We spent an hour on a Friday afternoon at Hillbilly Cider’s cellar door and restaurant in the Blue Mountains.
They are a local producer of apple ciders, though not a brand I have seen or taken note of in any liquor store. On display on site are these large metal vats, that may or may not be used for the processing or storage of cider.
Also on display are these wooden barrels, which are confirmed to contain the cider poured diretly into glasses for patrons to drink.
We opted for a flight of four 150mL ciders to sample between the two of us. I’ve always been incredibly cautious about driving after having alcohol so my partner kindly agreed to drink less and drive on the way back to Sydney. We had the Hillbilly Scrumpy Cloudy Apple (ABV 6%), Hillbilly Crushed Apple (ABV 4.5%), Hillbilly Sweet Julie Apple (ABV 3.5%) and the Hillbilly Pear (ABV 4.5%) with some parallax error trickery that meant that we received slightly more than 600mL for our $18 investment. While I normally like a drier cider, I found that our sweetest choice, the Hillbilly Pear, was the most easily consumed, while the drier ones – still not bad – were not quite as appealing.
Hillbilly’s wood fired pizza oven is its second claim to fame in the local area, and they really do churn out high quality pizzas in good time.
This Pepperoni Pizza ($23) was rock solid. The base and crust were thin but chewy, cooked perfectly with the avoidance of any charring. The Neapolitan sauce and mixture of fior di latte and mozzarella made for a nice and mild base, and the pepperoni was sprinkled on with expert percision and reasonable generosity. It was all quite good. I don’t know why the pizza is shaped as it is.
The Sweet Julie Apple Calzone ($23), dubbed by one reviewer on Google as “a revelation” was also pretty good. It seems to be Hillbilly’s take on the hot apple pie, a staple among rest stops and little stores within a 5km radius. The filling of sweet caramelised acinnamonised apples was maybe just a little too sweet for my liking, but the pastry just as good as the base of the pepperoni pizza. I was grateful for the whipped cream which helped to temper down the sweetness of the apple filling.
I enjoyed the pizza, and after years of my friend GGL sending our group chat pictures of flights of alcoholic beverages I was finally able to return the favour. Hillbilly Cider Shed is also a great example of COVID-safe dining, with the choice between a huge outdoor dining area with picnic tables, a large gazebo like structure, and a verandah to sit on for those rainy days.
Hillbilly Cider Shed
2230 Bells Line of Rd, Bilpin NSW 2758
(02) 4567 0965