Follow the Hillbilly trail to the beautiful orchards of Bilpin in the Blue Mountains to a rustic country shed to sample some of the best crushed ciders in the world.

Work up a thirst picking apples at the 50-year-old Shields Orchard, then taste the transformation of fruit to cider at The Hillbilly Cider Shed. Meet maker Shane McLaughlin as he pours apple, sweet Julie, Scrumpy, and pear cider directly from the barrels.

The international award-winning range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cider is 100% crushed fruit and fermented with no added sugar, pasteurisation or artificial flavours – the true bohemian way.

Life in Bilpin surrounded by apple trees was Shane and Tessa McLaughlin’s inspiration for creating this respected Blue Mountains cider label, available around the world. With 20 years wine and cider making under his belt, Shane’s first batch of Hillbilly was fermented in the cellar he dug by hand under the house.

Shane uses techniques from time spent in cider regions around the world including Normandy, Hereford and Somerset. He uses a blend of classic Aussie apples, as well as heritage cider apples. Hillbilly is also the only cider in the world that uses the Julie apple.

The Julie Apple – the first new apple discovered in the Sydney / Blue Mountains area since the Granny Smith apple 100 years ago – was a chance seedling that orchardists Bill and Julie Shields discovered growing at Shields Orchard. Having passed stringent examination by the Australian Department of Agriculture, the Shields’ have now been granted plant breeders rights.

The Hillbilly Cider Shed is open every Friday from 12-5pm, and every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. For more information, visit: www.hillbillycider.com.au for details.

Image: Tessa and Shane McLaughlin in the orchard (supplied)