16 December 2012

Up The Apples & Pears

Amazing what you can find to do when you really should be working. In another year that's not seen this updated as often as intended, there have been a lot of things that really deserved some blog attention. 

I just drafted a paragraph recapping the events of the year but have deleted it because, frankly, I wanted to slap myself after reading it. Instead, I'm going to go straight to the matter in hand and talk about Ace Cider

The tip-off about Ace came from Anastacia, an old intern from my magazine days with a similar love of eating out and drinking who will, if you ask her nicely, tell you all about the evening I supposedly corrupted her with a tequila tasting... at a bar that she introduced me to. Yeah, right. Anyway, thanks to the joys of social media we'd managed to get back in touch with each other and, when I mentioned I was headed back to California, she decided there were a couple of places I had to see. 



One of these was Ace Cider, partly because the product is superb but also because the man behind it - Jeffrey House - is a Brit. He's also married to one of the prostitutes from the cantina scene in the first Star Wars (or the fourth, depending on how you look at it) which means he can - and does - refer to his wife as "an intergalactic space hooker." 

Ace is, well, ace. It's located in Sebastopol, in the heart of wine country, in an unassuming warehouse that houses a bar. And I mean a bar. As in a real British, made-in-Cornwall, wood-and-stained-glass bar that Jeffrey sort of won in a tennis match. There's a longer, better story than that but you'll gave to go and see Jeffrey for that.

Jeffrey's background is the drinks business, and he decided several years ago - understandably - that there was a lot of appeal in the CA lifestyle so why not go and do something alcohol-related there? Happily that doesn't mean forgetting his UK roots, It was glorious Californian sunshine outside and like stepping into a London boozer inside. 


The "basic" cider is a winner - crisp, clean, bags of apple flavour and none of that chemical sweetness you so often find - and the Perry was similarly delicious, but the stand out was the Halloween special Pumpkin Cider. It's the reason Anastacia - and her lovely mate Russ - were so delighted to go back and you can see why. This isn't a novelty Halloween product, this is a bloody lovely autumnal drink in its own right. Jeffrey is also a great host, having opened the bar specially for us, regaling us with some great stories and then happily staying on as casual passers-by and on-the-off-chance drop-ins came in for a drink. As we left, it felt like a party was kicking off. You get the feeling that sort of thing happens quite often in Jeffrey's world...