Thistly’s 2018 APPLE APPEAL (*now closed*)

**APPLE EXCHANGE CLOSES ON 25TH NOVEMBER 2018**

Apples to Thistly’s drop-off point, 7 days (10am-4pm, avoid lunchtime please):
Belhaven Smokehouse,
Thistly Cross Roundabout (just off the A1),
Dunbar, EH42 1ST

Scotland’s Original cider-maker Thistly Cross has announced its 2018 Apple Exchange, seeking to rediscover any overlooked, abandoned or neglected local Northern apple trees to put their fruit to good use. What’s more, they’ll swap those apple donations for apple cider in its BRAND NEW 330ml 5% cans ‘straight from the Cidershed’ (7kg of apples for a can), and larger amounts of apples can be exchanged for our 5 Litre cider-boxes.

And to celebrate Eyeball Brewing’s new premises at the Thistly Cross site, there will also be the chance for some lucky beer-lovers to swap their apples for a taste of Eyeball Lager, on a first come, first served basis!

One of the things that make Thistly Cross Cider so unique is its blend of Scottish heritage apples, hand-pressed at their Cidershed in the heart of East Lothian continuing a proud tradition of using apples grown across the country from a wide range of sources, including local schools, professional apple growers, estate and farm owners and the general public. In previous years, the ‘Bucket for a Bottle’ scheme has resulted in hundreds of tonnes of apples, and Thistly would love to top that with this year’s #apples4cider campaign.

And so you know what sort of fruit we’re looking for, we probed Peter Stuart, Head Cidermaker at Thistly Cross for some pearls of wisdom: “As we enter late August, we thought now would be the perfect time to pass on some guidance around the unique apple crop situation in the UK this year. Early excellent pollination has created an abundance of fruit. however, due to the lack of rain over the extreme summer, the harvest has, and will still suffer – there has simply not been a suitable amount of rain yet to equal the amount of fruit on the trees. In an effort to survive, trees have started to drop a proportion of their crop in order to survive the drought. You may observe:

  •  Fruit dropping early in an attempt to maintain the quality of the fruit left on the trees, as there may not be enough water in the trees to maintain the ‘hold’ of the apples to the branches. 
  •  Sunstroke – apples take on a ‘petrified’ look: brown, syrupy, look rotten on the tree. 
  •  Apples will be likely to be more acidic, despite the warm conditions – typically perfect for the growth and development of ‘sweetness’. The lack of water will limit the crop from achieving normal growth. 

Obviously, these conditions will be more pronounced down South, but the conditions can also be seen in the northern half of the UK.

In conclusion: ignore the early windfall – this is a sign of stress. Give the remaining apples on the trees further time to develop, as more rain is anticipated. And sit tight for as long as possible to make the most of the increasingly typical UK summer weather. If anything, take the opportunity to remove any damaged or sun-struck fruit from the trees to preserve the remainder. As always, the summer is an excellent time for pruning in advance of the harvest, when the trees can be adapted to manage the crop loading and preserve their health for the year ahead.”

Based in the heart of East Lothian, Thistly Cross was established in 2008 as a collaboration between farmer, Ian Rennie, and artist-turned-cidermaker, Peter Stuart, and has rapidly gained a growing reputation for making ciders that people love.
Apple donations are welcomed at Thistly’s drop-off point: Belhaven SmokeHouse, Thistly Cross Roundabout, Dunbar, EH42 1ST just off the A1. It also has a shop, with lots of fantastic Scottish produce. Open 7 days a week for apples 10am-4pm (please avoid lunchtime if possible).

Follow Thistly’s #apples4cider campaign across social media.

Here’s the science bit:

What condition of apples does Thistly accept? Thistly needs good ingredients to make good cider – that means clean, sound, rot-free apples. It really is true that one rotten apple can ruin the barrel. The fruit is weighed and sorted on arrival, but it saves time if bad or heavily bruised apples are taken out beforehand.

Which apple varieties are accepted? Thistly accepts most apple varieties (apart from crab apples, sorry!). Part of the reason Thistly has such an authentic flavour is its unique blend of apples. Thistly also accepts pears providing these fit the criteria.

