A.K. Cider Jadrnička

Jadernička moravska (Pépin de Moravie) is an old Moravian apple variety, which is the most widely grown apple tree in the Carpathian region of Moravia. You may call it a Moravian heirloom apple variety. The reason why Jadernička moravska is so popular among cider makers and apple brandy producers is the optimal ratio of sugar and acid in this cultivar. Earlier this year I reviewed Limonka, which was a delicious cider from A.K. Cider, made from this particular apple variety. At Slavnost Cideru 2017 I sampled Jadrnička from A.K. Cider, which is a version of Limonka that wasn’t barrel-aged, as per information I received from Martin, the brain behind the A.K. Cider.


Company: A.K. CIDER-Vizovice
Place of Origin: Vizovice, Czech Republic
Apples: a single varietal cider from Jaderniička moravska (Pépin de Moravie)
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass 
Note:
unfiltered, no sulphites

Appearance: pours a clear golden with light orange hues and no head. Lightly carbonated. Body is light to medium.

Aroma/Nose: The nose is rich and has wild notes of barnyard, fermented apple, leather with a slightly acidic touch. Very inviting.

Taste: it starts slightly watery with a medium to high level of lemon-like acidity followed by green notes, including lime. I can also get a light smoky note with a touch of fermented apples, barnyard and light astringency on the mid-palate. The finish is dry and has a pleasant taste of grapefruit-like bitterness.

Overall: To be honest, I preferred the barrel-aged version of the Jadrnička, the Limonka, which was just richer in terms of flavors. However, Jadrnička is a very decent and  drinkable cider. And, as I mentioned in my recap of Slavnost Cideru 2017, one of the best cider of this year’s edition. Since it is rather a dry cider, I think it will not find a very broad audience in those who start with cider, but among cider lovers the feedback will be surely very positive. Cheers! 4.5/6 

Availability: only on draught in many restaurants and bars across Czech Republic.

Price: I have received the first sample during Slavnost Cideru 2017 for free from Martin. But, since I really enjoyed this cider I have returned several times to their booth and paid a regular price of 25 CZK (1 EUR) for 0.2L.

Apple County Cider Co Dabinett 2015

Apple County Cider Co is a relatively young cider company, established only in 2014 at Whitehouse Farm, near Skenfrith in Monmouthshire, Wales, very close to the English/Welsh border. The company might be young, but not the apple cider orchards, which were planted in 1969 by Ben Culpin’s stepfather. Today Ben, together with his wife Steph, runs a successful family business and produce award-wining ciders, including International Cider Challenge medals (Bronze, Silver and Gold) for flavor and branding and a prestigious Great Taste Awards “Golden Fork” for overall best food and drink product from across Wales.



Company: Apple County Cider Co
Place of Origin: Monmouthshire, Wales, UK
Apples: made from a single variety Dabinett
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 500ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with orange hues and no head. Lightly carbonated. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: it smells of fermented red apples with caramel and cinnamon. A hint of alcohol is perceivable.

Taste: It starts medium sweet with low acidity and a hint of smoky ham. On the mid-palate notes of cinnamon and some spices with red apples, apple skins. The finish is dry and moderately astringent with light touch of bitterness to the end. Alcohol is slightly perceivable giving one the warming effect.

Overall: You can easily say without even looking at the label that high quality bittersweet apples were used for this cider. Apple Cider Co’s Dabinett reminds me slightly of another Welsh cider, the Black Dragon from Gwynt y Ddraig. However, the Dabinett has much better structure and a pleasant aftertaste. Perhaps a tiny bit too sweet for my liking, but I honestly think that it is a great pour and would appeal to practically everyone. However, due to the warming effect coming from the alcohol I think it can be considered a very good option for winter evenings. Eventually for a cold summer evening. Anyway, Apple County Cider Co’s Dabinett is definitely wort a purchase! 4.5/6 

Availability: haven’t come across a shop outside UK selling their cider. So UK only, on the farm and from the online shop or This is Beer.co.uk.

Price: came with my craft cider subscription from Orchard Box

Where to drink/buy cider in Prague?

As a natural follow-up to my visit to Prague back in June when I attended Slavnost Cideru 2017, I was going to compile a list of bars, shops, where you can find cider in Prague. However, after spending four days in Prague I made an interesting observation that cider is available almost everywhere in this city. Even at a kiosk I noticed bottled cider from a craft cider maker, F.H. Prager (I reviewed their Perry here). It might not always be craft cider or real cider that is on offer, but I think it is a huge progress and it shows that cider indeed massively gained in popularity over the last few years in Czech Republic! Also, I must admit that in terms of availability of my favorite drop, Prague is a long way ahead of my home city Berlin.

