight of which was Pete Brown’s funny five-minute rant on ‘fruit cider’.

His argument was a justifiable one: there’s no fruit in them, and they’re not cider. A fair point, we thought. This is probably what makes their label of ‘fruit cider’ a little misleading and it’s definitely what makes their taste rank.

Pete’s advice to the folk listening was to instead try the good stuff on offer from the craft producers at the festival, kindly giving Blaengawney a very welcomed name drop (which I’m sure didn’t hurt our sales).

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Another big thanks to those who made it over to Abergavenny and if you think you didn’t quite buy enough, visit our website or come up and see us at the farm.

Abergavenny Food Festival

For two days in September the Monmouthshire market town, Abergavenny, lines its cobblestone lanes with hawkers and vendors selling the best in vanguard street fare and handmade craft booze.

3lmu2n74keAbergavenny Food Festival has remained committed to providing a platform for small-scale craft producers while steering well clear of any big-league commercial influences – a model example of what food festivals are all about, if you ask us.

Lovers of all things delicious flock from across the country to taste the wares of some of the UK’s most exclusive food and drink specialists, but there’s more going on than just scoffing pulled pork sandwiches and whipping the drinks in. Although, there is a lot of that, and we’re certainly not discouraging it. But, if you’d like to know a little more about, oh I don’t know…cider? Then check out Pete Brown’s and Bill Bradshaw’s tutored cider tasting session at 3.30pm on Saturday in Lion’s Place.

There’s an itinerary full of events like this running throughout the weekend. If you want to get the low down on artisanal produce, head over to the Q & A sessions with critics and writers. If you need tips for the kitchen, check out the cooking demos from top-flight chefs. And if you just have to discover what the best cracker-topping cheese and chutney combo is, there are food talks galore. You can also find out what the best cider to drink with it is (spoiler alert: it’s Hallets).

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The Hallets stall will be stationed in the Lower Brewery Yard from Saturday 21st to Sunday 22nd, and more than ready to serve you up some of your favourite handmade, taste-bud-tingling cider and perry. As well as the usual suspects, you’ll be able to try Hallets draught and two limited edition brews in the name of Rum Cask and Oak Conditioned. Failing that, you can always pop along to the Party at the Castle where we’ll have 20 boxes of Blindfold behind the bar. We like to make things easy for you.

See you all there.

Let the pressing begin

Look, we’ve all noticed it. The nights are drawing in. Mornings are that much more painful. And that summer break to Croatia seems like eons ago. But there’s a plus side, because it’s not only the temperatures that are dropping. So are the apples. Lots and lots of juicy cider-worthy apples falling in orchards up and down the country, marking the start of Autumn and another busy cider-pressing season.

TuthillWith the heavy summer schedule of events slowly petering out, attention at Blaengawney turns to next year’s yield. Even after the disastrous weather in 2012 resulting in a very modest apple supply, Andy managed to squeeze out over 30,000 litres by the end of winter last year. This September however, crops should be far less fallow.

Some of you may have already forgotten, but we actually had a fairly sunny summer this year. I definitely remember Ray Bans being involved at some point. And flip flops. Plus, although these showers we’ve been having recently have done nothing for our pre-winter blues, they’ve done wonders for the apples. Weeks of sunshine topped off with a hefty dose of dependable British rain is just the recipe for a bumper harvest and Blaegawney’s biggest yield yet.

beerfest 003With plenty of back-and-forth trips to the beautiful orchard-laden regions of Hay on Wye and Monmouthshire, and the imminent delivery of seven 5000-litre tanks next month, Andy is looking to produce 50,000 delicious litres of his famous fermented fruit juice by the year’s end. Meaning more pubs, restaurants and bistros will be stocked up with ample supplies of your favourite real cider in 2014 – just what you’ll be wanting to enjoy in next year’s sunshine. (We can’t promise there’ll be sunshine.)

Sunny cider weather!

It’s been a while…..but I thought I would write a bit more on how things are going at Blaengawney. Winter was pretty mild although we were snowed in for about a week at one point. Like everywhere else in Britain we have been having some sunny hot weather and this has resulted in a big increase in cider sales. Andy made around 30,000 litres last winter and we may well not have enough to last us till the next pressing season which starts in late September. The apple harvest is predicted to be a bumper this year so we are really hoping our young trees might bear enough fruit for the first time for us to make cider from. That will be a milestone and I’m really looking forward to tasting that particular blend.

Our barn conversion has come on a pace over the summer mainly because when Andy asked me what I would like for my 60th birthday at the end of July, I said “a party in the barn” thereby laying down a bit of a challenge! However, he did rise to it and last weekend we had a brilliant party in the barn…no furniture, but a beautiful empty barn. The next challenge is Christmas dinner in the barn! We could actually have dinner in there now as the kitchen is fully functioning, AGA an’ all, but we would have to sit round the rather gigantic island to eat it. I would prefer to have some stylish but massive dining table so all the family can come and enjoy a stunning building. Fair play to Andy there!

We had a great cider festival in Caldicot Castle in May with the Welsh Perry and Cider Society and we are hoping to hold it there again next year. For our own events, we are holding a cider, sausage and live music night this Friday 2nd August. So I’ll let you know how that goes. It will probably wrap up around Sunday afternoon…knowing Andy!