Where to drink/buy cider in Kuala Lumpur?

As you might have noticed, I travel quite frequently for work, so I always try to take advantage of it by compiling information about cider and its availability in the currently visited city. This time I had to head to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, which gave me the opportunity to explore local cider spots and sample a couple of not exactly local ciders.Malaysia is a Muslim country and for this reason, there is a high excise tax on beverages containing alcohol, cider including. Hence, cider is considered a premium product here. Most locals don’t consume alcohol, not only because of religious or financial reasons but because they prefer spending their pay on family-related activities. But, since Kuala Lumpur is a huge city with many expats living here coming from the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany and many other countries, who earn incomparably more than Malaysians and have no better things to do than hanging out after work, the demand for alcohol-containing products is high.

The demand might be high, but the vast majority of grocery stores stock Strongbow, Somersby or quite recently launched Apple Fox from Heineken (I reviewed the Dutch version of this cider here). Sometimes you can find other commercial ciders from the UK such as Magner’s, Gaymer’s, Savannah Dry from South Africa or Three Oaks Cider from Australia. If you want real stuff you should check stores and bars offering craft beer. This is what I did and here is the feedback from my KL cider tour.

  • Ales & Lagers (D5-G4, 3, Jalan Solaris, Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur)

Ales & Lagers, located in a shopping mall Publika, is a cosy and friendly place that shares the space with a print shop. The guy who runs the shop is a very friendly Chinese, anything but helpful in terms of cider. Don’t bother asking him about cider recommendations as his focus is only craft beer. Anyway, I liked the atmosphere there as I was treated like a regular customer, not a Masaleh. Anyway, I’ve noticed that most people visiting this shop consider Ales & Lagers as a place to have one or two beers before heading to a nightclub. Ales & Lagers stocks a small selection of ciders from the New Zeland-based Zeffer Cider Company and Australian-based the Hills Cider Company. I tried some of them and will publish the reviews soon.

Taps Beer Bar has a few locations around KL. This a good place for the Friday night hangout or to meet other expats. In addition, the food is supposed to be good as per feedback from my work colleagues who usually go there for lunch. At Taps, they usually have at least one cider on draught made by an Australian brewery 2 Brothers. You can check Taps’ current tap list here.

Not exactly based in KL, but in Petaling Jaya, which is usually referred as PJ and is a satellite city of KL. The Great Beer Bar is owned by the same person as previously mentioned Ales & Lagers so it is also a craft beer store offering beer in bottles and on tap. But, in contrast to Ales & Lagers they have their own kitchen. Cider wise they have bottled Zeffer and the Hills Cider Company.

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

 

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Château de Lézergué Cidre Artisanal 33cl

Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué is based in Ergué-Gabéric, Cornouaille, Brittany, France and managed by three brothers, Guillaume, Matthieu and Joseph since 1990. It’s my first time trying anything from this cider maker. 
Company:
 Cidrerie du Chateau de Lezergue
Place of Origin: Ergué-Gabéric, Cornouaille, Brittany, France
Apples: 
locally grown cider apples
ABV:
4.5%
Package type: 
330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a large white head that quickly reduces to a ring. Medium to high carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong and has notes of apricots, sour red apples, raisins, caramel and hints of wood.

Taste: the first impression is medium sweet with a low to medium lemon-like acidity, which gives way to notes of low smokiness, red apples, apple juice, apricots, caramel and other dried fruits. Finishes with a light astringency and caramel with a touch of lemon, grapefruit-like bitterness, wood and fig.

Overall: I must say that Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué has created a very pleasant cidre. It has typical notes for French cider with a good level of acidity that beautifully balances out the initial sweetness and therefore doesn’t give you any sugar high. It’s a decidedly moreish cidre for everyone. I really couldn’t find anything to complain about. I’d only wish it would be available in my area. Summarizing, a very pleasant everyday cider that will go well with galettes and cheese. I would definitely buy more. 5/6

Availability: mainly in France.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Lucian from Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué.

Oliver’s At The Hop #7

Inspired by American cider makers who add hops to almost every cider they make, Tom Oliver created his own hopped cider, At The Hop. Tom infused cider with UK grown Cascade hops and Czech grown Kazbek hops, which supposedly add citrusy and floral notes to otherwise bland and dull cider.

In 2014, At The Hop picked up the first place at Royal Three Counties Agricultural Society show.

