Mostbarone Apfel Cider

The focus of Mostbarone of Lower Austria is not entirely on pears. Sometimes they make cider as well. Today I give you the Mostbarone Baron Apfel Cider.

Company: Distelberger Genuss-Bauernhof
Place of Origin:
 Öhling, Lower Austria, Austria
Ingredients:
Apple cider, apple juice
Sweetness as per label: 
unknown
ABV:
3.3%
Package type:
 330 ml clear glass with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass, chalice glass or flute

Appearance: pours a clear pale straw yellow with a white head that quickly reduces to a ring. Medium and artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with notes of fresh, tart and green apples. Notes of apple skins of cooking apples. Freshly pressed apple juice.

Taste: my first impression is moderately sweet with low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of fresh apple juice, watery note, green apples, apple flesh. Finishes with an aromatic note of fresh apples. 

Overall: The Baron Apfel cider was clearly made with dessert apples as it is very light, even a bit watery with no sign of the tannin on the palate. It has a longlasting and very aromatic and apply taste. This is a splendid offering for a hot summer day or for those who prefer gentle and fruity ciders. A pleasant and naturally tasting alternative to industrial ciders of this world. But you can’t drink much of it. So drink it properly chilled. I had difficulties finishing the small 33cl bottle. Not my cup of tea but the majority of regular cider drinkers will surely love it. 4.5/6

Availability: directly through Mostbarone.

Price: It was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.

BlakStoc Ginger For My Honey

I shall continue my journey with cider blended with ginger. Ginger For My Honey is another cider made by the genial cider maker, Karl from Austrian BlakStoc. Ginger, Honey and West Coast Aroma hops were added to the Styrian apples creating an interesting offering. Company: BlakStoc Cider GmbH
Place of Origin: Vienna, Austria
Ingredients: Styrian apples with ginger, honey and West Coast Aroma hops
ABV: 3%
Package type: 330ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy golden yellow with a fizzy short-lived white foam that reduces to a ring. Medium carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is spicy and exhibits notes of fresh ginger, ginger ale, lemon and elderflower with some pine in the background. 

Taste: it begins lightly sweet with low acidity of lemon. Strong spicy hot ginger notes with a hint of fermented yellow apples, and a touch of elderflower on the mid-palate. Finishes with a subtle bitterness of grapefruit and a lingering and refreshing ginger flavour.

Overall: Ginger For My Honey is surprisingly light and refreshing. I could imagine drinking this also on a summer day. But to be honest, from Karl, I expected more surprising flavours/weird mixes. And, his Ginger for My Honey is rather predictable. It tastes like a natural, refreshing and zesty ginger ale with a little citrusy twist. This is one of those ciders that can be a crowd-pleaser as it is difficult not to like it. But there is not that much of Karl’s genius in it as it was in case of Buddha’s Hand or Lazy Day Cucumber. 3.5/6

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

Price: Karl passed me a bottle at CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt

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.

Blakstoc Lazy Day Cucumber

Karl of Blakstoc is a genius in terms of creating wonderful compositions from various fruits and hops based on cider. Recently, he even dared to blend cider with lacto fermented cucumber juice, elderflowers and hops! The newest addition to Karl’s range is called Lazy Cucumber Day. Company: BlakStoc Cider GmbH
Place of Origin: Vienna, Austria
Ingredients: apple cider, apple juice, lacto fermented cucumber juice, elderflowers, hops, sulphites.
ABV: 3.5%
Package type: 330ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden with a fizzy short-lived white foam that reduces to a ring. Medium carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is moderately strong and slightly sweet with notes of cucumbers that were pickled in brine with herbs, and herbs used for pickled cucumbers in vinegar, fresh cucumber and honeydew melon.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with low acidity of lemon and pickle brine. On the mid-palate notes of fresh cucumber, pickled cucumber and brine, elderflower, herbs used for pickled vinegar in vinegar but without the vinegar. Finishes with a note of honeydew melon and low astringency.

Overall: it requires a lot of guts to create a cider with so weird ingredients and release it. But let’s focus on the taste. Surprisingly, all the flavours go well together creating a very interesting yet strange tipple. It’s like drinking pickled cucumber juice’/brine that is quite sweet and refreshing. Also, the taste could last a bit longer. I shared it with a friend who likes sweet cider. And, she was actually a bit traumatised after having the Lazy Cucumber Days. So it’s clearly not for everyone. Anyway, in my opinion, it’s extremely difficult to create a cider like this. Admittedly, the Blakstoc Lazy Cucumber Days is a very intriguing offering and well worth trying. But I don’t think I would buy it again. Only because it is a bit too sweet for my palate. If you dare, try it. 4/6

Availability: in Summer 2018 widely available in Austria (Der Grissemann or Beer Lovers) and Italy (e.g. Hops Beer Shop, or Tutti Fritti in Milan; Birreria della Torre in Trezzo sull’Adda). Also available in the UK (Newcomer Wines in London) and in the Czech Republic.

