Goldkehlchen Weichsel

My last acquaintance with Cider from Goldkehlchen, the cider maker from Austria was rather so-so. So this time I’m trying their ‘Weichsel’, a cider blended with sour cherry juice. Interestingly, ‘Weichsel’ is a term used for sour cherry in Austria, Switzerland and some parts of Bavaria. In Berlin, we call it ‘Sauerkirsche’.Company: Goldkehlchen KG
Place of Origin: Vienna, Austria
Ingredients: wine and juice obtained from Styrian apples blended with sour cherry juice
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: 330ml clear bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear ruby red with a light pink head that slowly dissipates. Medium, artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is sweet with notes of sour cherries, black currant, strawberries, almonds and ripe red apples.

Taste: it starts lightly watery and lightly sweet at the same time with low to medium acidity, then a moderately astringent taste appears, notes of berries and light sour cherries. A touch of bitterness appears. Ends with a light sourish note of sour cherries.

Overall: I liked it. Especially, I was fond of the notes of cherries and various berries with a light refreshing acidity. The Weichsel from Goldkehlchen is a decent fruity offering that has a pleasant, intense and complex nose. But also the palate has a nice structure and decent length. What’s important, the Weichsel doesn’t taste like juice but a pleasant fruit wine that can be likeable by everyone. A really nice drop that I could have again. It will pair well with cheese but also with ice cream. 4/6

Availability: broad in Austria. But also in Germany from Ciderei, Gourmondo, Austrian Shop, Fräulein Lecker, Kochhaus. In Sweden from Brill & Co.

Price: Weichsel from Goldkehlchen was a sample provided by Ciderei.

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Where to drink/buy cider in Wrocław?

Wrocław – the meeting place. With this slogan, this Polish city is trying to boost tourism and attract travellers. Therefore, I thought it I will lend them a hand by compiling a list of spots in Wrocław where you can meet and greet the locals over a glass of craft cider. Let me give you a brief tour through the Wrocław’s bars offering cider.Bars/Pubs

Initially, I thought that Academus is a student haven due to its name. However, everyone who likes international beer and Polish cider come here. This small pub and B&B in one is run by a friendly couple, who really pay attention to their guests’ needs. It’s located in the city centre, just a few steps from the main square. From time to time they have Cydr Tradycyjny z Trzebnicy on draught, which is a local cider from Trzebnica located 30km from Wrocław. You can click here to find if and which cider is currently available on draught. Also, you can choose from their selection of bottled Polish craft cider.

Vaffa Napoli is located in the historical Jewish Quarter and is actually a restaurant serving pizza and other Italian foods. Apart from really delicious pizza, they have craft cider from Cydr Smykan available in bottles and sometimes on draught. To check their current offer on tap click here.

Not far away from Vaffa Napoli, you can visit also Marynka, Piwo i Aperitivo, a craft beer bar. I come here mainly for the delicious cider, which you can find in the fridge, Japko from Winnica De Sas but also because you can sit outside in the summer and enjoy the nice weather. Interestingly, they have a book with requests for draught beer, etc. so don’t forget to leave a note ‘CYDR’ there. Another advantage is that they have a food truck on their premises, Happy Little Truck serving absolutely delicious, and probably the best pizza in Wrocław. Try their pizza ‘Capperi’, which pairs excellently with Japko.

  • 4 Hops  (Ofiar Oświęcimskich 46, 50-059 Wrocław)

4 Hops is another centrally located craft beer bar with an austere interior design, with no fuzz and friendly staff that knows good beer. Unfortunately, no any sort of outdoor seating is available. More to that, they rarely have cider on tap. Bottled ciders available at 4 Hops feature Manufaktura Cydru (I reviewed their Wytrawny and Półsłodki) and Circus Cider, both from Warsaw. You can check if they currently have any cider on draught by clicking this link. The staff keep their offer up to date.

  • Szynkarnia (św. Antoniego 15, 50-073, Wrocław)

Another spot for cider lovers, in the summer at Szynkarnia you may find at least one cider on draught from one of the Polish craft cider makers such as Cydr Chyliczki or Cydr Smykan. You can check their current offer here. In addition, bottled cider is available here. To be honest, I never come here as Szynkarnia is always crowded and full of loud speaking people. Also, they seem not to have a good ventilation system as the strong smell of food is rather disturbing. So cider is the only reason to visit Szynkarnia, if you dare.

