Let’s imagine the future is as golden as a pint of smooth, heady Swallowfields Medium – its nectar-like flavour rounded off with a bittersweet finish.
In contrast to this sophisticated apple ferment, the fizzy orange pop currently served as cider in most pubs will then be seen as the equivalent of 1970s liebfraumilch: a laughable reminder of our youthful naivety. Helping us to reach that age of enlightenment is the newly opened Cider Tap.
The bar occupies the easterly of two squat Victorian lodges: remnants of the original Euston train station, built in Portland stone and fronting the concrete wastelands of the present-day terminus.
The West Lodge is occupied by Euston Tap, under the same ownership but dedicated to artisanal beer.
The Cider Tap has a more bucolic appearance. Outside, this is taken to a (surely?) ironic peak, with hay bales strewn by the building’s outer wall, allowing alfresco smokers a view of the Euston Road in all its rustic splendour.
Inside, the snug ground-floor bar is countrified and woody. Five-gallon barrels of still cider are on view behind the counter (six or so are kept at any one time). There are also a further eight draught keg (carbonated, chilled) ciders – refreshing, light Orchard Pig (4.2 per cent abv), for instance – and 20 bottled ciders and perries.
On the shelves, a selection of Normandy’s finest are displayed near bottles of Calvados and Pommeau (Calvados mixed with apple juice). For ciderphobes, there’s a wheat beer and a lager on draught, plus a few bottled ales. Coffee is served in the morning.
The main seating area is up a winding, wrought-iron staircase – hard to negotiate after two pints of Upper House Farm cider (a deceptively powerful drink at 6.5% abv, its initial sweetness countered by a long dry aftertaste).
Decor on this first floor is a work in progress, with newly painted pastel-shaded walls sporting botanical drawings of cider apples; miniature wooden barrels serving as tables, and uncomfortable bar stools as seating. ‘W’ and ‘M’ are daubed on the toilet doors, adding a soupçon of cowshed chic.
Great hunks of cheese are promised soon, to match the ciders – though we had to make do with pork scratchings.
Even so, with a few modifications the bar looks set to become the apple of every London cider-lover’s eye.