Cider Bohemia Cannabis Cider

It may come as a surprise to you, but the Czech Republic has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in Europe. Moreover, many Czechs grow and use cannabis for their own use. It still does not mean that it is legal to do so. Anyway, it was just a matter of time to see a product combining two Czech passions into one, a cider infused with cannabis by Cider Bohemia. Don’t expect to find THC here, since their cider was infused with flowers and leaves of Cannabis sativa, not C. indica.

Company: Cider Bohemia
Place of Origin: Pilzen, Czech Republic
Ingredients: cannabis with unknown Czech apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: semi-dry
ABV: 4.8%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a lightly hazy straw yellow with a short-lived head. Medium carbonated. Body is light.

Aroma/Nose: it smells mainly of marjoram, a herb typically used to marinate meat with (not to confuse with oregano)

Taste: it starts with low sweetness and moderate acidity, which is then taken over by green notes with flavours of both green and unripe apples and a gentle astringency.

Overall: Cannabis Cider basically tastes like a light soft drink with pleasant green astringent herbal notes. I must say that it was a quite interesting experience. Perhaps the taste was not spectacular, but not unpleasant either. I think that Cannabis Cider has a chance to appeal to a wider audience. Anyway, I am definitely looking forward to trying other ciders from their lineup. 3/6 

Availability: at many food and farmer markets across the Czech Republic or in the InCider Bar in Prague. Online from their online shop, from Opily Jabko (they ship abroad!).

Price: sampled at Slavnost Cideru 2017 at Cider Bohemia’s stand, 0.2L (30 CZK-1.15 EUR) 

Bignose & Beardy Cockhaisy

Ever heard of a Cider Club? Would you consider joining one? As long as you are a cider drinker and live in the UK you can join Bignose & Beardy Cider Club, which was just recently set up. Bignose & Beardy produce various ciders in small batches and make them available to the members of their cider club only. The fact that it is limited to UK residents makes me really sad as even I can’t join the club and sample their unique ciders. However, in my opinion, it is a good business model for smaller producers. If your apples are short in supply or you just want to experiment with unique blends, this is a really good opportunity to make your business bloom. Instead of bringing limited edition ciders to the market you just run a cider club.

Company: Bignose & Beardy 
Place of Origin: Framfield, Sussex, UK
Apples: from local orchards
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6%
Package type: 330ml brown glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with no head. No carbonated. Body is light to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is not very strong, but I can distinguish a few aromas such as subtle wild notes of barnyard and leather, yellow apple skin and flesh. Also, notes of crisp and fermented apples.

Taste: it starts indeed dry, but not bone dry, with a lingering bitter taste, which is felt throughout the whole sip. The mid-palate has a moderate smoky note, light barnyard and leather, taste of yellow sour apple flesh and skin with a relatively high acidity also perceivable throughout the sip. In the finish subtle astringency appears.

Overall: Cockhaisy is a decent cider, made mostly from dessert or eating apples judging by the taste. If not the disturbing bitter taste I would say it’s really pleasant. But the lingering bitterness is not something that will appeal to anyone. If one could make this bitter taste go away I would be happy to have the Cockhaisy again. But only then. 3/6 

Availability: you have to join their Bignose & Beardy Cider Club in order to receive their cider. Membership is limited to UK residents.

Price: The Cockhaisy was in my cider subscription box delivered monthly by Orchard Box.

Vin-Kon Cydr Bursztynowy

When I was browsing the Internet, I stumbled upon a new Polish cider brand, Cydr Bursztynowy (Polish for Amber Cider). I was excited at first as I thought that there is a new craft cider on the market. But, then I tracked the company behind the Cydr Bursztynowy and it turned out that it’s just another fruit juice concentrate manufacturer trying to take advantage of the cider boom in the Polish market.

Company: Vin-Kon S.A.
Place of Origin: Konin, Greater Poland, Poland
Apples: unknown Polish apple varieties
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy orange with a short-lived white foam, which reduces to a ring. Medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: smells of dirty old cloth and sulphur with notes of commercial apple juice. Disgusting!