  • Pasibus (many locations, for the map, click here)

Pasibus is a burger chain so if you want to drink sweet and flat cider of unknown origin, PasiCydr (you can find the review here) with your burger you may taste it at one of their restaurants across Wroclaw.

SHOPS

  • Drink Hala (Ludwika Rydygiera 15, 48-300 Wrocław)

Located in a neighbourhood called Nadodrze, which with every day gets more popular among locals. Drink Hala is basically a craft beer shop with a really huge selection of Polish craft cider. But you will find here also a range of commercial cider from Poland and the UK such as Westons, as well. I usually come here, when I want to buy a bottle of a recently launched cider as they simply would have every Polish cider here sooner or later. I haven’t seen such an extensive selection even in Warsaw.

Another craft beer shop stocking also Polish craft from Cydr Smykan and Kwaśne Jabłko along with Polish commercial cider brands.

  • Dobre Moce (Grabiszyńska 233H, 53-234 Wrocław)

Dobre Moce is a wholesaler and retailer in one. Since they are based quite far from the city centre I never made it to pay them a visit. However, I know that they stock cider from Manufaktura Cydru.

If there are more cider spots in Wrocław worth mentioning, just drop me a line! I would be happy to update my post.

Floribunda Apfel-Cider

Floribunda is a small family business from Salorno, South Tyrol, Italy made up by Franz Egger and his daughter Magdalena. The Egger family has been growing apples since the 1980’s, and making cider since 2002 when their first cider made from Gravensteiner hit the shelves. Through the years the Eggers have been experimenting with various apple varieties, fruits and introducing new ciders. In 2005 they switched to the unfiltered and sulphite-free manufacturing.

Today I’m reviewing their Apfel-Cider, which is made from three organic apple varieties Topaz, Gold Rush and Pilot. Apfel-Cider received 90 points in the category of sparkling cider at the CiderWorld Awards 2018 in Frankfurt.Company: Floribunda
Place of Origin: Salurn/Salorno, South Tyrol, Italy
Apples: a blend of Pilot, Gold Rush and Topaz
ABV: 6%
Package type: 750 ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass:  flute or chalice glass

Note: no sulphites, organic

Appearance: pours a cloudy straw yellow with a huge quickly dissipating white head. High and natural carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is not very strong but extremely rich with notes of yellow apples, apple stems, fresh green leaves. Also, lightly floral with notes of gooseberries, fresh white grapes and skins, and distant fresh quince. That’s not all, a note of caramel appears once the Apfel-Cider warms up a little.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a touch of sweetness with a low to medium acidity of lemon. Then it gets a little bit watery with fruity and floral notes incl. rose, lychee, light banana, passionfruit, green apples. The finish is dry with a distant green grassy note, light astringency, a hint of bitterness with gooseberries,  fresh green apples and light pear. Also, a very distant sauerkraut and butter note.

Overall: I’m speechless. The more I’m drinking Floribunda’s Apfel-Cider the more the taste comes through and more unique aromas and flavours I get to discover. The flavours might be not strong, but they are clearly there and transform all the time into completely new flavours that weren’t there just a minute ago. Really amazing. Set of flavours on both, the nose and the palate are really special. Also, I like the almost creamy texture of this cider. A really pleasant and light drop. Nevertheless, I still have a few critical notes. First of all, the aroma could be stronger and despite many layers of delicious flavours, there are a few notes that might be considered as disturbing. In addition, the aromas on the palate could be a little more lingering as the taste disappears a bit too fast. In summary, Floribunda’s Apfel-Cider is a light and aromatic cider for connaisseurs, for those who take time and deeply explore what they drink. I loved it but it’s not for everyone. Will you take up the challenge? 4.5/6

Availability: directly from Floribunda

Price: Franz kindly passed me a bottle at CiderWorld 2018 in Frankfurt

Hogan’s Dry

John Stewart was a very special person in Hogan’s life. John was Hogan’s neighbour and the person who actually introduced Alan Hogan to cider and cider making. It is thanks to John Alan learned how to make cider from locally grown cider apples and how to appreciate it. Think about John Stewart next time you drink Hogan’s cider.

