“Those are there to remind me to pay attention,” Herefordshire-based cidermaker Tom Oliver says as I ask about a couple bottles on the windowsill of his dining room.
The bottles contain his next two as-yet-unreleased collaborations with local beer maker Jonny Mills of Mills Brewing. The beer community at large met the 800 bottles that made up their previous collaboration, Foxbic, with considerable fervor. The beer was a 50/50 blend of a turbid mash beer brewed in the Belgian Lambic style and Foxwhelp cider apple juice, which was then fermented in oak barrels on Oliver’s cider lees before being allowed to mature for 8 months.
The resulting beer was quite impressive, and perhaps even more impressive is the fact that it was Mills Brewing’s first-ever bottled release. No wonder, then, that Oliver is keeping such a close eye on the next two. He's got a precedent to maintain, after all.