BlakStoc Omg Ugly Apple Cider

After the moreish Buddha’s Hand Lemon Cider I’m giving BlakStoc’s another cider a try. Omg Ugly Apple Cider. Omg are the first letters of hops used in this cider, Oak, Mosaic and Golding. Company: Blakstoc Cider GmbH
Place of Origin: Vienna, Austria
Ingredients: Styrian apples with the addition of Oak, Mosaic and Golding hops
ABV: 7%
Package type: 330ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden yellow with a fizzy short-lived white head. Medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: it smells sweet, fruity and floral of elderflower and pear. There is also a herbal note to it.

Taste: the initial taste is slightly watery with low sweetness and medium lemon-like acidity. Elderflower and pear with a herbal note on the mid-palate. It finishes dry with a touch of bitterness coming from apple seeds.

Overall: Omg from BlakStoc is drinkable and tastes quite ok. However, it doesn’t taste like cider at all. Hops that were added to this cider dominate the palate giving a floral character and covering the appley taste. Nothing special. For those who can’t live without hops. 3.5/6

Availability: widely available in Austria (Der Grissemann or Beer Lovers). Also in Italy (e.g. Hops Beer Shop, or Tutti Fritti in Milan; Birreria della Torre in Trezzo sull’Adda), the UK (Newcomer Wines in London), the Czech Republic and Germany.

Price: purchased during my trip to Italy from Pizza Che Storia in Montegrotto Terme, Italy at 4 EUR.


West Milton Dorset Starlight

Previously, I sampled the moreish Lancome Rising from the West Milton Cider Co, a cider maker based in Devon, UK. West Milton has also an interesting background. Nick Poole started making cider in 2000 cause there were too many apples in the orchard they rented for their horses. So once cider was made, Nick created a cider club, which evolved into the West Milton Cider Co. Today I’m sampling their award-winning Dorset Starlight.Company: West Milton Cider Co
Place of Origin: 1 Pear Tree Cottages, West Milton, Bridport, Dorset, UK
Apples: a blend including Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Chisel Jersey
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 6%
Package type: 500 ml clear bottle corked bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, snifter or white wine glass

Note: No sulphites, unpasteurised

Appearance: pours a hazy pale amber with orange hues and no head. No visible signs of carbonation. Body is low. Sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is tannic, a bit acidic as well, with red apples, hints of funk, lemon, fermented apples, caramel, and toffee. My mouth gets watery as it is a proper cider smell.

Taste: the first sip is only slightly sweet with low to medium acidity of lemon. The taste gets slightly watery with an earthy note and flavours of red apples, apple seeds, medium astringent taste, a smoky note, and of sweetener, caramel and watermelon. Lightly biting feeling on the tongue due to carbonation toward the end with light beeswax, leather,  and a hint of grapefruit.

Overall: this is first-rate stuff. It tastes exactly how cider is supposed to taste like. Delicious palate, multiple notes that are essential to name any cider a proper drop. The Dorset Starlight tastes light and refreshing yet complex with yummy apple forward notes and lovely tannins. Tannins are not too strong, but still there. Not too sweet, not too wild, not too sour. A true cider for everyone. Looks that I have another favourite cider company. Only the light watery note could be less watery, but this is just a cosmetic change. I’ll be definitely ordering this drop again. 4.5/6 

Availability: in the UK from Cider Supermarket and Scrattings. In other European countries e.g. from Cider Lab.

Price: purchased online from Scrattings at 2.80 GBP.

Thistly Cross Original

Scotch whisky is a key part of Scottish culture. And, cider? Well, Scotland has only a few cider makers, and Thistly Cross Cider is one of them. Thistly Cross Cider was set up only in Autumn 2008 and is made by Peter Stuart (cider maker) and Ian Rennie (farmer) on Belhaven Fruit Farm, close to Dunbar. The Original is claimed to be an award-winning cider, but I haven’t found a single award for the Original. Only for the cider manufacturer or for other ciders from their lineup. Company: Thistly Cross
Place of Origin: Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland
Apples: a blend of Scottish heritage apples
Sweetness as per label: sweet
ABV: 6.2%
Package type: 500ml brown glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a short-lived white head. Medium carbonated. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: smells fruity of red apples, apple juice, light raspberry and other red fruits with notes of white wine. Slightly sweetish.

