Manufaktura Cydru Wytrawny

There is a new Polish craft cider that just hit the shelves a few months ago, Manufaktura Cydru. Manufaktura Cydru was established in 2015 in a small town Podolszyn near Warsaw and currently consists of only four persons (a true craft cidery). Dorota Krawczyk, who won the Warsaw Homebrew Competition 2016 in the category of cider, is the head of cider production at Manufaktura Cydru. Recently they launched their first cider Wytrawny (dry), which was sent to me for testing.Company: Manufaktura Cydru
Place of Origin: Podolszyn, Masovia, Poland
Jonagold Decosta, Idared
Sweetness as per label:
Package type:
500ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a slightly cloudy straw yellow with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is not very strong, but rich and pleasant. Also, rather sweet than dry. On the nose notes of juicy red apples, pears, white grapes with a hint of white wine.

Taste: the first sip is not entirely dry with some residual sweetness and medium lemon-like acidity. Subsequently, it gets slightly tart with a light watery taste. On the mid-palate notes of lemon, crisp acidic apples and yellow apples. The finish is dry with a lingering gentle honey-like flavour and a touch of distant grapefruit bitterness.

Overall: Although this cider is made entirely from dessert apples it tastes surprisingly smooth with good flavours and structure. Lemon-like acidity gives this cider a refreshing taste and good sessionability. What a shame that the summer is over as this cider would make a perfect summer drink for those who prefer their cider on the drier side, including me. The only improvement that could eventually be made is the reduction of the watery taste. Anyway, I enjoyed it and could have this cider again. I must honestly say that Manufaktura Cydru’s Wytrawny is the best and the most impressive cider made from dessert apples I had so far. Looking forward to next ciders created by Dorota Krawczyk! 4.5/6

Availability: only in Poland for now. Available in Warsaw through Skrzynka Piwa, Czarodziejka Gorzalka, Stan Umyslu.

Price: Wytrawny was sent to me by Manufaktura Cydru for testing.


Bright Side Cider

All I was able to find about Bright Side Cider is that the company was established in 2016 by Thomas Nowatzky and Rudolf Moos, two cider lovers and entrepreneurs. Despite the popularity of their product, they stopped the production earlier this year for unknown reasons. But, you can still find their cider in many shops in Berlin.Company: Bright Side Cider GmbH
Place of Origin: Berlin, Germany
Apples: locally grown apples
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden yellow with a short-lived white foam. Low carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: smells like a sweet apple juice made predominantly from red apples, with a hint of fermented apples, and a buttery note.

Taste: it starts sweet and slightly watery with low acidity and a strong apple juice taste. The mid-palate has a hint of smokiness to the apple juice-like taste and gentle tannins. The aftertaste is dry and slightly astringent.

Overall: similarly to Outmost’s Outcider Mild the Bright Side Cider has a striking resemblance to Apfelschorle, an apple juice mixed with spritzer, which is a typical beverage drunk in this part of Germany. So, I am sorry to say this, but the Bright Side Cider is just another apple juice-like tasting cider. When I buy cider I want to drink cider, not Apfelschorle. Summarizing, Bright Side Cider is drinkable, but I still don’t get what is the point of producing an Apfelschorle with alcohol and calling it a cider. Is it because cider is getting more trendy? 2.5/6

Availability: only locally in Berlin from Weinberg, FlaschbierschopGetränkefeinkost Berlin

Price: purchased from Flaschbierschop in Berlin at 2.30 EUR.

Kingstone Press Classic Apple Cider

You might have heard accusations that food brands produce lower quality products for the Eastern European market. It looks that cider produced for the UK market and for the Czech market has different information on the label. Kingstone Press Classic Apple Cider made for the Czech market contains two potentially harmful azo dyes, a strawberry red azo dye, Ponceau 4R (E124), which is permitted for use in Europe, but banned in the US, and tartrazine (E102), a yellow azo dye. On the label of the same cider that I tried in Berlin, apparently produced for the UK market, no information about food colourings or any other additives can be found. Or maybe the producer wants to hide this information from the UK consumers? For both labels see below.

