Early Doors – Cider & Real Ale Barn, Draycott, Cheddar, Somerset [RIP]

I feel like I should be on the other side of a mesh screen talking to a Catholic priest, as it’s been quite some time since my last blog. Apologies for that, I have been a bit distracted because life has been quite awesome as of late.

It’s now time to start getting back on top of things, and I have a few posts to write up, one blog post was lost after I deleted the photos off my phone without sending them to myself, because I am a complete idiot, it was Tuckers Fish and Chips in Cheddar Gorge, it was pretty bloody good, though, even if the staff were miserable and incompetent.

I recently went on holiday to Somerset with my dad, the original plan being because he wanted to visit the SS Great Britain in Bristol, and I wanted to visit The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, and a campsite just south of Brizzle was ideal. However, we did these two things in the first few days, and found ourselves in the midst of a cider tour, quite by accident. A total of 23 litres of cider were bought from about 8 different cider farms we visited between us. Not bad.

On the way back from the ridiculously extortionate Cheddar Gorge, we were going to go back to the pub near the campsite, but my dad pulled a handbrake turn (well, it seemed like that), after we passed the Early Doors Cider & Real Ale Barn


(Picture from their Facebook, because it was hammering it down on our visit.)

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We had a great evening there, and one pint turned into a few more for me (and just the one for my dad, because he was driving), and we promised to return in a couple of days time. A particular cidery highlight is the Roger Wilkins cider, which is a pure delight, the best cider I have tasted, ever.  Also, Roger is a true eccentric, and if you are in the area, I implore you to visit his cider farm to buy some. You will be greeted by “Dry, Medium or Sweet?” and given a half pint tankard to sample, and then told to help yourself to try the others. See him on the tellybox, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1uWTmdRPdM

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The bar is basic, rustic, and absolutely charming. Cider is poured from barrels and bags in boxes on the bar, some bottled beers and soft drinks (and Bulmers, gah) in the fridge, and also two casks of ale under the bar where the cider is, beer is poured straight from the tapped barrel.

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If you just want a snack they have a “Somerset Tapas” menu, with little bites to help soak up the booze, which is good, because there are some delicious ciders on offer here, and anything to help you sample more is always appreciated.

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My dad and I were here to have a simple supper of a Ploughman’s Lunch, because sometimes simple is brilliant, and boy do they keep it simple at the Early Doors.

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I went for a mixed ploughman’s, which gives you two of the options, so I went for the ham and tasty Cheddar. I have never eaten Cheddar like this, it had crunchy, salty delicious crystalised bits, and had a mouth filling texture and flavour, the ham was nice too, but I wish I just had more of that cheese. The rest of it’s very simple, a couple of wedges of apple, two pickled onions and a slice of doorstop brown bread, and some butter on the table. My dad had the Draycott Blue and ham, and he was blown away by how delicious the Draycott Blue was, made just down the road in the village of Draycott. Apparently, it’s like a Stilton. I am one of those finicky eaters, and despite keeping trying it, I hate blue cheese, so I will take his word for it.

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They’re never going to win awards for beautifully presented food, because the Early Doors is not about that. It’s like a community pub there, everything is slightly ramshackle in the best kind of way, the staff are friendly and only a touch eccentric, and made us feel very welcome. My dad and I are planning going back to Somerset in November, and I can’t wait to return to the Early Doors, and try that lovely looking beef and beer casserole, and chat to more of the friendly regulars. The UK needs more places like this!

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