England have now won back the Ashes properly, (I know we retain the Ashes anyway because the series could have been a draw, but this is now a proper win), can they also make it a clear win in this, the fourth test of the beer ashes? Today’s test, however is not strictly a beer because up to bat for  for Australia, Pipsqueak Cider (5.2%) and trying to bowl them out, from England is Reddaways (6%) farmhouse cider. Both of these were £2.59 from Beers of Europe.

First up, the Australian cider. I was expecting it to be a very sweet cider, I don’t know why but I was. I was probably guessing that it would be another cider which is jumping on the Magners bandwagon. I was wrong. “Uh-oh”, I thought to myself, “Is Australia starting to make good cider?” I based all this on my first thought: it’s not sweet. Then I had another sip and I began to relax a bit as I realised that just because it isn’t sweet, it doesn’t necessarily make it good cider. The colour should have given it away, as it poured into the glass I noticed it was somewhere between straw yellow and slightly green. Not an attractive colour. Like some of the other Australian representatives we’ve seen in this series it was wildly effervescent, almost to a fault. Vinegary, estery vapours on the nose, although not overpowering. As I went through this drink I tried to think what it reminded me of, when suddenly I got a flashback from my youth, a flashback in a large blue plastic bottle, I realise what this reminds me of now: white lightning. As I finished it off I realised it was the perfect way of explaining it, it’s not completely undrinkable, but hasn’t got any sort of quality or discernibly decent characteristics. It just about get’s away with it on every aspect.

The Beer Ashes Fourth Test: Pipsqueak Cider vs. Reddaways Farmhouse Cider

The Beer Ashes Fourth Test: Pipsqueak Cider vs. Reddaways Farmhouse Cider

And now England’s offering. After the Pipsqueak, this just seamed like heaven in a glass. A medium sweet, well rounded cider, where you could taste the apple juice. Smelling the aroma of apples and not chemicals was fantastic, joyful, and such a relief that I hadn’t picked a rotten cider from all of the brilliant English ciders out there. Although it had just come out of the fridge and was perfectly chilled (some cider enthusiasts will say this is sacrilege but I don’t care) it still had a warming mouthfeel, it was thick and comfortable. I genuinely didn’t want the glass to ever empty, but alas, all good things have to come to an end.

Neither of these drinks have fallen into the modern wave of over ice, over advertised, overly hyped, over priced, overbearingly sweet, modern ciders which seem to adorn the list of products in every major lager brand these days. However this doesn’t either of them good on its own. Pipsqueak (which I have found out is part of the Little Creatures range of drinks) is a dry, gassy chemically tasting cider with none of the charm, warmth or charisma (can a drink be charismatic?) of the Reddaways, which is by far the better drink in my eyes. There is nothing Australia can do, England win the fourth test and the first beer Ashes, the only question left is, will they be able to finish the series with a more respectable 3-2 defeat, or will England crush them 4-1?