Czech Label: picture below is courtesy of A Dost!Bildschirmfoto 2017-08-09 um 12.22.04.png

UK Label:img_7287-1.jpgToday’s review is on the Kingstone Press Classic Apple Cider, which was awarded Bronze from the International Cider Challange 2017 and is one of the cheapest ciders in the UK, only 1 GBP in retail.img_7289.jpg

Company: Aston Manor Cider
Place of Origin: Aston Manor Cider Mill Stourport on Severn, Worcestershire, UK
Apples: a blend of Dabinett and Michelin with juice from eating apples
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 5.3%
Package type: 500ml  clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass
Appearance: pours a clear golden with no foam. Carbonation and body are low.
Aroma/Nose: the scent is dominated by matches-like sulphur with notes of fermented red ripe apples and caramel in the background.
Taste: the initial taste has a caramel-like sweetness with low to medium lemon-like acidity and a note of matches-like sulphur. This flavour is perceivable throughout the whole sip, which is not particularly pleasant. The mid-palate has a flavour of red apples and apple skins, and again sulphur. In the aftertaste, besides the disturbing note of sulphur, notes of red apples with gentle astringency.
Overall: the matches-like sulphur taste dominates and kills this cider. It’s really sad, cause in the background you can taste a quite nice and drinkable cider. If one could remove this unpleasant sulphur note it would make a drinkable pour. But due to this unpleasant flavour, I’m not going to buy it again. Also, because I don’t trust the company anymore and I refuse to consume health threatening compounds. 2.5/6
Availability: widely available in the UK, e.g. from Groceries Iceland. In Slovakia from in Slovakia. In Germany through Michelle’s Specialities or
Price: paid 6 EUR in The Castle Berlin. After I learned how much a bottle costs in the UK I feel the price in Berlin is too high.


Le Brun Cidre Artisanal Doux

Le Brun is a French cidre with probably the widest availability in Europe. Interestingly, Le Brun in contrast to other big French cidre brands such as Loic Raison, Kerisac or Eccusson is still in private hands. Their cidre has been produced by the Le Brun family in Plovan, Brittany since 1955 when Jean Le Brun set up the company. In 1991 the youngest son of the founder, Dominique took over and the cidery expanded while keeping the quality of their product at the same time. I’m sampling their Doux today, which won a silver medal at the International Cider Challange 2016.Company: Cidre Le Brun
Place of Origin: Plovan, Brittany, France
Apples: Kermerrien, Marie Ménard, Douce Moên, Peau de Chien, Douce Coëtligné are grown on the farm
Sweetness as per label: doux
ABV: 3.0%
Package type: 750ml green glass champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a lightly cloudy orange with a short-lived white foam, which quickly reduces to a ring. High carbonation. Body is medium. Some sediment settled on the bottom.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is relatively strong with notes of apricots, raisins, baked apples, fermented apples and a hint of vinegar.

Taste: the first taste is sweet with a moderate lemon-like acidity and a hint of vinegar, which beautifully cuts the sweetness. Apricot, herbal notes with a light astringency in the mid-palate. The finish is dry and has a touch of bitterness and a hint of wood in the aftertaste.

Overall: I’m not a fan of sweet ciders so before trying this cidre I assumed I will not like it (I know, I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover). But when I took the first sip I was really amazed by the taste. Le Brun’s Doux tastes delicious! A touch of vinegar breaks the sweetness making the Doux a nice, drinkable and refreshing cidre. Cidre Le Brun might be very common and easily available in your area but it’s absolutely worth a purchase. So if you stumble upon it at you local store just give it a try. Not only for those having a sweet tooth! 4.5/6

Availability: should be in your Carrefour. In Warsaw from Salon Win i Alkoholi Warsaw. In Berlin from Galeria Kaufhof. In Prague from Dobry Cider or Incider Bar. In the UK  from Roving Sommelier. 

Price: It was a gift from my parents. Thank you! 🙂

Cider flights at Cider House in Toronto, 2017/09/08 – tasting notes

After an exhausting but very satisfying week in Toronto I welcomed the weekend with opened arms. Finally, I could start exploring Ontario’s craft ciders and Toronto’s cider bars. Cider House in Toronto was the first cider spot on my list as here I could sample a variety of local ciders at once from their rotating menu by ordering a tasting cider flight. After getting a recommendation from the staff I went for the following options.

