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13th January 2013

Cider takes on Wine at The Thatchers Arms

Cider takes on wine in a battle for the diners’ glass at renowned foodie pub, The Thatchers Arms, near Colchester, on Saturday 2 February.

Publican Mitch Adams has teamed up with’s Susanna Forbes to stage the first such tournament. Diners will sit down to a five-course meal, each paired with both a cider and a wine, before being asked to vote at the end for their favourite match.

Cider will be represented by Henry Chevallier-Guild, eighth-generation cider producer at Aspalls, and Beer Writer of the Year and author of Shakespeare’s Local, Pete Brown.  In the wine corner, River Café Sommelier and the 2012 Best Sommelier of the Year, Emily O’Hare, will be teaming up with the Dan Probert, manager of Adnams Cellar & Kitchen store in Holt, Norfolk.

No stranger to pub and drinks guide books, The Thatchers Arms hosted a high profile Beer vs Wine Charity Dinner back in 2011, with Tim Atkin MW in the wine corner vs leading beer and pub journalist, Adrian Tierney Jones. Nate Nolan’s video captures the entertaining nature of this joust.

The Cider vs Wine evening will start with a glass of Aspalls’ bottle fermented sparkler, Cuvée Chevallier, before dinner itself, comprising soup, fish meat, pud and cheese courses, with vegetarian options available.

In drawing up his menu, Mitch is focusing on local and seasonal produce. He has come up with some punchy flavours for the cider and wine advocates to match, for example, fresh mackerel fillet with a fennel, mint & parsley sauce. “We are currently looking to develop our cider range anyway,” says Mitch. “I thought this would be a fantastic way to find out which ciders our customers like.” “I’ve been amazed at the range of flavours that cider has to offer,” adds Susanna. “I can’t think of a better way to see what everyone else thinks.”


7pm, 2 February 2013, £38, The Thatchers Arms, Mount Bures, Essex, CO8 5AT, 01787 227460,  tickets available via




  1. Since this is the first such event of its kind, the ticket price has deliberately been kept low, but there are a limited number of Press Tickets are available. Please get in touch with Susanna or Mitch if interested.
  2. For those making the journey from London, nearest stations, c. 2 miles away: Bures Station and Chappel & Wakes Colne Station, with local taxis available at Chappel Cars, 07777 692785
  3. For those wanting to eat, drink and sleep, The Thatchers Arms website comes with a number of B&B suggestions as well as a map.




Perhaps best known for his words on beer, Beer Writer of the Year Pete Brown has recently been turning his attention to cider. As well as being the author of food and cider matching pages in Imbibe’s 2012 Beer & Cider Supplement, he is in the midst of writing World’s Best Ciders with Bill Bradshaw, due out in Sept 2013. Twitter: @PeteBrownBeer

Henry Chevallier-Guild has been involved in the family business since helping with the harvest in the Suffolk orchards at the age of four. Along with his brother Barry, he is credited with reinventing the family firm, Aspall, helping to put cider back on the dining table. He has long been an advocate of its food matching potential. Twitter: @henrychevallier


Veteran of the pop-up restaurant scene with her Whizz Bang Pop supper clubs, River Café sommelier Emily O’Hare also offers tips in Waitrose magazine. Never afraid to experience new flavours, she recently visited Adnams brewery and distillery, having survived an 80-strong beer tasting for Imbibe’s Beer  & Cider Supplement. Twitter: @emily0h


Holt’s Adnams Cellar & Kitchen manager, Dan Probert is no stranger to food and drink matching, having worked in and run several Adnams pubs and restaurants before he headed for the shop floor. He writes for Insider Suffolk and Flavours of Norfolk / Suffolk. Twitter @AdnamsHolt




Having learnt his trade with Mitchells & Butlers, Mitch Adams has won the local CAMRA Pub of the Year award twice since taking over at The Thatchers Arms. His personal passion is for beer, but he loves wine too and, as a former resident of Herefordshire, cider also ranks highly.


Publisher of, freelance writer Susanna Forbes is editor of Imbibe’s Beer & Cider Supplement. She launched the first English wine & food matching evenings with former Battersea bistro, Artisan & Vine.


Further information from

Susanna Forbes,, 07811 913971, @DrinkBritain,

Mitch Adams,, 01787 227460, @ThatchersArms,





Beer vs wine matching evening, The Thatchers Arms, 2011