Taste: the first sip is moderately sweet with low acidity. The mid-palate has fruity notes of red apples, apple juice and red berries with white wine notes. The aftertaste is also fruity with notes of apple juice and berries. Also, light bitterness and some spiciness from alcohol. It gives you a light warming effect of the alcohol.

Overall: I’m not a big fan of ciders made from dessert apples, as they tend to be too sweet, watery and boring. Perhaps the Original didn’t taste boring and watery, exceptionally sweet. I’m sure it will find a grip on people, who will find it appealing as it’s not bad. It’s just not a cider for me. 3/6 

Availability: Widely available. Locally from Asda, Sainsbury’s. From their online store, Fetch the drinks, Cider & More, Britische Biere, Depot Shop Kiel, Ciderwinkel. Locally in Berlin from Hopfen & Malz or in the Monterey Bar. In Frankfurt from Naiv.

Price:  when I was cider shopping at Hopfen & Malz in Berlin.

Böhm Ciderwerkstatt #12

Actually, the Böhm Ciderwerkstatt #12 is my very first cider-beer hybrid. Manfred got inspired by his sister who brews beer and gave him some beer wort so he could experiment with his cider. So #12 is made with wort used for Kellerbier and apple juice, which were subsequently fermented with champagne yeast. Company: Böhm Cider Werkstatt
Place of Origin: Mulfingen, Baden-Wüttemberg, Germany
wort used for Kellerbier, apple juice
Package type:
 330 ml amber glass bottle with flip-top cap
Recommended type of glass: wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy deep golden with a little white head that quickly dissipates. Lightly sparkling. Body is also medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with notes of wheat beer, banana, yeast and alcohol. Lightly acidic.

Taste: my first impression is lightly sweet with low acidity of lemon. Notes of banana, wheat beer, alcohol and metallic notes. Finishes dry with a mix of bananas and cloves and a touch of warmth from the alcohol.

Overall: After sampling a few ciders made by Manfred, I already recognise his cider making style as there’s a unique pattern. Similarly to the previously reviewed #8, this is not a good summer cider. It’s heavy with a strong taste of the alcohol. Also, it warms one up. Furthermore, at a blind tasting, I would say #12 is a sahti, a Finnish wheat beer that is brewed with juniper. But I would never say it is a cider. I guess, it is a cider-beer hybrid after all. Anyway, it has a long-lasting taste and is quite rich in terms of flavours. Overall, it’s a product of good quality but not for every time of the year. And, not for everyone. Worth trying in the wintertime. 4/6

Availability: Unfortunately, not available commercially.

Price: a sample of this cider was provided by Manfred

Dorset Nectar Medium

Did you know that Dorset Nectar’s cider maker, Ryan Strong was recently named a cider superstar by Imbibe? This young guy has recently obtained a BA degree in history, heritage and archaeology from Strode College and is considering to study Archaeology to get a Master’s degree. In the meantime, he supports his family in Bridport, Dorset, UK by making delicious organic cider.

Previously, I sampled their Old Harry Rocks and the Wildcat.Company: Dorset Nectar
Place of Origin: Bridport, Dorset, UK
Apples: local organic cider apples 
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 5%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass
Note: no sulphites added, fermented with natural yeast

Appearance: pours a cloudy amber with an orange hue and no head. No carbonation. Body is medium. Sediment in the bottle. Little flecks floating on top.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is fruity and sweetish with notes of fermented apples, cider apples, red apples, caramel and beeswax.

Taste: it begins slightly sweet of caramel with a low to medium level of lemon-like acidity. On the mid-palate red apples, beeswax, light bitterness, light bubblegum, grapefruit, some oakiness, medium astringent taste, a slightly watery and lightly smoky note. It finishes dry with a lingering light astringent taste, hints of blood orange, grapefruit and red apples.

Overall: this is proper stuff! It’s less sweet than advertised so I would rather classify it as medium dry than medium. Anyway, the palate is very rich with a lovely set of flavours and nice smooth tannins. Boys and Girls, this is how real English cider should taste like. Fantastic! I’m going to order this one definitely more often. 5/6

Availability: in the UK only. From their online shop, Scrattings, Eebria, Cider Supermarket.

Price: purchased from Scrattings at £2.50 (approx. 2.87 EUR). Karl and Susan were kind enough to take up the challenge and ship some cider to Berlin. Thank you!