Price: Karl from BlakStoc passed me a bottle at CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt.

Goldkehlchen Apfel & Birne

Did you know that Goldkehlchen is the first company that started making cider in Austria? Before 2013, there was mostly Most (partially fermented apple or pear juice). So Goldkehlchen with their endeavour contributed to spreading the word about cider in Austria. Today I’m reviewing their Apfel & Birne, apple and pear cider.Company: Goldkehlchen KG
Place of Origin: Vienna, Austria
Ingredients: apple wine and apple juice from Styrian apples, pear juice, 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 clear straw-yellow with a small white head that only slowly dissipates. Low to medium carbonation. Artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is sweet with notes of ripe pear in syrup, a hint of yellow apples, distant butter and vanilla.

Taste: my initial taste is sweet with low to medium acidity of lemon. Notes of very ripe yellow apples, very low astringency. Finishes with a note of caramel, burnt caramel-like bitterness and of distant butter cookie.

Overall: The Goldkehlchen Apfel & Birne is not just another Austrian cider. This creation has an interesting array of flavours, which come one after another and change with time and temperature. I don’t think it’s something I could drink every day as it is a tiny bit too sweet for my liking. Especially the scent is quite syrupy sweet. But for those with a sweet tooth, it would be a pleasant, very drinkable and complex offering. 4/6

Availability: broad in Austria from Spar and Merkur. In Germany from CidereiBelviC&DAustrian Shop. In Sweden from Brill & Co. In Italy from Sidro & Cider.

Price: Apfel & Birne from Goldkehlchen was a sample provided by Ciderei.

Big Smile from Austria Apple Cider Cloudy & Light

The Apple Cider Cloudy & Light is made from locally sourced apples from Styria, Burgenland and Lower Austria. It has a very low ABV of 2.1%, which was achieved by adding apple juice and water. Previously, I’ve sampled their Hard CiderCompany: Big Smile Handel e. U. 
Place of Origin: Vienna, Austria
Ingredients: apple wine, unfiltered apple juice, water, sulphites, carbon dioxide
ABV: 2.1%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden with a white foam that quickly dissipates. Low artificial carbonation. Medium body.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is weak. Sweetish with notes of apple juice, pears with a hint of canned pineapple. Nothing else.

Taste: it begins semi-sweet with a low acidity of lemon. Apple juice, pears, canned pineapple with a watery taste and a touch of astringency. Finishes with a taste of apple juice and canned pineapple.

Overall: it’s happening again, I’m reviewing an apple juice diluted with water, but definitely it’s not a cider. I have an impression that many producers abuse the word cider cause it is so much cooler to drink cider than a fizzy alcoholic juice at least in Germany or Austria. The previously reviewed offering from Big Smile from Austria tasted quite nice and it was an actual cider. But their Apple Cider Cloudy & Light is just a fizzy alcoholic natural apple juice. Cider is not a juice, cider is made from juice. 2.5/6 

Availability: online in Germany from Ciderei. In Austria from From Austria. In the UK from Piccantino.

Price: Big Smile from Austria Apple Cider Cloudy & Light was a sample provided by Ciderei.

Brauhaus Gusswerk Papagena

Since Brauhaus Gusswerk is based in Salzburg, the city of Mozart, it’s not a surprise that the brewers named their cider after one of the characters of Mozart’s opera. Papagena is the love of Papageno, a bird catcher known from the most famous Mozart’s opera, the Magic Flute. The Papagena is an organic, vegan and sulphite-free cider made from apples grown in Mühlviertel. Previously, I sampled their Big Arlet.Company: Brauhaus Gusswerk
Place of Origin: Salzburg, Austria
Apples: organic apples grown in Mühlviertel
Sweetness as per label: unknown
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: 330ml clear bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or chalice glass
Note: 
organic, sulphite free, vegan

Appearance: pours a very cloudy pale golden and a white foam that only slowly dissipates. Lightly carbonated. Body is medium. Sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: smells of lightly sweet of fresh apple juice and fresh yellow apples, tart apples and a hint of yeast. Moderately strong scent.

Taste: it starts lightly sweet with a medium acidity of lemon. Taste of must and yeast with a light astringency. Finishes quickly with a refreshing taste of lemon flesh with a touch of bitterness.

