Dropping into Dickens Cider House for a tipple on a recent trip to Hobart was one of the highlights of our stay, but we were lucky we discovered it.
When travelling I’m a bit lazy when it comes to reading up on the guide books. I leave that sort of thing to my bearded media man husband. I do agree with him though that it is worth doing a bit of research to find places, rather than wander around and pick somewhere at random. That always seems to lead to disappointment. But it’s just I’d rather he did the hard work for me.
Also rather than rely completely on the guide books and trip advisor, my first preference would always be to get the inside track from someone in-the-know. Which is how we came to sample the delights of Dickens Cider House.
On our first full day in Hobart we went wine and cheese tasting with the Boutique Wine Tour Company. Our fab guide/driver, Dave, was friendly, informative, and happy to share his knowledge of the best eateries and drinking holes in the city. I scribbled all the names down in my little notebook, among which was the Dickens Cider House. He even gave us directions to it, and they were good directions. We were just a bit thrown initially as we didn’t see how it could be where he had described it.
‘It’s on Montpelier Retreat’, he told us ‘nearly opposite the Wursthaus Deli’. We turned, we saw the Wursthaus, but opposite we couldn’t see a cider house for the life of us. A rather souless looking gym, yes. Then a concrete multi-storey carpark. We kept the faith and walked a little further up. There was a sign ahead but that looked like a stairwell entrance to the carpark, it couldn’t be there. But this uninspired little doorway was revealed to be the place we were looking for.
We paused for a moment. It looked quiet. Well empty in fact except for one guy sitting at the bar and the barman. It wasn’t quite the buzzy atmosphere we had been hoping for, but we were so pleased we had found it we ploughed on in anyway.
The bar man was fantastic. Smiling and welcoming, suggested we taste the different offerings so we could decide what we wanted to drink. And they were fairly healthy measures of tasting to boot. To kick off we sampled the ‘original’ made of Granny Smiths. Sweet and sharp too, it was a taste of my childhood. By this I mean we had a Granny Smith apple tree in the garden when I was a kid before the hurricane of ’87, not that I was necking apple home brew when I was primary school age. Trying the Old English, this cider had been blended with hops to give an extra dimension of complexity. The Perry had a sulphurish hit on the nose, although speaking to the barman he said it depended on the batch, sometimes it was there, sometimes it wasn’t, it wasn’t a defining feature of this brew.
The decor of the Dickens Cider House is pretty cool, combining country rustic with industrial design which is so en vogue at the moment. Polished concrete floors, and bare fitting lighting sits along side sofa chassis made of old apple crates, and a vintage apple press. I liked the touches of soft decor, bright print cushions etc, which were also incorporated, it helped to ensure that the look wasn’t too hard, and would also no doubt soak up some of the noise bouncing off all those hard surfaces when the bar was busier.
If it hadn’t been for Dave’s recommendation we would have missed this place. Hidden along a side street with signage which didn’t leap out at you, we wouldn’t have necessarily found it just by walking around. Plus, having only opened on 22 February of this year, it wasn’t in our guidebooks, or appearing top on trip advisor. Which only goes to show that reading up on places can get you so far, but to find some extra gems, best ask a local.
Dickens Ciderhouse Hobart
22 Montpelier Retreat
Tel 0438 207 148