Gutshof Kraatz Schwarze Katze 2018

Florian Profitlich from Gutshof Kraatz, based in the North of Germany actually makes apple wine, not cidre or cider as he simply thinks that local apple varieties are not suitable for cider making. But make good apple wine.
Nevertheless, he has been frequently asked, whether he makes also cider or cidre. So accidentally he made one. The yeast, in one of his experimental apple wines, re-tarted to ferment in the bottle producing a lightly sparkling beverage with some bitter notes. Since the feedback for this product has been very positive, Florian decided to release his first cider and name it the Schwarze Katze – the black cat. As every cidery has a cider dog or a cider cat.
Schwarze Katze is made with apples grown locally in Uckermark, Brandenburg and harvested in 2018.  As per Florian, Schwarze Katze should go well with specialities of Frankfurter cuisine or smoked fish, wild boar sausage or salat with feta cheese.

Company: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Brandenburg, Germany
Apples: made from old apple varieties grown in Uckermark
Sweetness as per label: brut
ABV: 8.5%
Package type: 750ml glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: wine glass, chalice glass or flute

Appearance: pours a cloudy golden with a small white head that slowly reduces to a ring. Medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is lightly sweet and exhibits notes of yellow apples, fermented apples, smokiness and alcohol.

Taste: it begins dry with a medium acidity of lemon. The mid-palate has a low astringent taste with notes of yellow apples, lemon, gooseberry, unripe fruits, unripe banana and berries. Finishes with a note of alcohol and a longlasting note of lees, higher alcohols with low bitterness.

Overall: The Gutshof Kraatz Schwarze Katze is one of these products that will taste better with food than on its own. Similarly to most products made by Florian, also Schwarze Katze has a rich set of fruity flavours and a longlasting taste. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very keen on the longlasting finish, which was dominated by autolytic notes from lees ageing and a note of alcohol. Personally, I thought the finish was slightly disturbing. Nevertheless, in my opinion, bubbles make Schwarze Katze taste refreshing. And I think it should go well on both cold or warm evening preferably with food. 3.5/6

Availability: from their shop and online shop. In Berlin from Schaufenster Uckermark located in Markthalle Neun.

Price: Florian contacted me and asked if I’d like to try his cider.

Écusson Cidre Rosé

Would you believe it? Écusson, a cidre brand from France is turning 100 this year. The company was established in 1919 by Georges Leroy in a village of Livarot, Normandy and later acquired by the Eclor Group, transforming Écusson into one of their commercial cidre brands available in supermarkets. Approximately 20 cider apple varieties are grown in Écusson’s orchards.

Cidre Rosé, launched in 2007 is a single varietal cidre from Rouge Délice.Company: Cidreries du Calvados La Fermière (CCLF)/ Eccuson
Place of Origin: Livarot, Normandy, France
Apples: Rouge Délice
ABV: 3%
Package type: 750ml champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute, chalice glass or bolée 

Appearance: pours a clear, pale orange with reddish hues and a huge white head, which dissipates within seconds. Nevertheless, carbonation is surprisingly low. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with notes of red berries, strawberries, fresh apple flesh, crisp red apple, oak in the background.I can get also a light earthy note with dried fruits and raisins.

Taste: it starts very sweet with low-berry acidity. Fruity on the mid-palate with notes of strawberry, red berries, red apple, dried fruits, raisins and light oak. The finish is dry with a delicate astringent note and lingering red berries-acidity, a hint of bitterness and a note of blueberry.

Overall: Écusson’s Cidre Rosé is a fruity and refreshing cidre ideal for a lazy afternoon. Although the initial high sweetness strikes you in the first sip, the Rosé gets more fruity accompanied by lovely notes of strawberry, red berries and light oak. But still, it will be rather appreciated by those who like sweet cider. I have shared a bottle of the Rosé with a friend, who loved it and would buy it again. As for me, I would rather go for something less sweet. On another note, Écusson Cidre Rosé would pair well with sweet pancakes and goat cheese. Doesn’t taste too bad for a commercial cidre. 4/6

Availability: Broad in supermarkets in France such as Carrefour or Auchan. Otherwise, check out grocery stores selling French products. In Germany from Gourmemaison, Lieferello, Gourmetage. Through France Export in France. In Estonia from Tallink.

Price: purchased locally from Galeries Lafayette Berlin at 3 EUR.