How do I know if my apples are ripe? Very simply, healthy apples should drop to the ground of their own accord when ripe. However, the wind in Scotland makes this a little tricky to gauge, as big gusts can knock apples down too early. Once a few ripe, healthy apples have fallen to the ground, this is an indication that the rest of the apples are nearly ready for harvest. A ripe apple should come off the branch with ease, when twisted lightly. Once ripened, apples become slightly softer and sweeter.

How should I store my apples? Apples should be stored in a breathable container – paper bags, tattie sacks and crates all work perfectly for this. Please don’t store your apples in plastic bags as this causes them to sweat and rot.

When should I bring them? The short answer:as soon as possible after harvesting. The longer answer: this depends very much on the variety and condition of the apple. If you pick your apples directly from the tree, it’s best to get them to Thistly within one week of harvesting. As we are very busy during the harvest, Thistly can’t always process your apples in the same week that you drop them off, so it’s important that they’re fit to be stored for a few days.

Brilliant – my apples fit the criteria, what next? Please drop your ripe, clean apples off at Belhaven SmokeHouse. It is open from 10am to 4pm, seven days a week.

Note – obviously over-18s only for the cider swap

For any enquiries about apples, call Thistly HQ on 01368 863246 or email us on peter@thistlycrosscider.co.uk

Mulled Cider – not just for Christmas!

Mulled Cider – not just for Christmas! No really, especially when we (and some of you) live in colder climes, it’s the perfect time to talk about staying warm with mulled Thistly, and specifically our top-secret! Winter-red blend, full of spicy warming flavours, that still allows some sweet apple to come through. It’s tasty cold, but really comes into its own gently warmed.

And of course you have mulling choices – gently warm and serve our special blend Mulled Cider *OR* we realise that sometimes part of the fun of mulling cider is experimenting with flavours and making your own – chucking in whatever spices and fruits you fancy, or even a dash of your favourite spirit. So lots of Thistly ciders make a great base for mulling, from the crispness of our Traditional, through to the spice of Real Ginger, or warmth of Whisky Cask cider. The possibilities are endless so there could be hundreds of different Thistly Cross mulled ciders out there!

If you’re inexperienced with mulling, don’t worry. We recommend starting with your choice of Thistly Cross Cider and gently heating in a pan before adding spices.  Popular additions include oranges studded with cloves, honey, cinnamon sticks, and an added glug of brandy or Scotch Whisky for extra oomph. Make sure your creation is heated through (without boiling) then strain and ladle  into a (heatproof) glass, cup or mug. Add fruit juice to create a lighter mix or serve like a punch by adding slices of fruit. Then all you have to do is serve and enjoy!

Thistly Cross Mulled Cider is available to order in 20L and 5L cider bags in boxes for heating wherever and whenever you want.

#JaggyJanuary

Looking for something a little different to kick off the New Year in style?

To celebrate the brilliant Tryanuary initiative Thistly Cross are offering you the chance to get your hands on our Scrumpy Jaggy Thistle cider!

Previously only available to trade customers we’re going all #JaggyJanuary and making it available for purchase on our website.

Our Jaggy Thistle is a vintage, CAMRA-approved scrumpy, naturally fermented over the colder months. The cider is laid down in ex-spirit casks to mature, producing a slow-fermented, unfiltered, unpasteurised, cask-conditioned finish. Our Jaggy Thistle really is one of a kind!

Thistly Cross Jaggy Thistle is available to order in 20L and 5L cider bags in boxes…

**New** Thistly Cross 7.4 Jaggy Thistle 20L

Thistly Mix-n-Match

Thistly Festive Specials!

It’s that wonderful time of the year when the ‘C’ word starts getting bandied about, and people start panic buying huge tvs and wondering what the hell they’re going to get for Uncle Simon… well, Thistly is here to help, and offer you a moment of cider calm amidst the madness.

We’re launching our Festive Specials so you can click through to our website, and then sit back with a mince pie while we pack and deliver your order to any mainland UK address. Easy!

First off the starting blocks is the Thistly Christmas Combo!

Allowing you to personalise your cider choice – this the first time we’ve offered the chance to Mix & Match your Thistly Cross, with 2 x 5 Litre cider-boxes of your choosing delivered together – mix and match your flavours, and to fit your price bracket.

