2-4 St Catherine Street, Gloucester, GL1 2BX | (01452) 311440
The Cider Tree at The Coach and Horses in Gloucester is a lovingly restored and lively 15th-century cider house, situated a stone’s throw away from Gloucester Rugby’s Kingsholm Stadium and the city centre.
Take a virtual tour around Gloucester's revamped watering hole, The Cider Tree at The Coach and Horses - a cider drinker's dream.
Thursday 29 August 2013
With 34 varieties of cider – including its own Gloucester Glory – succulent pulled pork rolls, the biggest beer garden in town and a stunning transformation, The Cider Tree pub in Kingsholm very nearly gets full marks from SoGlos.
While the Coach and Horses, situated on the outskirts of Gloucester city centre, has long been a favourite haunt of locals, Cherry and White supporters and beer swilling louts making their way into town, since May 2013 the pub has become almost unrecognisable – having undergone a remarkable transformation, complete with new name: The Cider Tree.
Born and bred in scrumpy-loving Gloucester, the SoGlos team were the perfect guinea pigs to test out the newly refurbished sister pub of Café Rene and Tiger’s Eye, arriving on a summer’s evening not long after the grand reopening and thirsty for some sweet, apple nectar.
A transformation is actually somewhat of an understatement for what The Cider Tree has undergone, for as soon as we stepped through its doors, we felt as though we’d been transported back in time to a countryside pub miles away from the centre of Gloucester.
Gone are the garish white walls and dated tiled floors; being replaced by beautifully beamed ceilings, original brickwork and gleaming wood and flagstone flooring. A clear ‘cider house’ theme runs throughout, complete with floating barrels, hanging apple cores, a fireplace that’s screaming out for cosy winters, and lots of quirky little touches including vintage cider plaques and a fun game of ‘spot the Old Spot pigs’.
One thing that cannot go unnoticed is the stunning, solid oak bar, sourced from a Forest of Dean tree, with the remaining wood being fashioned into bespoke shelving and furnishings.
But of course, we were here to sample the ciders – not just admire the décor – and The Cider Tree serves up 34 different types, no less, with 14 ever-changing on the pumps and the rest in bottles, offering a real mix of flat and fizzy, dry and sweet, local and international, ranging in cost between £3.20 and £4 each.
Being a sucker for anything sweet, I plumped for a Black Rat Perry to start, seeing instantly why it was a best seller with its delightful pear aroma, light fizz and moreish sweet, summery taste, while my partner guzzled down a pint of The Cider Tree’s own brew, Gloucester Glory, which can only be described as a cloudy cuddle in a glass with a mellow apple zing.
As we sipped on our ciders outside in the sun – where the pub boasts the biggest grassed garden in town and ample seating – we tucked into what must have been the best pulled pork roll we’ve ever had. Slow cooked, in cider of course, the juicy pork fell apart in the mouth and was matched perfectly with the homemade stuffing and apple sauce, not to mention the cider itself.
And the best thing of all is the price. At just £2.50 for a pork roll, or £5 for a roll and a pint – also available to take away – you can’t go wrong. We enjoyed it so much we ditched Sunday roast the next day and returned to The Cider Tree for seconds!
Next up, I polished off another excellent example of pear cider from the Cotswolds and my brave other half sunk a glass of 7.5 per cent Moonshine, which he admitted went down way too easily.
After soaking up the last of the summer rays, we re-entered to find the pub positively bustling with families, couples young and old, Gloucester locals and a sprinkling of cider connoisseurs – proving the clientele has changed considerably.
The gigantic – but retractable – projector and few smaller television screens promises to draw in sports fans; all types of coffee costing a pound will undoubtedly attract passing business trade; the bank holiday garden parties are fast-becoming family favourites; while the take-away cider pouches are an innovative way to keep the warm cider smiles going back at home.
And with future plans including installing its very own glass-fronted brewery and a smokery in the garden, an outdoor ‘smoker’s shed’ and bar, and much more on the horizon, The Cider Tree is not only a cider drinker’s dream but quite possibly one of the best pubs in Gloucester.
By Shelly Elcock
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