The Spread Eagle has changed hands a few times since we were regulars, and it’s fair to say that it gets a far from positive rap these days. We had a few “why you going down there” comments when we decided to check out the Cider Festival.
To be fair to the current owners they’ve been putting on a few events recently in the hope of bringing in the punters. In particular the iOccupy all day tech fests have been a massive success. And it was clear to us that the set up used for those parties was still in place. The outside area was covered with marquees ensuring that rain or shine the Spread was prepared for their debut cider festival.
We arrived rather later than planned on the Saturday missing most of the daytime entertainment. But 9 O’clock isn’t all that late. We caught the end of a set from a band who we couldn’t name or give feedback on as we were engrossed with the cider list.
They had 24 ciders and perry’s on the list. At first glance it was clear that Westons had provided a box of everything they do. This seemed a shame as many of Westons brews are already available in local pubs. Other cider makers represented were Gwatkins, Butfords, LyneDown and Marches Cyder. There was a good mix with plenty of sweet, mediums and drys so everyone was catered for. Having the ciders for sale in 1/3 pint glasses for a quid was a winner. It meant that we spent two fun filled hours trying almost all on the list.
While the ciders and perrys got a big thumbs up, the music was not such a hit. This is of course just our opinion. The covers band were clearly enjoyed by many other people, we weren’t so impressed.
So between 9 and 11 O’clock we had a great time, even had a bit of a work out with the long trek to the bogs and back. Unfortunately at 11 O’clock we were hit with a bomb shell. The outdoor licence only lasts till then, so we all had to go indoors. This doesn’t seem to bad until you find out the only cider available in doors is Stowfords! Needless to say we kicked off a little, just a little humour to put across our displeasure. Thankfully the gaffer who seemed a nice bloke listened to us and agrees to take six boxes inside.
After speed drinking for two hours and then being told it was all over, we didn’t stick around for the rest of the musical entertainment. We sloped off for a pint of rough before bed.
So all in all it was a short but enjoyable Cider Fest. It would have been great to know they were closing early, but we’ll know for next year.
Nice one Spread.