Company: Oliver’s Cider and Perry
Place of Origin: Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire, UK
Ingredients: US Cascade and Czech Kazbek hops
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 5.5%
Package type: 500ml clear amber bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a light orange hue and a tiny white head that quickly dissipates. Medium natural carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is strong and actually pours out of the glass. The scent is rather sweet with notes of ripe honeydew, apricots, grapefruit flesh, orange and grapefruit peel. In the background apple flavour with hints of funk, leather and distant cucumber.

Taste: it starts with a low sweetness and a medium citrusy acidity. Light watery with some smokiness, medium astringency, notes of grapefruit flesh, orange and lemon, low apple flavour and hints of funk on the mid-palate. The finish is dry with a lingering grapefruit peel – like bitterness with a touch of lemon.

Overall: I’ve tried already a number of hopped ciders and none of them tasted any similar to what Tom Oliver has crafted. I can imagine that this is partly due to Czech Kazbek hops that were used in the blend. Both the scent and the palate are very unique and rich with lots of intensive flavours that linger on and on. Also, I thought it was very refreshing due to the lovely citrus flavours. But it’s not going to be my favourite cider of Tom. Personally, I found the apple flavour too far in the background. Also, the bitter note was a bit too strong for my liking. Hence, in my humble opinion, Tom’s At the Hop could be considered a good introductory cider for those who drink beer but want to try something new as the taste of the At The Hop is somewhere between beer and cider. As a cider drinker, I think I’ll stick to Tom’s cider made only with apples. 4.5/6

Availability: from Oliver’s online shop or Beer Revolution. Locally in London from the Cider House and Bristol from the Bristol Cider Shop or  The Salutation Inn in Ham, and many others. In Austria from Beer Lovers. In Copenhagen from Holm Cider. In Germany exclusively from CiderKultur.

Price: Oliver’s At The Hop #7 was a sample provided by CiderKultur.

Schwäbi Cider Holunderblüte

Making a syrup from Holunderblüten (German for elderflower) is still very common in Germany. I remember selling lots of citric acid in July that is required to make the elderflower syrup when I used to work in a pharmacy in Berlin. Since the flavour of elderflower is so popular in Germany, it should not be a surprise to anyone that Schwäbi released a cider flavoured with elderflower. Previously I’ve tried their Cider ApfelCompany: Juninger Fruchtsäfte
Place of Origin: Niederstotzingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Ingredients: apple cider, apple juice, water, sugar, natural elderflower flavour, carbon dioxide, sulphites
ABV: 2.5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or flute

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a tiny white fizz that is gone after a few seconds. Lightly sparkling. Medium body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with notes of pears, dried fruits incl. apricot, baked apples, and a hint of commercial apple juice. No traces of elderflower in the scent.

Taste: my first taste is extremely, syrupy sweet with a very low acidity to balance the sweetness. Notes of red and yellow apples, dried fruits, incl. apricot, pears, baked apples, some herbal notes of thyme and low astringency on the mid-palate. Finishes after 10 seconds with notes of pears.

Overall: after I recovered after the initial sugar high, I can tell the Schwäbi Holunderblüte is not for everyone. Those who prefer their cider syrupy sweet will be satisfied as it is a quality cider with pleasant flavours of apples, pears and dried fruits both in the scent and on the palate. But not elderflower. I was really looking for this flavour but without any luck. Still, I think it is a good alternative to commercial or industrial cider. Could go well as a dessert wine after meals served with sour fruits. 4/6

Availability: online in Germany from Ciderei.

Price: Schwäbi Cider Holunderblüte was a sample provided by Ciderei.

Goldkelchen Cassis

Goldkehlchen expanded their cider range and introduced their Cassis as a limited edition in 2017. Their Cassis was so popular that Adam and Eva, the founders of Goldkelchen decided to keep it. I guess it only confirms that berry cider is a fast-growing sector also in Austria. Company: Goldkehlchen KG
Place of Origin: Vienna, Austria
Ingredients: apple wine 59%, apple juice (29%), blackcurrant juice (12%), carbon dioxide, sulphites.
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: 330ml clear bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a deep brown with a ruby hue and a short-lived white head. Low to medium carbonation. Artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: all I can get is a note of blackcurrant juice.

Taste: my first taste is slightly sweet with a low to medium acidity. Notes of yellow and less prominent green apples, blackcurrant, light to medium astringency. Finishes with a note of blackcurrant.