Taste: it tastes syrupy sweet, as if someone added some kind of syrup to it, no acidity to break the sweetness. Followed by notes of commercial apple juice and sulphur. That’s all I’m getting here.

Overall: At first I was surprised when the bartender asked me, whether I want any ice or orange slice in my cider. But, after taking the first sniff and subsequently the first sip I understood what he was getting at. Cydr Bursztynowy is a horrible and dull alco-pop with a just terrible nose. Seriously, it smelled of dirty old cloth! Without an orange slice barely drinkable. Never again! 0/6

Availability: only in Poland. Swojskie Alkohole in Gdańsk, Vodalko in Konin, Duzy Ben in Poznań.

Price: had it in Odra-Pany in Wrocław at 10 PLN (2.40 EUR)

Döhne Apfelschaumwein Brut 2013

In the northern part of Hesse, 15 km away from Kassel in Schauenburg Joachim Döhne makes his exquisite Apfelwein using the traditional champagne method. Although the cidery was established only in 1996 he and his Apfelschaumwein are already well known and highly regarded in the German as well as international cider world. Let’s find out why. Shall we? 🙂

Company: Brennerei und Kellerei Joachim Döhne
Place of Origin: Schauenburg-Breitenbach, Hesse, Germany
Apples: a cuvée of Boskoop, Jakob Lebel, Schöner von Herrenhut and Kaiser Wilhelm
Sweetness as per label: brut
ABV: 10%
Package type: 375ml green glass champagne-corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with a large white head, created by massive bubbles. Carbonation is the champagne type. I love to watch those hypnotizing strings of bubbles.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is dry and has notes of pears with ripe apple skins and flesh.  More distant flavours include wood, and something earthy. The aroma reminds me a bit of French cidre.

Taste: it begins very dry with white wine notes and lingering moderate to high lemon-like acidity. The mid-palate has overripe apples, red apple flesh and skins. The finish is tart and dry with soft tannins. Also, it has a moderate astringency with a mildly bitter and wood flavour. The astringency slightly increases after a while. Alcohol, despite the high ABV, is not perceivable in the taste but gives you warming effect in the throat.

Overall: I loved it! Seriously! Both the palate and the nose show complexity, good structure and depth. Every sip was a pure pleasure. Taste wise somewhere between a French cidre, German Apfelwein and champagne. Döhne’s Brut is just a perfect bubbly to celebrate New Years’s Eve, your birthday or the fact that champagne made from apples can taste divine! A must try! 5/6 

Availability: as for now only shops in Germany seem to stock Döhne’s Apfelschaumwein. Locally at the farm and online from Brennerei und Kellerei Joachim Döhne. Online available from Apfelweinkontor, Apfel im GlasAhle Wurscht Shop, Kaufhaus Hessen, Weinzeche.

Price: purchased online from Apfelweinkontor at 8.5 EUR

De Vergeten Appel Stam 2015

‘De Vergeten Appel’ actually means ‘forgotten apples’. Why forgotten? Because Johan Holleman, who is in charge of cider making at De Verboten Appel from Tilburg, Netherlands uses apples from old, neglected and often forgotten orchards. Let’s give it a try!

Company: De Vergeten Appel
Place of Origin: Tilburg, Netherlands
Apples: unknown
Sweetness as per label: unknown
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 750ml green champagne bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or flute

Appearance: pours a cloudy very pale yellow straw to greenish yellow with no head. Lightly sparkling, natural carbonation. Body is low. Some sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: not so much on the nose. The aroma has fermenting apples with a strong sulphur note. After a few further sniffs, notes of green tart apples with apple skin appeared. Overall, the nose is dominated by sulphur.

Taste: the first sip is very dry without any residual sugar and with medium to high lemon-like acidity. Further notes that appear are of strong sulphur with light watery and medium bitter taste. Also, hints of pear and green apple.

