Saturday 8th October 2011
The third annual Crabble Corn Mill Cider Festival was held at the beginning of October 2011. This was my second time at one of their cider festivals but I have also been to two of their beer festivals as well.
I usually get off of the train at Kearsney Station, just before Dover, as I always enjoy the short walk along the river Dour, near the edge of Kearsney Abbey gardens, to get to the Mill.
I also walk past two pubs, the Dublin Man of War, which was selling Greene King IPA and Sharps Special. Next it was past the Royal Oak, a Shepherd Neame house, then back along the river. There is also a festival bus from Dover Priory Station at a small charge.
The Mill is owned and operated by the Crabble Corn Mill Trust. The current Mill was built in 1812 although there has been a mill on the site since 1227. It closed in 1893 but was rescued from demolition and re-opened to the public in 1990. It is a working museum and one of the most complete and working example of a Georgian watermill. The flour produced is on sale along with special bread mixes. The mill is run entirely by volunteers, no wages are paid. All the money taken for the pints of cider or beer goes directly towards running costs and future maintenance.
There were 30 ciders, including one from Crabble Corn Mill themselves, 4 perries, plus 4 beers on offer, a very good choice for a smallish festival. All the beer and cider is donated by brewers, pubs, local companies, shops, CAMRA groups, clubs and some individuals in order to raise money to keep the Mill open for future generations. All the workers are volunteers of course, including me.
The Cider Festival took place from 6 pm Friday, 11-11 Saturday to 6 pm Sunday. When I arrived at the start on the Saturday one of the perries had already sold out. Unfortunately it was one I had never had before, Lilley's Cider Barn Bee Sting Perry. I managed to squeeze the last quarter pint out of the discarded container and poured it into 2 glasses. There wasn't much to taste but it was very nice although a little sweet for my personal preference. The other glass I gave to the Sponsor, Mr Geoffrey Negus, when he arrived a little later on, it was only fair that he should at least have a small taste.
The second to sell out was the well-known Biddenden Kentish Cider, Medium and the third another Lilley's Cider Barn Cider - Crazy Goat. This was more of a medium taste and one of my favourites. The fourth was Gwynt Y Ddraig Happy Daze Cider.
I managed to try a few others over the course of the day and my other favourites were Burrow Hill Medium Dry Cider; Double Vision Perry, which was nice and floral; Original Cider Co. Kingston Black; Tricky Medium Cider; and Westons 1st Quality Cider. I also found Millis Brewery Gravesend Guzzler (a beer) to be nice and hoppy and very refreshing at the end of my day. Apparently 555 people attended over the weekend.
The Mill can regularly be seen working and there are milling demonstrations. There are other regular events including monthly folk nights, quiz nights, talks on local history, and art and photography exhibitions. Also the Mill facilities are available for hire. There is a fully licenced tea room selling snacks and hot meals and cream teas.
Crabble Corn Mill, Lower Road, River, DOVER, Kent CT17 0UY
Tel: 01304 823292 (01304 823710 when the Mill is closed)