Today I’m trying their Dry, which is advertised as peaty and smoky.Company: Hogan’s
Place of Origin: Alcester, Warwickshire, UK
Ingredients: English cider apple juice, water, sugar, carbon dioxide, malic acid, preservative: potassium metabisulphite (sulphites)
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 5.8%
Package type: 500ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with no head. Slightly sparkling. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is tannic with hints of funk, notes of lemon, grapefruit and beeswax with a distant acetic acidity.

Taste: it starts relatively dry with a low acidity of both lemon and acetic acidity. Then the taste moves to notes of grapefruit (quite prevalent), blood orange, light beeswax, a light watery taste, smoky note and a medium astringent taste. It finishes dry with citrusy notes of grapefruit and with a smoky note. Also, there is a lightly biting taste due to carbonation.

Overall: similarly to the previously reviewed Medium, the Dry from Hogan’s could be described as a cross between English cider and a Spanish sidra. But it’s drier, similarly rich, yet light and watery. It’s a nice cider with a refreshing citrusy and smoky twist, exactly as advertised. Too watery perhaps so I would suggest considering to not water down this cider that much. Overall, it didn’t hook me but I thought it was quite ok. A pleasant, refreshing and light cider for every palate. 3.5/6 

Availability: from their online shop. In Germany exclusively from CiderKultur. In the UK from Crumpton Hill Farm Shop.

Price: Hogan’s Dry was a sample provided by CiderKultur, a recently opened webshop run by two cider aficionados offering a selection of great cider.

Abavas Rabarberu Dzirkstvīns Brut

When Jana contacted me to ask if I’d like to try the products of Abavas, one of the largest family-owned wine producers in Latvia, she advertised their Rabarberu Dzirkstvīns Brut by saying that their sparkling wine made from rhubarb completely sold out within a few hours after launching in the German online store Wine in Black. Indeed, when I checked the website, all I could see at the time was ‘AUSVERKAUFT’ – sold out. I was very intrigued by this fact and couldn’t wait to try it! Company: SIA Abavas dārzi, “Kalējkrāmi”
Place of Origin: 
Slampes country, Tukuma region, Latvia
Ingredients: 
rhubarb
Sweetness as per label: brut
ABV: 12%
Package type: 750ml champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute or wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a reddish hue and a short-lived white head. High natural carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: I didn’t even have to take a sniff. I could get a strong rhubarb, light cannabis note although the glass was 30 cm away.  Also, the aroma is lightly sweet.

Taste: the first sip is dry and alcoholic, but the alcohol note gets weaker with time. Only low acidity, a rhubarb stem with a lightly salty note, cannabis and vinous note and delicate astringency. Finishes dry leaving a long and lightly acidic aftertaste with lingering notes of rhubarb stem and leaves and a light astringent note.

Overall: Abavas has one of the most beautiful bottles, labels and corks. So their Rabarberu Dzirkstvins Brut already by looking at the bottle makes an impression of a really special high-end wine. And, the bottle content is unique indeed. The aroma literally pours out of the glass. Actually, I could get the aroma from the distance of 30cm. I checked! Also, it’s refreshing, complex and nicely structured palate lingers on and on. If only the alcoholic note at the start, which I found quite disturbing, weren’t that strong. But if you put this note aside you get an absolutely brilliant wine with an exceptional aroma and length. Interestingly, if you are a cannabis fan you may even pick up a cannabis note. Seriously! The more I drink it the more I love it. No wonder it sold out that fast. 4.5/6 

Availability: in Germany from Wine in Black (back in stock!) and Foodist, in Tallinn from Siidrimaja, in Finland from ALKO, in Latvia from Spirit & Wines, in the Netherlands from CiderCider, in Belgium from Cideris, in Russia in Redrum Bar in St. Petersburg. In Italy from Compagnia dei Caraibi.