Overall: I remember having this cider a few years back before becoming Cider Explorer. Back then, I thought that the Papagena was boring and tasted like an unmatured cider. Today, after evaluating nearly 300 ciders, I would consider the Papagena a pleasant and  complex enough drop. Not bad for a cider made by a brewer. Although, for my palate, it could be a bit less sweet and the taste more lingering and overall more exciting, but apart from that, it has a nice level of acidity and a good level of tannins. It’s a cider that can be appreciated by everyone. I would buy it again especially that it is widely available in Berlin. 4/6

Availability: broad in Germany e.g. from Ciderei and in Austria.

Price: The Papagena from Brauhaus Gusswerk 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.

Big Smile from Austria Hard Apple Cider

I can’t help but smile when I see the brand name of cider that I am about to review today, Big Smile from Austria. Uplifting! This cider company was established by Martin and Doris who successfully raised the necessary funding using a crowdfunding platform in March 2015. For their cider, they use locally sourced apples. Mainly Jonagold with the addition of old apple varieties such as Gravensteiner or Kronprinz Rudolph that are used in the blend.Company: Big Smile Handel e. U. 
Place of Origin: Vienna, Austria
Ingredients: apple wine, apple juice, sulphites, carbon dioxide
ABV: 4.8%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or wine glass

Appearance: pours a slightly cloudy pale gold with a white foam that quickly dissipates. Low artificial carbonation. Low body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is sweetish with notes of banana, yeasty aromas, yellow apples, honey and a hint of sulphur. And, it’s not very strong.

Taste: it starts semi-sweet with a low acidity of lemon. Honey, banana, lemon candy, light astringency, a slightly watery taste on the mid-palate. The aftertaste is dry with a hint of sulphur, thyme and canned pineapple.

Overall: Hard Apple Cider from Big Smile from Austria is a well-made cider with an interesting set of flavours. It’s drinkable and tastes quite alright but the taste could be a bit more lingering and the nose more intense. The sulphuric note is just there in the background but rather complements this cider than does any negative to it. Personally, I would prefer a bit less sweetness but I think it will be very well received by every cider drinker. A pleasant drop with an interesting palate made from quality apples. Will pair well with goat cheese. 4/6 

Availability: online in Germany from Ciderei.

Price: Big Smile from Austria Hard Apple Cider was a sample provided by Ciderei.

Blakstoc Buddha’s Hand Lemon Cider

Austrian BlakStoc is made by four friends from Vienna of three nationalities, Austrian, Italian and U.S-American, who found a market niche and decided to fill it with their hopped cider. Hopped cider is indeed somewhere between beer and cider. BlakStoc’s lineup features currently hopped cider with additions of many fruits and spices such as ginger or quince.

Tonight I’m giving their Buddha’s Hand Lemon Cider a try. Buddha’s Hand Lemon Cider is made with zest and albedo of kaffir lime, bergamot, Meyer lemon, Buddha’s Hand citron, orchard apple juice, Hopsteiner’s experimental Lemon Drop hops.Company: BlakStoc Cider GmbH
Place of Origin: Vienna, Austria
Ingredients: zest and albedo of kaffir lime, bergamot, Meyer lemon, Buddha’s Hand citron, orchard apple juice, Hopsteiner’s experimental Lemon Drop hops
ABV: 4%
Package type: 330ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy golden with a light orange hue and a fizzy short-lived white foam. Medium carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aromas pour out of the glass. The nose is very fruity, aromatic and citrusy with notes of bergamot, baked lemon, kaffir, lemon, with a hint of peppermint and yellow apples.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet, with low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, bergamot, kaffir, light to medium astringent taste, orange, baked lemon, yellow apples. Finishes with a light citrusy note of orange and lingering baked lemon. Leaves a lingering taste of bergamot and orange with a gentle touch of bitterness.

Overall: the cider purist in me has to admit that guys from Blakstoc did a phenomenal job with their citrusy blend the Buddha’s Hand Lemon Cider. It’s extremely refreshing, and citrusy but without the sourness. I enjoyed every single sip full of richness while it lasted. I shared this tiny bottle with a friend who claimed that she hasn’t drunk anything that refreshing and drinkable before. Buddha’s Hand Lemon Cider has a structure, great taste and power. And, I’m craving for more. 5.5/6

Availability: in Summer 2018 widely available in Austria (Der Grissemann or Beer Lovers) and Italy (e.g. Hops Beer Shop, or Tutti Fritti in Milan; Birreria della Torre in Trezzo sull’Adda). Also available in the UK (Newcomer Wines in London) and in the Czech Republic. In Germany from Beyond Beer, and in Berlin from the Muted Horn.

Price: Karl from BlakStoc passed me a bottle at CiderWorld 2018 in Frankfurt.