Flight 1 (from left to right)

  • Sulkers Jalapeño
  • Collective Arts Blueberry
  • Duxbury Heritage 1650
  • County Blood Orange Cider

It’s their super dry cider made with pineapple and charred jalapeño. Appearance: cloudy, straw yellow.  Lightly carbonated. The body is also low. Aroma: rather weak with notes of green bell pepper and light pineapple. Taste: not entirely dry with low residual sweetness, almost no acidity, notes of green bell pepper and something herbal. Can pineapple in the aftertaste. It’s not spicy. Pineapple-Penos tastes interesting and is drinkable but lacks complexicity. It gets boring after a few sips. 2.5/6

Appearance: clear, cherry red. Lightly carbonated. Low body. Aroma: very weak, with a  bluberry note. Taste: watery with low sweetness and low acidity. Light bitter note. Blueberries. Light cherry and fermented apple note. It’s ok but not mind-blowing. I had other bluberry ciders before that tasted much better than this. Drinkable. 3/6

Appearance: clear, pale golden. Lightly carbonated. Low body. Aroma: very weak scent. Notes of fermented apples, green and yellow apples and something herbal. Taste: lemon-like medium acidity, green apples, apple seeds, fermented apples, light to medium bitterness, a touch of astringency. Pleasant crisp and refreshing aftertaste. Straight apple taste. It’s complex, rich and tasty. The scent was rather weak but taste wise appealing. 4/6

Appearance: clear, bright orange. Lightly carbonated. Medium body. Aroma: syrupy sweet with herbal and citrus notes. Smells like a medicine or a herb-flavoured liqueur. Taste: watery, low level of sweetness,  low acidity, herbal or medicine-like aftertaste. No astringency. Once it warms up it has a syrupy like aftertaste-like a medicine but not sweet and get’s tiring. But, I still think it’s quite interesting. The nose would indicate that the cider is sweet, but it tastes rather watery than sweet. I think it’s worth trying but I wouldn’t buy it again. 3/6

Overall, Duxbury’s cider was a clear winner. Straight apple taste, full-bodied, and not tiring.

Flight 2 (from left to right)

  • Ironwood Perrydise
  • Revel Liquid Gold
  • Shiny Pinot Noir
  • West Ave. Cherriosity

Advertised as a blend of Ontario Bartlett and Bosc pears, fermented on oak and then further aged 6 months on lees. Appearance: clear, looks like water with light yellowish hues. Lightly carbonated. Low body. Aroma: ripe sweet juicy pear. Taste: low acidity, low sweetness. Notes of a sweet ripe pear with green notes. Light tannins. Dry and creamy aftertaste. I was afraid that the Perrydise would taste very watery due to the appearance but no. I turned out that the Perrydise is a really pleasant perry with a straight ripe pear taste. I enjoyed it, but can’t call it marvelous. 4/6

It’s a dry cider made with Golden Russet and Northern Spy. Appearance: clear, pale golden. Lightly carbonated. Low body. Aroma: fermented apples, yellow apples, light funk. Taste: low acidity, low sweetness, yellow apples, light bitterness with notes of woods or stems, light astringency. It tastes like a combination of cider and culinary apples. Liquid Gold is rather average and doesn’t stand out. In fact, I have already forgotten how it tastes like. 3.5/6

  • Shiny Pinot Apple & Pinot

It’s a cider made with 10% pinot noir and 90% cider. Appearance: clear, cherry red. Lightly carbonated. Low to medium body. Aroma: rasberry, red wine, strawberry jam, fruity, light mustiness. Taste: medium sweetness, low acidity. Notes of strawberry and rasberry jam, light red wine, light astringency with a touch of bitterness. Aftertaste is dry with a rasberry jam notes and a light barrel mustiness. It’s quite complex although I couldn’t taste any apple here. Anyway, it’s a nice and simple fruity drop. 4/6

It’s a dry cherry cider. Appearance: clear, amber with orange hues. Lightly carbonated. Low to medium body. Aroma: fruity with notes of a (slightly) burnt cherry jam and kompot. Taste: low sweetness, low acidity. Light astringency and bitterness. A note of cherry and incense. I expected more cherry in this cider but I still enjoyed it. 4/6

The 2nd cider flight was much better than the first one in terms of taste. I found the Pinot and Cherriosity full-bodied and very drinkable. Especially, that I don’t often get to drink ciders made from other fruits than apples or pears in Europe.

