Cider in Copenhagen: tasting notes

In Copenhagen bars and restaurants, you will not only find locally made Danish cider from Æblerov, Decideret or Ciderrevolution, but also cider or perry from a number of the UK cider producers. To my surprise, I got a taste of not only widely available cider form Sheppy’s or Westons but also perry from Hecks. The day before I arrived, I saw even cider from Ventons available in one of the Copenhagen bars. So, it seems that quality cider is gaining in popularity in this beautiful Nordic city.

Here is what I’ve tried during my visit to Copenhagen:

Lord Nelson Danish Mistress (ABV 5.9%; 36 DKK for half-pint can in Lord Nelson Bar)

img_1857Lord Nelson is actually a small bar in Copenhagen but the owners make their own English-style cider from Danish apples grown near Skælskør. Their Danish Mistress is a medium dry cider. Appearance: cloudy, golden, no carbonation, no foam. Medium body. Aroma: moderately strong of lemon, sour, funk, low sulphur. Taste: medium dry with medium acidity of lemon and vinegar, a touch of sulphur- fireworks like. Lingering vinegar and funk. Overall: I must say that I enjoyed having the Danish Mistress as it reminded me of English-style cider but with a local touch to it. Also, it tasted natural with higher acidity than a typical English cider. For those who don’t mind funk. 4/6

Westons Old Rosie (ABV 6.8%; half a pint in Charlie’s Bar)

img_1860Westons is one of the biggest cider producers in the UK. Old Rosie is actually the name given to their 1921 Aveling and Porter steam roller. Appearance: cloudy, pale amber, no carbonation, no foam. Low to medium body. Aroma: sweet of caramel, bittersweet apples and vinegar. Taste: medium sweet with low acidity, smokiness, light sulphur, a sweetness of sweet apples and caramel. Finishes with a light bitterness and red apples with low astringency. Overall: Old Rosie has many notes and structure. But although I enjoyed it in the beginning, drinking even half a pint was a real challenge. Old Rosie was just too sweet for my liking.  But overall, it’s not a bad drop. 4/6

Sheppy’s 200 Special Edition (ABV 5%; 46 DKK for 25cl in Taphouse)

img_1866200 Special Edition cider was created to celebrate 200 years of making cider by the Sheppys’s family. It was introduced in 2016 but still seems to be available. Appearance: clear, pale amber, no carbonation, no foam. Low to medium body. Aroma: caramel. Nothing more I can get. Taste: starts sweet with low acidity, watery, caramel, buttery. Low astringency, vanilla, red apple and smokiness. Overall: Briefly, it tasted like a blend of cider apples with cookers, which is not necessarily bad. The tannin was gentle and smooth. It had depth and structure. But again, I found it far too sweet for my liking. 4.5/6

Heck’s Farmhouse Perry (ABV 6.5% %; 40 DKK for 25cl in Taphouse)

img_1867The Heck’s family has been making cider in Somerset since 1841. Apart from cider apple trees, they grow perry pear trees. Appearance: almost clear, golden, no carbonation, low body, no foam. Aroma: vinegar, grass, pear, gooseberry. Taste: moderately sweet, low acidity of vinegar, watery, gooseberry, low astringency, grassy, vermouth-like aftertaste. Overall: it’s a farmhouse-style perry so it’s clearly not for every palate. It is different from other perries I tried so far as it has a lovely scent of gooseberries. I liked it but the watery note was simply too strong making it not only light but actually tasting like flavoured water. 3.5/6

Æblerov/Mikkeler Citra Dry Hopped Cider (ABV 5.8%; in Mikkeler Bar)

img_1868Æblerov teamed up with Mikkeler and made a cider dry hopped with Citra. Appearance: very cloudy, pale orange, low carbonation, large head that reduces to a ring. Low to medium body. Aroma: citrus of hops, fresh unripe mango. Moderately strong. Taste: dry with low acidity of lemon and vinegar, fresh unripe mango, nail polish remover, medium astringency, low sulphur. Overall: The Citra Hopped Cider is very drinkable.  But as it is often the case with hopped ciders, I’m not sure if I’m drinking a beer or cider. Especially, that I couldn’t really taste any apple taste at all. Only delicious hops. Nevertheless, it went down very easily so I had it again at Copenhagen airport. 4/6

