Western Australia is home to 42 breweries, six distilleries and over 150 wineries. We do however only have three proper Cideries (granted many breweries brew a cider or two). Two are down south in the Blackwood Valley and Harvey and the other is in Pickering Brook, 30 minutes east of central Perth.
CORE Cidery released it's first batch of homegrown, homemade organic ciders back in 2005. The history of the place goes back much further though. In fact the High Vale Orchard started in the apple growing business back in 1939. That's nearly 75 years of apples!
Today the cider house sits overlooking an endless expanse of uninterrupted hill side, from the bright green organic apple orchards to the dense Darling Ranges forest the views are quite simply stunning.
As a non cider drinker I can't pretend to have much of palate for the drink, luckily my good friend is a great critic of what constitutes a good cider. We ordered a tasting tray of all five ciders on offer. I can gladly report that everything from the mild sweetness of the sparkling pear to the dry 7.4% a/v 'Hard Core' apple cider was very high quality. I even managed to find one I found decent - the smooth and subtle apple & pear fusion.
The food menu looks very promising too. Pork Belly, Arancini, open sandwiches and a range of platters to suit every appetite. CORE also makes it's own range of pastes and jams, all of which you can try in house. Lets just say it was very hard to pull ourselves away from the taste testing.
All of the staff at CORE Cidery present that typical country hospitality. Friendly, relaxed, talkative and knowledgeable. We were even allowed to walk around the back to check out their iconic 1957 Chevrolet pick up truck, which I am told still runs!
The one bone I have to pick with CORE is that - while most breweries cater for the cider drinkers - CORE does not cater for beer drinkers at all. I'd like to see them brew their own or even just stock beer from the very good quality Swan Valley breweries nearby. This is however a minor blemish on a near perfect location.
Besides the stunning views, great organic drinks and delicious food you can also pre-book guided tours. They have three different tours that take you through dragonfly ponds, the photogenic orchards, the heritage of High Vale as well as fruit and cider production. And of course you get to taste what you see along the way! The tours are very affordable too, starting at just $15 per adult and $8 per child.
So if you're after a refreshing and relaxing day out why not head to the hills? The friendly atmosphere and organic, homegrown products are hard to beat. And after you're done you're only minutes away from some of the best lookout spots the Perth Hills have to offer.
They warned us that the pear cider upsets some people's tummys, of our party of four all of us got explosive diarrhea. Seeing as they know it is dodgy why keep selling it. I have drunk plenty of pear cider from other manufacturers with no problems. It put a nasty turn on an otherwise lovely day.