The 5L boxes are the perfect size for most fridges so you can decide whether you want to double up on your favourite variety, or whether you want to mix things up. There are some suggestions below as to good pairings but hey, just go with your gut – fancy a Mulled 5L combined with a Real Strawberry – then you can have it. Feeling like you don’t want to get festive yet? Then how about our newest family member, Cloudy 5.5% with an Elderflower! The Thistly world is your oyster.

Peter’s Selection: Elderflower and Strawberry – two lovely Real Fruit Ciders, seldom seen still. Drink individually, one glass at a time or mix for a classic Thistly “Half ‘n’ Half”. Equally, add to other drinks to make a host of Christmas Cocktails!

Old School Cider Combo: Scotlands Original cider and a cider unique to Scotland: Whisky Cask Cider.

Jaggy Tops: Jaggy Thistle plus one other of your choice: take your mainstream cider-drinking friends on a journey into scrumpy, glass by delicious glass.

Thistly’s Classic Christmas Combo: Mulled and Ginger – the perfect Festive ciders: just warm, spice and drink.

Thistly Christmas Combo – how do you like to drink yours?

We also have a couple of Bundle options on the Thistly web-shop:

Bundle One gets you 24 bottles of our 330ml cider in a great mix of our varieties with 3 x gift boxes PLUS a Thistly t-shirt, so you or a loved one can publicly declare their love, and Bundle Two gets you 24 x bottles and 3 x gift boxes.

Gifting made easy… and tasty!

 

#ThistlyCocktails Launches!

Welcome to the brave new world of #ThistlyCocktails!

The Thistly Team will be going on the road to visit some of the most talented cocktail makers in the country to bring you some sensational cider creations that you can easily recreate from the comfort of your own kitchen.

We start with a bang as we visited the beautiful Cringletie House Hotel and their talented Bar Manager and mixologist Mark John Barrett.

He has come up with an Autumnal cocktail called the Walled Garden, using seasonal products that you can easily get a hold of. So sit back, enjoy, then have a go yourself! Be sure to send us pictures of your Walled Garden attempts to Thistly Cross Twitter and Facebook accounts and we will share!

 

Walled Garden Ingredients:

Thistly Cross Traditional Cider

Bramble Gin

Plums

Blueberries

Limes

Thistly Cross & The Honours

At Thistly Cross Cider, we’re proud of using great ingredients, and are always up for interesting collaborations! So we’re thrilled to bring you our latest – a chance for all you fine-food-loving Thistly fans out there, to enjoy a fantastic culinary experience, combining drinking our award-winning ciders alongside creative and inventive paired dishes in a specially created tasting menu at Edinburgh restaurant,The Honours.

A dining experience like no other, it has been created by award-winning chef Martin Wishart.

Known for his 2 Michelin-starred restaurants and love of local Scottish ingredients, this event on 1st November is going to be foodie (and cider) heaven.

There’s even a welcome Thistly drink on arrival.

So here’s what you can you expect (we’re personally looking forward to the heavenly pairing of Thistly Elderflower with Lemon Tart):

Tickets for this cider + culinary collaboration cost £45 per person, available here.

Further info, contact The Honours, tel: 0131 220 2513 or email – info@thehonours.co.uk

Look forward to seeing you there!

Thistly’s 2017 Apple Appeal is OPEN!

It’s that wonderful time of the year again when Scotland’s Original cider-maker, Thistly Cross announces its Apple Appeal, seeking to rediscover all abandoned, overlooked and neglected local Northern apple trees to put their fruit to good use. And what’s more, they’ll swap those donations, big or small, for real fruit cider or apple juice (around 7kg of apples usually equates to a bottle)!

In previous years, the “Bucket for a Bottle” scheme has resulted in hundreds of tonnes of apples. Thistly would love to top that with its 2017 #apples4cider campaign.

One of the things that make Thistly Cross Cider so unique is its blend of Scottish heritage apples, hand-pressed at their Cidershed in the heart of East Lothian; continuing a proud tradition of using apples grown across the country from a wide range of sources, including local schools, professional apple growers, estate and farm owners and the general public.

Peter Stuart, Head Cidermaker at Thistly Cross said: “The apple season is the most important time of year for Thistly. Despite frost resulting in devastating losses to European apple crops this Spring – as much as 40% in some countries – we’re lucky that the hardy Scottish apple thrives in poor weather, very much like our Scottish cider! So we’re hoping for a bumper crop in 2017.”