Heck’s Red Blakeney Red (ABV 5.1%; in Fermentoren)

img_1882After a blend of perry pears, I had a chance to sample their single varietal perry made with Red Blakeney Red pears. Appearance: almost clear, golden, no carbonation, low body, no foam. Aroma: nail polish remover, raspberries, caramel, vinegar, grass, gooseberry, low bitterness. Taste: moderately sweet, low acidity of vinegar, watery, gooseberry, low astringency, grassy, vermouth-like aftertaste. Overall: I never had a perry like this before. It tasted lovely, fruity, light and very refreshing. Surprisingly, I liked it much better than their Farmhouse Blend. It was also watery but it didn’t disturb that much. A lovely drop. 4.5/6

Æblerov Lærkehøj  (ABV 5.9%; in Holm Cider)

img_1891Lærkehøj is a blend of Alkmene & Rød Aroma from Danish organic orchards. Appearance: almost clear, golden, no carbonation, no head. Low to medium body. Aroma: raspberry, nail polish remover, vinegar, low caramel. Taste: dry, medium acidity of lemon and vinegar, fruity, low bitterness. Overall: Every time I sample a cider from Æblerov I’m very impressed. I’d never tell it was made from eaters! Lærkehøj is rich, full-bodied and light bitterness is beautifully rounded by medium acidity and citrusy taste to it. I’d love to have it again! 4.5/6

 

Ciderrevolution Cider 2017 (ABV 5.5%; in Holm Cider)

img_1892Paw and Kristoffer from Ciderrevolution contracted cider makers in France to make a French-style cider from Danish apples. Appearance: cloudy, pale golden, medium carbonation, little foam. Low to medium body. Aroma: burnt sugar, lemon, caramel, yellow apples. Taste: a residual sweetness of burnt sugar, low to medium acidity, fruity, lemon, apple-y. Mineral taste, low bitterness. Overall: Incredible! It was one of these ciders that make you feel closer to heaven with every sip you take. Pure pleasure! I was oohing and ahhing all the time. It’s not only extremely tasty but also interesting as you can taste the influence of Danish apples and French-cidermaking methods in this cider. If that taste would have lasted a bit longer, I wouldn’t hesitate to rate it higher. A brilliant drop! 5/6

 Decideret Cider Spraelsk (ABV 5.9%)

img_1898Spraelsk is a lightly sparkling cider that was aged in oak barrels. Appearance: almost clear, golden, low carbonation. Low body. Sediment in the bottle. Aroma: not much. Vinegar and light nail polish with raspberries. Taste: dry with low sweetness, medium acidity, low astringency, low Sauerkraut, mineral, yeasty aftertaste. Overall: I hate to say it but Spraelsk was very average. I assume it was left too long on its lees as it had a taste typical for this type of cider. Also, I couldn’t get any notes typical for barrel ageing. Cornelius, cider maker at Decideret Cider tried this bottle together with me and said that it tasted completely different last time he tried it. Some ciders just don’t age well. 2.5/6

Mergelsø November Cider 2017 (ABV 5.9%;  DKK per glass in Holm Cider)

img_1915Mergelsø is the name of a lake in Jutland. On the shore of this lake grow wild apple trees along with Danish apples, which are used to make this cider. Appearance: almost clear, golden, very low carbonation, no foam. Low body. Aroma: moderately strong. Low sweetness, low acidity, light bitterness, low nail polish remover, light Sauerkraut. Taste: low sweetness, low acidity, low bitterness, a hint of nail polish remover and a note of Sauerkraut in the finish. Overall: November Cider 2017 tastes natural and quite pleasant. Its taste is dry yet fruity and nicely lingers on. But I think I would prefer it to drink it with food than on its own. 3.5/6

In summary, although to many of you the first Copenhagen cider that may come to your mind would be most probably Somersby, Copenhagen has much more to offer. English ciders and two perrys that I sampled during my stay in Copenhagen, were just a good example that quality products, especially if they taste natural, are a preferred option by many local cider drinkers. As for Danish cider, I think you may say that Danish cider producers developed their own cider style. It’s a dry and funky, sparkling cider, a cross between Spanish, English-style cider with a sparkle typical for French cider. Only, cider made by Ciderrevolution stood out from this trend. I enjoyed almost every Danish cider I sampled in Copenhagen. And, the Ciderrevolution Cider 2017 and the Æblerov Lærkehøj were my two favourites. Although Danish apples are basically eaters or cookers, Danish cider makers seem to know how to make a very drinkable, rich cider using apple varieties such as Alkmene, Rød Aroma or Ingrid Marie. Overall, the future of Danish cider looks very bright. If there is a cider festival, Rigtig Cider in 2019, I might seriously consider coming to Copenhagen again this year.