Aussies can enjoy sipping mulled cider ($4 a cup) while learning about the cidermaking process and the Hillbilly philosophy from Shane McLaughlin and Tessa McLaughlin.
In 2007, the couple shifted to a bohemian existence on 35-acres at Bilpin, where fourth generation farmer and Canonbah Bridge winemaker Shane set about making a cider in a cellar he dug by hand under the house.
“We don’t add sugar, we don’t pasteurise and we don’t add artificial flavours,”’ the Cider Australia treasurer said. “We’re all about keeping it real and honest – 100 per cent crushed fruit fermented with minimal intervention for an easy bohemian bubble.”
Aussies can taste cider straight from the barrel exclusively at the inner Hillbilly sanctum. In season, they can also pick the apples that go into the cider. Stock up on the new Scrumpy and Sweet Julie ciders. Grab new ciders the moment Shane releases them.
The Sweet Julie drink is reportedly the only cider in the world made from the Julie apple, discovered and grown at the orchard onsite and the newest apple discovered in the area since the Granny Smith 100 years ago.
Environmentally conscious cider lovers can reduce packaging purchase to zero by investing in their own 1.854lt Hillbilly Cider growler ($10 plus $20 to [re] fill), at the Hillbilly Cider Shed.
Shane said the canimals ($12 each) “are almost mini kegs so they’ll keep you going for a while – you won’t lose your place around the bonfire.” Visitors can also have the so-called “man can” filled on the spot with their choice of cider straight off the barrel and pressure sealed by the first and only canimal machine used for cider in Australia.
Hillbillies can picnic under the trees with the company of cider shed dog Star or sit on the deck and soak up the vibes of raw Hillbilly music, meaningful conversation and the nostalgic scent of crushed cider on the breeze.
Hillbilly Cider is also available throughout the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury and beyond via independent bottle shops, funky bars and restaurants, or catch the Hillbillies at market stalls and music festivals.