Hundreds flocked to the Passenger Shed to enjoy a heady mix of up to 30 of the country’s finest artisan ciders, alongside packed food stalls selling everything from hot dogs to Polish Kielbasa.
Over 20 of the UK’s award-winning cider producers were present at Bristol Sausage and Cider Festival, supplying dry, medium and sweet concoctions to the expectant crowds.
The overwhelming impression from the crowds, the performers and brewers was the passion that Bristol and the West Country has for the British summertime. Very much a city that loves its cider, Bristol was the perfect place for an event such as this.
Traditional apple ciders were countered by some strange but delicious concoctions, including blackcurrant, mango and rhubarb selections. Some of them tested my sobriety as well as my palette, such as Eydon Cider Company’s Appley Ever After, a 14 per cent apple wine: a drink that needs to be tasted to be believed.
Alongside this world of alcoholic variety and experimentation were some of the most interesting food stalls I’ve seen in Bristol of late.
Bakers Bangers, hailing from Northamptonshire, offered hot dogs with a choice of wild boar, lamb or Austrian smoked sausages, while The Italian Sausage’s build-your-own burgers and host of (surprise) Italian sausages, would please even the most experienced gastronome.
Adding to the festivity was live music from bands including Maitree Express, The Lounge Cat Ideals and The Rintins, keeping the day moving as they played into the early evening.
It wasn’t simply the food and drink that made the festival: the Passenger Shed was a great venue, with its large communal spaces allowing groups of friends to chat and mingle, and to dance as the evening wore on. The festival felt more communal and almost familial – a place for people of all ages to sample their favourite food and drink and enjoy a sunny day out with friends and family, washed down with a pint or two.
Bristol Sausage and Cider Festival feels a lot more like the summer calendar’s best kept secret rather than another throwaway event. Attendance next year is a must.