Based in the heart of East Lothian, Thistly Cross was established in 2008 as a collaboration between farmer, Ian Rennie, and artist-turned-cidermaker, Peter Stuart, and has rapidly gained a growing reputation for making ciders that people love.
Apple donations are welcomed at Thistly’s drop-off point: The Store, Belhaven Fruit Farm, Thistly Cross Roundabout, Dunbar, EH42 1ST just off the A1. It has a cafe & farm shop. Open 7 days a week (please avoid lunchtime if possible).

Follow Thistly’s #apples4cider campaign across social media.

cider-appeal-iconHere’s the science bit:

Which apple varieties are accepted? Thistly accepts most apple varieties (apart from crab apples – sorry!). Part of the reason that Thistly has such an authentic flavour is its unique blend of apple varieties. Thistly also accepts pears, providing these fit the same criteria.

How do I know if my apples are ripe? Very simply, healthy apples should drop to the ground of their own accord when ripe. However, the wind in Scotland makes this a little tricky to gauge, as big gusts can knock apples down too early. Once a few ripe, healthy apples have fallen to the ground, this is an indication that the rest of the apples are nearly ready for harvest. A ripe apple should come off the branch with ease, when twisted lightly. Once ripened, apples become slightly softer and sweeter.

What condition of apples does Thistly accept? Thistly needs good ingredients to make good cider – that means clean, sound, rot-free apples. It really is true that one rotten apple can ruin the barrel. The fruit is weighed and sorted on arrival, but it saves time if bad or heavily bruised apples are taken out beforehand.

How should I store my apples? Apples should be stored in a breathable container – paper bags, tattie sacks and crates all work perfectly for this. Please don’t store your apples in plastic bags as this causes them to sweat and rot.

When should I bring them? The short answer:as soon as possible after harvesting. The longer answer: this depends very much on the variety and condition of the apple. If you pick your apples directly from the tree, it’s best to get them to Thistly within one or two weeks of harvesting. As we are very busy during the harvest, Thistly can’t always process your apples in the same week that you drop them off, so it’s important that they’re fit to be stored for a few days.

Brilliant – my apples fit the criteria, what next? Please drop your apples off at The Store, Belhaven Fruit Farm and enjoy a cup of tea and look around the farm shop whilst you’re there. It is open from 10am to 4pm, seven days a week.

Note – obviously over-18s only for the cider swap

For any enquiries about apples, call Thistly on 01368 863246 or email us on info@thistlycrosscider.co.uk

What makes Thistly’s Whisky Cask Cider so special?


Well first, it’s made from real apples (some crowd-sourced from you lovely people), then it’s long-matured in wooden casks that come from our friends, Glen Moray whisky distillery, based just outside Elgin in Scotland.

Glen Moray Single Malt Whisky is distilled in pot stills and carefully matured in Bourbon’s cask that come all the way from North America.

And once Glen Moray are finished using them, the freshly emptied casks that have been up close and personal with Speyside’s Water of Life, head to Thistly to continue working their magic.

Thistly Cross Whisky Cask Cider captures the oak and whisky created by Glen Moray, and those flavours combined with a subtle, medium dry cider, results in a 6.9%, full-bodied, award-winner! Available in 330ml and 500ml bottles, 20L cider-boxes, and 30L kegs.

If you’re a whisky fan, you can find out more about Glen Moray’s whiskies by clicking here.

GLINTCAP Cider Dispatches: Judges have left the building!

It’s all over bar the shouting, now the judging is complete at the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, so this is our final Peter update before he heads off on further USA travels! The Michigan judging journey came to a suitable cider-y conclusion with a Cider Fest full of producers across the Blue Bridge over the Grand River.

By way of a final postscript, here’s a few final words from the man himself before he goes to lie down in a darkened room:

PS – so that the Organisers fully comprehend my gratitude, please see this appreciation translated as a BJCP reference: 124.513.534.13.136.221.23.22.2232.221.5.” (apparently this only makes sense if you’re a cider-maker).

Huge thanks to Eric West, Rex and Mary Halfpenny, Mike Beck, Charles McGonigle, Jeff Carlson, Michael Wilcox and everyone involved with GLINTCAP for all their hospitality in welcoming our Thistly representative – and offering the opportunity to travel round the world of cider. And thanks to the ever cider-loving Michigan.

We look forward to the next stage when the results and medal-winners are announced!