Since cider is widely available in Prague, I have decided to focus on spots dedicated to Czech craft cider.

Bars

InCider Bar is a cider bar and, thus a must-visit spot in Prague for every cider pilgrim. Based outside the touristic area in Vršovice, which is a popular neighborhood among locals with a great selection of bars, restaurants and cafes. InCider Bar is run by Vašek, a very warm and friendly guy, who knows everything about cider and can easily recommend you a cider that will satisfy your taste buds. Usually there are three different ciders on tap available, the Harry Sparrow from Aspall and two rotating ciders from various Czech craft cider makers. You can find their current tap offer here. Also, in the InCider Bar you will find a great selection of bottled ciders from mainly Czech cider makers, but also Slovak cider makers, and to a lesser extent Spanish, French, English, German and Dutch cider makers. For offered bottled ciders in the InCider Bar check here. If you’re overwhelmed by their cider selection and don’t know what to go for, just ask Vašek to assist you. Overall, I highly recommend visiting InCider Bar when you are in Prague!

Another spot worth mentioning here is the BeerGeek Bar. It’s actually a craft beer bar, but they usually have at least one cider available on draught. Last time when I checked  they had a cider from Edge Brewing Barcelona. Click here for their list of beers & ciders currently available on draught. In addition, they stock bottled ciders from Cidrerie Kliment (I reviewed their Demi-Sec here), Magnetic Apple and Rossbach.

SHOP

Dobrý Cider is a shop dedicated to cider. They have a wide selection mainly of cider from Czech cider makers such as A.K. Cider (click here for my review of their Limonka), Magnetic Apple or Cidrerie Kliment, just to name a few of them. They also stock a number of foreign ciders featuring English cider from Aspall and Dunkertons, Spanish sidra from Bereziartua and French cidre from Le Brun or Val de Rance. If you want to drink cider on the spot, you can have Aspall, which is available on tap. In addition, they run an online-shop, but when I reached out to them via email earlier this year to ask, whether they ship abroad, there was, unfortunately, no reply to my enquiry from their side.

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

OBC Strong

OBC (Original Berliner Cidre) was one of the first ciders in Berlin made entirely from locally grown apples. Established in 2009 in Berlin by two friends, Urs Nikolaus Breitesten and Thomas Godel whose background is in brewing. Currently their line-up features four ciders, Classic, Strong, Rosé and Bio. I’ve decided to start with the Strong.

Company: OBC Cidre GmbH
Place of Origin: BerlinGermany
Apples: undisclosed old German varieties grown locally
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or flute

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a large white head, which only slowly dissipates. Carbonation is artificial and I would describe it as medium.

Aroma/Nose: It smells of fermented apples and apple juice with pleasant sweet honey/flowery notes. Also, there is a slightly acidic smell.

Taste: it starts with a moderate watery taste with rather low level of sweetness and acidity. The mid-palate has notes of apple juice and smoky ham. The finish is dry and slightly astringent with a touch of white wine.

Overall: OBC Strong is an average thirst quencher that will satisfy everyone, who is in need for cider in Berlin. It lacks depth and complexity, but I would classify OBC’s Strong as drinkable. Also, I would buy it again If I were out in Berlin craving for a drinkable cider made from apples not from concentrate. But it’s still far away from being delicious. 3/6 

Availability: you can find the Strong in every Späti (it’s a term used in Berlin for a small corner shop/kiosk open 24/7 selling beer, milk, candies, etc). In addition, you can find OBC in Bierlinie, Ambrosetti or KaDeWe. Online from Weinquelle Hornig 

Price: paid 1.99 EUR in a local Späti in Berlin.

Winnica Chodorowa Cydr Wytrawny 2014

Winnica Chodorowa is actually a vineyard, not a cidery. Established only in 2012, in a village Chodorowa, located in the scenic Pogórze Rożnowskie area in the southeast corner of Lesser Poland, in southern Poland. Perfect area to grow wine grapes and apples! Their cider was made from apples coming from an old orchard, belonging to the vineyard. Interestingly, some of the first apple trees were planted here over 100 years ago. Let’s try it out!

Company: Winnica Chodorowa
Place of Origin: KRUŻLOWA WYŻNA, Chodorowa, Lesser Poland, Polska
Apples: undisclosed apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6.9%
Package type: 750ml green glass bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a light cloudy pale golden with a little white head, which reduces to a ring around the glass. Slightly sparkling.

