Under the table at the Powerstock Cider Festival

THIS is Kitty, queen of the cydermakers. The Somerset lass, who works for Nigel Stewart of Bridge Farm Cider, celebrated winning two second prizes at the Powerstock Cider Festival by whirling and stamping to Dr Stomp, before gently retiring under the table.

Reeling to the stink of wild garlic, 500 cider drinkers descend on this West Dorset hideaway village to gulp down nectar from at least 20 different makers hailing from France to Frampton, Frome and other frontiers.

It turns out to be a wild old night in the good old-fashioned way. Lay on a load of decent home brews, pizzas from the Bridport jalopy van, a couple of manic fiddlers, and we’re all away.

It’s laid-back, uncomplicated, home-made hedonism. Not much more to say. We start by tanking our way through Mill House cider from Owermoigne. Someone’s brought out mulled, spiced cider – yum! The nice Frenchman from Normandy has run out of booze, but whenever we need some more, there’s always another brew on tap – some dry enough to make you retch, some sweet enough to make you swoon into the arms of the nearest stranger (and we nearly do).

It’s dignified. No vomiters, and no-one begrudges Kitty her moment of glory under the table, just a shedload of people enjoying many medium, dry and sweet ciders.

Someone else has had the foresight to chuck out a load of cheddar, picked onions and chutney to complement his cider. It all tastes lush.

Stop and speak to most of the cider makers, and eventually they’ll whip out their best brew from under tables and behind demi-johns (if you ask them nicely enough).

And we all sup up…


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