Overall: blackcurrant is a tricky fruit as even when using only 10% or 12 % in the case of this cider, blackcurrant notes would dominate. The aroma of the Cassis practically consists only of a note of blackcurrant. Admittedly, a flavour of apples comes through in the palate so the blackcurrant is just there adding complexity to this cider. The Cassis is drinkable and refreshing, I did enjoy having it. It tastes ok but resembles more a boozy juice than fruit wine, not to mention cider. A good alternative for industrial berry cider though. 3/6

Availability: broad in Austria from Spar and Merkur. Online from Die Presse. But also in Germany from Ciderei, Foodist, BelviniC&DAustrian Shop, Spirituosen Tempel,  In Sweden from Brill & Co. In Italy from Sidro & Cider.

Price: Cassis from Goldkehlchen was a sample provided by Ciderei.

Dunkertons Browns

Browns is an English cider apple variety from South Devon producing a sharp juice that Dunkertons used for their single-varietal cider, the Browns. When I searched for other reviews about Dunkertons Browns, all I could find was oohing and aahing. I haven’t found a single bad review for the Browns. It seemed that literally, everybody likes the  Browns. In contrast to the wide appeal among cider drinkers, the Browns picked up only one award, first place in the International Cider Challenge 2016. As you can imagine, I got very intrigued.  Company: Dunkertons
Place of Origin: Pembridge, Leominster, Herefordshire, UK
Apples: a single-varietal Brown’s from organic farms
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 7.5%
Package type: 500ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a white short-lived foam. Medium carbonation.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is strong, slightly sour and fruity. On the nose hints of funk, vinegar, yellow apples, with a touch of sulphur.

Taste: my first taste is medium sweet with a low to medium acidity of lemon, and a touch of orange. Smokiness, yellow apples, light bitterness, again smokiness, a light to medium astringent note on the mid-palate. Finishes dry leaving a lingering orange and lemon note with medium astringency.

Overall: the Browns from Dunkertons is indeed an outstanding drop. It’s light, yet complex. Although the initial taste is rather sweet with no detectable acidity, suddenly and unexpectedly the sharpness kicks in and stays accompanying other tasty flavours that appear next. Admittedly, the lingering orangy/lemon aftertaste makes this cider taste very refreshing and unique. Also, I loved the bubbles in this cider, which truly complemented the taste. Overall, a great thirst quencher and perfect summer offering that I could drink over and over again. Now I understand why it is everyone’s favourite. 5/6

Availability: in the UK through their online shop, BristolCiderShop, CraftDrink The Belgian Beer Company, Hop Pocket Wine Company or Beers of Europe. However, outside the UK the availability is limited. In the Netherlands look out for Ciderwinkel and Appels en Peren. In Switzerland from Ciderhouse.ch. In Estonia from Siidirimaja. In Germany from CiderKultur.

Price: Dunkertons Browns was a sample provided by CiderKultur.

Cidre Mauret

Maxime Wolff and Romain Sauret are two friends from northern France, who in 2016 released their cider brand called Cidre Mauret. Their goal was to make cider popular again among the French. Cidre Mauret comes currently in two flavours, the Mauret made with 6 apple varieties and one pear variety from Normandy and Picardy and Mauret’o, their Mauret flavoured with peppermint, rum and lime. Additionally, they have more products coming to the French market soon. Today I’m giving their Mauret a try.
Company: SAS Mauret
Place of Origin: Pont-à-Marcq, France
Ingredients: a blend of six apple varieties (95%) and pears (5%) from Normandy and Picardy
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml clear bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or pint

Appearance: pours a lightly cloudy pale amber with an orange hue and a short-lived white head. Medium, artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is intense, clear and sweet with notes of mainly apple juice from French cider apples, baked apples, caramel, dried fruits, in particular apricots with a touch of raisins.

Taste: it starts with low sweetness and low acidity. Followed by a note of apple juice from cider apples, dried fruits, a watery note, medium astringency and a hint of bitterness. The finish is dry with a medium astringency, a hint of caramel and wood and fresh apple.

Overall: I love the label and the efforts made by the company to ‘modernise’ cidre and make it more popular among the younger generation. As for their Cidre Mauret, you can clearly tell that the product was made with cider apples using French cider methods. Beautiful notes of caramel, dried fruits and baked apples make this cider very inviting. Taste wise Cidre Mauret has a structure and many delicious notes that linger on. Yet Cidre Mauret is a sparkling alcoholic juice made from French cidre apples as the apple juice dominates the flavour. Cidre Mauret is drinkable and not too sweet so it is suitable for every palate. But it is hard to consider it more than a tasty and quality juice. 4/6.

Availability: all around in Lille. Online from Mes Voisins Producteurs. 

Price: Cidre Mauret was a sample provided by Romain from Cidre Mauret