Aroma/Nose: The nose is dry and sour. Smells of honey with flower notes and a touch of green sour apples. Very refreshing.

Taste: the first sip tastes very dry and very sour resembling Sauerkraut a little bit, but you get used to it after a few sips. The initial acidity is broken by green apple skin and flesh with a pleasant hint of honey. The finish is dry with a touch of grapefruit peel, leaving a very pleasant green apple aftertaste.

Overall: Chodorowas cider tastes very unique. It starts very dry and very sour, which will definitely not appeal to everyone. But as I said earlier, your taste buds get used to this taste after the initial ‘shock’. After a while the taste is dominated by pleasant and refreshing green apple and honey notes. I hope I didn’t scare you too much 😉 I’m sure that Chodorowas cider would taste splendid on a hot summer day. I enjoyed it and would buy more. 4.5/6

Availability: only locally through Polish wine stores such as Winnacja.pl or Produkty Niewinne i Winne. 

Price: had it at Cyderia at 15 PLN (3.60 EUR) for a glass. Cyderia closed it doors earlier this month.

Carboy Cidre

Carboy cidre is one of the new cider makers in the Czech cider scene. They set up the company only in 2016, so no wonder that I didn’t see them at Slavnost Cideru 2016. Carboy cidre is run by Vladimir Marek, who owns an apple orchard in Kladno. His family has been experimenting with many different types of liqueurs before they decided to focus entirely on cider making.

Company: Carboy Cidre
Place of Origin: Kladno, Czech Republic
Apples: apples from own orchards
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a light cloudy straw with no head. Lightly carbonated.

Aroma/Nose: the gas has notes of yeast, sulphur, green unripe apples and flavors typical for still fermenting and fresh unmatured cider. Unpleasant.

Taste: it begins very watery and dry with no residual sweetness and moderate acidity. I can also get unpleasant yeasty flavor with sulphur and green notes. No tannins perceivable.

Overall: It’s good to see a new company making cider from real apples and without addition of chemical junk. But, I think there is a lot about cider making that guys from Carboy Cidre need to learn. As in the current state this cider is undrinkable due to a horrible smell and taste. My friend, who joined me at Slavnost Cideru even asked me, how could anyone sell anything like this? Hence, my advice to the company would be, let your cider age and rack off your cider sooner. As when cider sits too long on its lees it gets yeasty and develop unpleasant off-flavors as those present in your cider. Hope your next cider will be better though! 1/6 

Availability: unknown

Price: sampled at Slavnost Cideru 2017, 0.2L (25CZK =1 EUR)

Gwatkin Stoke Red

The farm in Dore Abbey, which is run by the Gwatkins since 1919, has a very rich history of cider making dating back even to medieval times. Cider has been simply always made here. Interestingly, similarly to many other families and cidery’s, they went to the commercial stage of cider making only in 1992. Their ciders have picked up countless awards so when I saw that the Williams Ale & Cider House has one of their ciders on draught I knew I had to try it! Even though it happened to be the sweet Stoke Red…


Company: Gwatkin Cider
Place of Origin: Moorhampton Park Farm in Abbey Dore, Herefordshire, UK
Apples: Stoke Red
Sweetness as per label: sweet
ABV: 7.5%
Package type: on draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, flute or snifter

Appearance: pours a hazy amber with raspberry hues. A little bit of foam in the beginning with flat carbonation. The body is oily.

Aroma/Nose: The Stoke Red smells slightly vinegary with wild notes of beeswax, leather, and barnyard. Also, it’s fruity, with refreshing sweet raspberry and a touch of strawberry with red apples.

Taste: As you could expect from a sweet cider, it begins very sweet (too sweet for me) with rather low-acetic acidity. The mid-palate is funky with flavors of beeswax, barnyard, leather and wood. Also, notes of raspberries with a delicate strawberry and red apple skin appeared. The finish has a lingering astringent taste.

Overall: Although I usually don’t drink sweet cider, this time I have decided to go for the Stoke Red, which is a sweet cider. The reason is that I have never tried cider from Gwatkin before and wanted to take the opportunity. I assumed at the start it would be too sweet and hence less appealing to me. I was right only about the level of sweetness. The Stoke Red was indeed to sweet for my liking, but those notes of funk and red berries with a strong astringent taste are really something! Only the level of sweetness stopped me from taking another pint. Great scrumpy! 4/6

Availability: in their farm shop, and online store.

Price: 4.75 GBP (5.45 EUR) at The Williams Ale & Cider House in London.