It’s possible James Squire himself experimented with cider. We explore the varieties and virtues of ‘craft cider’ and explain why Orchard Crush Apple Cider and Orchard Crush Pear Cider are very much at home in the James Squire craft range
James Squire

15 Jul 2014 - 12:23 PM  UPDATED 24 Jul 2014 - 2:50 PM

James Squire lived a life full of flavour. From a convict on the First Fleet to a respectable constable in his later years, he was a lover of adventure, of exploring new experiences and of more than a few women! Professionally, James was Australia’s very first brewer, but he was also a butcher, James was a baker Australia’s very first brewer and possibly even a cidermaker. He was indeed a man of many talents – and thankfully, much of that talent was turned to creating flavoursome, refreshing beverages for all to enjoy.

As Australia’'s first brewer, James Squire grew some of the ingredients found in his first batches of brew himself, most notably Australia’'s first crop of hops. Having had an orchard on his land, it wouldn’'t be surprising if he had also experimented with cider in his day.

Think back 15-or-so years ago when the Australian craft beer market featured James Squire Amber Ale (now better known as Nine Tales) and… um… that was about it. Today, by contrast, craft beer is all the rage. James Squire alone now has nine beers in its core range, and add the likes of Little Creatures and myriad microbreweries into the mix and you have a scene that is not so much thriving as singing and tap-dancing its way onwards and upwards.

Now Australian brewers and beer aficionados alike are turning their attention to a new brew – cider. With a history dating back at least as far as that of beer, cider has been part of Australia’s story since the time of James Squire himself. It is only in the last few years, however, that Aussies have really started to appreciate found a whole new appreciation for the delights of a drink sometimes known as ‘apple wine’ or ‘pear wine’. As a result, sales of cider – particularly ‘craft cider’ (which, like craft beer, is produced with the emphasis on flavour and quality) – have increased exponentially. And, just as there are different varieties of craft beer, from pale ale to porter and from amber ale to golden ale, so cider throws up fresh new varieties to explore and savour.

Cider varieties

Of these varieties, sparkling ciders are the most popular in Australia today. Typically using dessert fruit like Pink Lady apples, sparkling ciders tend to be fairly sweet. French cider is another variety, one that is said to be ‘not for the faint-hearted’! France is one of the world’s biggest cider-producing and drinking nations, and its cider makers pride themselves creating real depths of flavour, with the end product often taking years to mature. England is another leading cider producer – particularly in the ‘West Country’, where scrumpy is a popular variant of English cider, which tends to be darker than its sparkling counterpart and very dry.

The other widely recognised styles of cider are final cider variety is known as traditional or and farmhouse ciders. With a more complex flavour profile, these it tends to be drier than sparkling cider, less fizzy and have a cloudy appearance. It is these traditional styles of cider that have inspired the Both James Squire Orchard Crush Apple Cciders, and Orchard Crush Pear Cider can be classed as traditional ciders, with giving them a depth of flavours that make them perfectly at home in the James Squire craft range.

Introducing James Squire Orchard Crush ciders

James Squire Orchard Crush Apple Cider launched in 2011 to widespread acclaim. It is a refreshing, medium-dry cloudy cider made from fresh seasonal Australian apples with a fragrant, fresh aroma, a broad, clean palate and a crisp finish. The perfect accompaniment for pork chops or crisp pork belly with Apple Sauce, Orchard Crush Apple Cider is one of the best ciders around on tap and also comes in the James Squire trademark 345mL bottles.

Following the success of Orchard Crush Apple Cider, the James Squire brewers turned their attention to pear cider. Now, let’s be clear, Orchard Crush Pear Cider is an equal, not a sequel – as anyone who experiences the fresh pear aroma, subtle sweetness and smooth finish will quickly appreciate. This medium-dry cider is made from seasonal Australian apples and pears, predominantly Packham pears, and goes perfectly with cheese or a ploughman’'s platter.

Like all the James Squire craft beers, Orchard Crush Apple Cider takes the drinker on a journey, through flavour, finish and aroma. And if you close your eyes while savouring a glass, it can also take you back 200 years to an orchard on the banks of the Parramatta River, where Australia’s first brewer may very well have picked an apple from a tree and had a fantastic idea…