Overall: this is not exactly what I hoped for when opening the bottle. A cider dominated by sulphur in both aroma and taste. Moreover, the taste of sulphur overpowered and killed other flavours making this cider undrinkable. Even pumpkin cider from Beard & Sabre (see the review here), which also had plenty of sulphur on the palate, was drinkable and tasted rather pleasant. I wanted to introduce Dutch craft cider to my family and friends as they never tried one. Unfortunately, I picked this particular cider for the tasting. And, nobody enjoyed having the Stam. It was terrible! Hence, I wouldn’t recommend this cider to anyone. Hopefully, other ciders from their lineup will not disappoint me. 2/6 

Availability: used to be available through Ciderlab and Cidercider.

Price: It was one of the bottles featured in the De vergeten Appel discovery box that I purchased from Ciderlab.

Hunt’s Sweet

If you take a look at the car or IT industry, you will clearly see that literally every second a new, better, faster or more efficient device, software, etc. is developed. But, it seems that the cider making business doesn’t need such progress. Like the water-hydraulic press to press apple juice, which was installed on the Hunt’s farm over 70 years ago by Robert Hunt’s grandfather, and is still in use. Perhaps a new press would be more efficient in pressing juice, but would their cider taste any better? I don’t think so.

Company: Hunt’s Cider
Place of Origin: Grove Orchard, Stoke Gabriel, Totnes, Devon, UK
Ingredients: apples grown on the farm
ABV: 6%
Package type: 500ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass, eventually snifter

Appearance: pours a clear golden with no head. No signs of carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is wild with notes of barnyard, wood, fermented apples, and a gentle vinegary flavour. Can’t wait to take the first sip!

Taste: it is advertised as sweet, but I would put it at the less sweet end of that classification, medium dry I think. The sweet taste is accompanied by low lemon-like acidity. Fermented apples, strong tannins, wood, vinegar and a hint of solvent on the mid-palate. The Sweet is highly astringent in the finish with a distant bitter and slightly watery taste.

Overall: the Sweet from Hunts is a very tasty and decent cider. I enjoyed it. It’s rich, complex and definitely made from quality cider apples. However, I would advise drinking this drop when you want to enjoy the end of the day by relaxing in the hammock or on a couch when you don’t plan to chat to anyone. The Sweet is highly astringent and makes your mouth very dry, thus making speaking a very difficult task. Trust me on this. Anyway, I would have it again. 4.5/6 

Availability: Hunts introduced a new range, but the Sweet should be still available locally in Bristol at Bottles & Books (they open only in September 2017).

Price: it came with my cider subscription from Orchard Box.

Sigelsberg Suchý

Sigelsberg is a cider maker from Slovakia, who took the 2nd place in the poll at Slavnost Cideru 2017. Wait, Slovakia? Doesn’t Sigelsberg sound German? Sigelsberg is a name used under the Austro-Hungarian rule for the city of Štiavnické Bane, Slovakia where the cider makers come from. The company was established in 2011 after a very good apple harvest in their orchard. After a several rounds of experiments, the recipe was developed and their cider was ready to commercialize.

Company: Piarg house s.r.o.
Place of Origin: Štiavnické BaneBanská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Apples: apples from Slovak orchards
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 5.9%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear straw golden with no head. Lightly carbonated. The body is light.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is rather weak as I can get only flavours of fermented and crisp apples.

Taste: the first sip is slightly sweet, with a medium acidity and moderate tannins. The mid-palate has unripe green and tart apples with other green notes and a sharp touch of alcohol. The finish is dry with a touch of bitterness.

Overall: Sigelsberg’s Suchý tastes natural and is drinkable. Even refreshing. But I can’t say that the taste is remarkable. I think the Suchý is a good and interesting alternative to ciders from concentrate and may appeal to many. Hence, the 2nd place in the poll. But it’s just slightly better than average. 3/6 

Availability: in many restaurants and bars across Slovakia. Online in Slovakia from Bottles.  In Prague sometimes available in the InCider Bar.

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