Summarizing, I have tried eight different ciders from eight different local Ontario’s cider makers. Each cider was more or less drinkable but they all tasted similar in a way. Every cider represented the same style, which was kind of boring. They all had similar level of sweetness, acidity and fruitiness with very delicate tannins if at all. The only difference was in the fruit that was used for the cider. It’s like they all have been made by the same cider maker. I felt that the fireworks were missing so I guess I have to carry on my search for the best Ontario’s cider.

Martin’s Cider Jablkovy

Martin’s Cider is a Slovak Nitra-based cider company, which was established only in 2014. Martin spent a few years in Cornwall and Somerset and fell in love with English cider and generally with cider making. Hence, once he returned to Slovakia he set up the first cidery in his home town Nitra. Their range includes cider, perry and cherry flavoured cider.
Company: Martin’s Cider
Place of Origin: Nitra, Slovakia
Apples: apples grown at the Czech-Slovak border
Sweetness as per label: sweet
ABV: 4.8%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a large foam, which quickly falls down. High carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: smells of freshly pressed apple juice from red apples. This is all I’m getting here.

Taste: it starts quite watery with a low level of acidity and moderate sweetness. The mid-palate has a flavour of apple juice with a distant hint of fermented apples. That’s basically it.

Overall: If someone passed me a glass of Martin’s Cider and told me it was an apple juice I would believe him. The Jablkovy has a strong refreshing apple juice flavour but the taste overall has nothing to do with cider. It simply tastes like a freshly pressed apple juice. I’m convinced it will appeal to those preferring sweet apple juice-tasting cider though but not to cider lovers. 2/6 

Availability: through their online shop or in InCider Bar in Prague.

Price: had 0.2L at Slavnost Cideru 2017 at 25 CZK (1 EUR)

Harry’s Dabinett

Low apple prices might have inspired farmers in Eastern Europe to make cider. But, in the UK it was the decreasing milk price that made Harry Fry, ex-dairy farmer from Somerset to produce cider. The fruits were already on the farm as Harry’s father has planted an apple orchard in the 1970’s, from which he supplied another cider company from Somerset. Today Harry and his son Toby produce ciders that have won many awards including medals from the Taste of the West Awards, the British Cider Championships and the International Cider Challenge. I’m giving the single varietal Dabinett a try.Company: Harrys Cider Company
Place of Origin: Long Sutton, Somerset, UK
Apples: Dabinett
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: 500ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, chalice glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a lightly cloudy amber with orange and light reddish hues. White head created while pouring reduces slowly foam. Lightly sparkling. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose notes of a crisp, fresh and juicy red apple and freshly pressed apple juice. Distant wood, caramel and apricot scent.

Taste: the first sip has a light to medium sweetness and a very low watery taste. Subsequently, you get a strong tannic kick, which is mouth puckering and moderately bitter at the same time. The mid-palate has a gentle smoky note with a red juicy apple, apple skins and distant wood. Surprisingly, the acidity appears only towards the end along with a gentle pleasant bitterness and lingering fruity red apple taste.

Overall: Harry’s Dabinett is a light, but still delicious and well-balanced cider with a clean fruity/appley taste. It goes down easily. Even too easily, I would say. My friend, who I shared the bottle of the Dabinett with, said that she could see herself purchasing the whole box of the Dabinett as advertised on the label. But instead of throwing a party she would keep the box for her own use. From my side, I can say that Harry’s Dabinett is indeed one of the best single-varietal ciders made from Dabinett I had. Also, I think it is a good drop if you want to start your journey with real cider as it should simply appeal to anyone. 4.5/6 

Availability: in the UK from their online shop, Beers by post, Dike & Son, in the Netherlands from Ciderlab.

Price: purchased online from Ciderlab at 4.25 EUR