Price: Rabarberu Dzirkstvins Brut was a sample provided to Cider Explorer

Mac Ivors Vintage Reserve Cider

Vintage Reserve Cider, launched in Summer 2017, is the newest addition to Mac Ivors’s line-up. As advertised by MacIvor’s, Vintage Reserve Cider is blended from their most mature stock of cider.  Interestingly, it’s available only in 330ml amber glass bottles so would I expect some good stuff here.   Company: Mac Ivors Cider
Place of Origin: Ardress, Portadown, Armagh County, Northern Ireland, UK
Apples: a blend of apple varieties incl. Armagh Bramley and cider apples such as Michelin, Dabinett and Harry Master’s Jersey
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330 ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale gold with a white short-lived froth. Medium artificial carbonation and low body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is weak. I barely get anything. Some yellow apples, fresh and ripe yellow apples, some oakiness, hints of funk and distant apricots.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with a low acidity of lemon. Notes of lemon peel, fresh yellow apples and a light astringent taste on the palate. Short finish with a light astringent taste and a hint of green apples and apricots. A very distant touch of bitterness appears at a later point.

Overall: Vintage Reserve Cider. That sounds proud and glorious. But the name doesn’t tell the truth and promises more than it delivers. I’m sorry to say but I expected more than an average tasting fizzy lemonade that lacks depth and has a short finish. The Vintage Reserve tastes watery, the flavours are not intense. Even weak. Admittedly, the Vintage Reserve tastes natural and is drinkable. Also, there are no disturbing flavours at all. But no drinking pleasure either. Nice try but this blend doesn’t seem to work. 2.5/6

Availability: widely available within the UK and Ireland, e.g. from Wines & Spirits or Emersons. In Germany from Bierkontor in Nuremberg, Bierothek LeipzigGetränkefeinkostDr. Hops, Uptown Coffee Bar and Olea in Leipzig, Getränkehandel Köthen  and The Shamrock – Irish Pub in Köthen, Fliese, Die Bierkanzlei and Rosis’s in Halle, Hopfenspeicher in Chemnitz, Der Shop am Hassel and Flowerpower in Magdeburg, Schankwirtschaft “Zur schwarzen Kunst” in Görlitz, Altes Handelshaus in Plauen, Landgasthof Dehnitz in Wurzen-Dehnitz, Getränkehandel Mierisch in Freital, Quedlinburger Wein- und Tabakhaus Trense in Quedlinburg. In Italy from Sidro & Cider. In France through Craft Cider Selection.

Price: Mac Ivors Vintage Reserve Cider was a sample provided by Greg from MacIvors Cider.

Trabanco Sidra Natural

What to drink when you’re on a trip and you need a break after a long day of sight-seeing in Barcelona? If you’re a cider fan, you have to look for ‘sidra’. But, if you’re in Barcelona, you have to search for bars and restaurants with Asturian cuisine as other bars most probably won’t have real cider on offer. This is how I discovered El Furacu, a traditional Asturian restaurant in the famous neighbourhood of EixampleThis is where I was served my first ever sidra properly poured from a height. It happened to be Trabanco’s Sidra Natural, which is aged in chestnut barrels.Company: Sidra Trabanco
Place of Origin: Gijón, Asturias, Spain
Apples: a blend of bitter and sharp apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6%
Package type: ca. 100ml in an authentic sidra glass
Recommended type of glass: any glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale orange. No carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose is notes of ripe apples, lemon, orange and good old vinegar.

Taste: it starts dry with low residual sweetness and medium acidity of lemon and vinegar. On the mid-palate ripe yellow apples, fresh orange, grapefruit juice, a touch of grapefruit-like bitterness, a light astringent note and a yeasty taste. The finish is dry and herbal with a light watery taste and a light sauerkraut note,

Overall: after a long and tiring day of wandering the streets of beautiful Barcelona, Trabanco’s Sidra Natural tasted moreish and very refreshing. It had a lovely taste of orange and lemon with just a touch of acetic note. It clearly underwent malolactic fermentation as I could sense a distant note of Sauerkraut, meaning that lactic acid bacteria were at work. Anyway, sidra natural is in general not a cider for everyone but if you’re into Asturian sidra then trying Trabanco’s Sidra Natural is a must. I’m already dreaming of having another ‘copa’ (glass) or even ‘botella’ (bottle) of this offering. 4.5/6

Availability: very broad in Spain. Through Enobohemia, Quesosaquillino, Productos de Asturias, Sidra y Sidras, El Corte InglesLa Tienda de la Sidra and many others. In Germany from Casa Molina.

Price: paid 1.75 EUR a glass at El Furacu, a traditional Asturian restaurant in Barcelona.