Visit recap to the William’s Ale & Cider House, the Cider House and Hawkes Cidery in London (26-28.02.2020)

Did you miss my blog posts? I hope so. Cause I’m about to give you a recap of my recent visit to a few cider places in London incl. the Williams Ale & Cider House, The Cider House and Hawkes Cider and Taproom.
Coronavirus outbreak is now on everyone’s lips but when I came to London two weeks ago, I didn’ see a single person wearing a mask and the tube was as crowded as always. When I reached London on Wednesday evening, all I could think of was to have a pint of real cider. What more can I say, I’m a cider addict.
The Williams Ale & Cider House
For that purpose, when in London I would normally head to The Williams Ale & Cider Pub in Spitalfields. I have been going there for at least 4 years now, every time I had to come to London for a business trip. I loved their fish n’ chips and an amazing for London selection of ciders from Perry’s, Gwatkin or other UK cider makers. As I already said earlier, that day I was really looking forward to getting a taste of a decent UK cider.  Especially, when I heard that the Williams Ale and Cider Pub was awarded CAMRA Official Cider Pub of the Year 2019 for East London and City.  The bar was set high.
Imagine my surprise when instead of proper UK cider I saw 4 offerings from Lilley’s and two from Westons’ on tap. For those of you who are not familiar with Lilley’s, Lilley’s is a British cider producer, making cider from apple concentrate. Definitely not real cider! And, Westons is a family-owned cider maker that makes cider at a commercial scale. Not bad but something I can buy almost everywhere. I left the pub frustrated and angry with a feeling of huge disappointment as if I were cheated. So these are CAMRA’s standards that a Cider Pub of the Year can sell a cider made from concentrate? Do you think it would ever happen in a beer place? No, never! Looks that CAMRA’s recommendations reg. cider are misleading and can go straight to the bin.
This situation led to a lot of thinking about the current position of cider in the UK. I’m honestly confused, as, on one hand, I can see a strong cider movement and will to promote and educate about cider. Just look at the #rethincider and magazines that are made available to a broader audience such as “Full Juice Magazine“. But I’m afraid and sorry to say that the impact is only “rural” and doesn’t affect big cities such as London to that extent. I left The Williams Ale and Cider House hugely disappointed and will not be coming again. The fish and chips were no longer as good as I remembered it.
The Cider House
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On the next day, my conference finished at 2pm so I headed straight to the Borough Market, the home of The Cider House, which is open only until 5pm, and Fridays until 6pm. In a nutshell, the Cider House is a stand selling mainly the New Forest Cider. I visited the Cider House briefly also last year and quickly fell in love with both cider and the location. img_4863This year, they must have moved to a new location within the Borough Market, refurbished their stand so now they also offer some sitting area too. Also, what’s new in contrast to the last time is that they seem to offer also cider on tap from other cider makers such as Ross-on-Wye, Capercaillie, Hawkes, Celtic Marches, Kentish Pip but also Thistly Cross.
Apart from New Forest Cider, a decent traditional English cider, many bottled ciders from various UK regions but also a few offerings from continental Europe were on offer. Due to my cider craving, it was a huge pleasure to drink the New Forest Kingston Black. My partner wasn’t that fond of traditional cider and went for their mulled cider.
Hawkes Cidery and Taproom

img_4937My cider urge wasn’t gone until then but I quickly realised that I have never visited Hawkes Cidery, London’s first cidery so far and their taproom in Bermondsey. Hence, I quickly reached out to Radim, assistant cider maker at Hawkes Cider, whom I met last year at Cider World in Frankfurt and arranged for a cidery tour for Saturday at 4pm. Radim couldn’t be there in person as the Hawkes Team was busy with the Craft Beer and Cider Festival BrewLDN taking place in Shoreditch (apparently becoming a very trendy area).img_4936
The surrounding area of Hawkes Cidery looks rather like suburbs, a housing area with no tourists in sight. Long story short, you’d never expect a cider place in such an area. Hawkes Cidery is located under two arches of the railroad tracks, which gives it a quite industrial feeling. From the outside, you don’t expect what you get inside. The area around Hawkes Cidery looked rather abandoned as I said earlier, so I didn’t expect crowds that I found at Hawkes Cidery! It was 3.45 pm and it was quite a challenge to reach the bar area. But we made it and found our tour guide, Angus. Angus gave us a tour to the cidery and let us taste 5 of ciders from the Hawkes lineup.
img_4943But let me give you a snapshot of the history of Hawkes Cider first. As the name indicates it all started with a hawker, a person who moved from one place to another to sell products. It was Simon Wright who at first made his own ginger beer and moved from one pub to another to sell his ginger beer. He eventually moved to cider. In 2018, Hawkes Cider was acquired by BrewDog, an independent Scottish craft brewer, which opened many doors to London-based cider maker. Since then guys from Hawkes have had the wind at their back and been attending international cider fairs and craft beer festivals. just like CiderWorld or BrewLDN.
img_4929At the beginning of Hawkes Cider, their ciders were made with apples donated by people living in London. Now their ciders are made mostly with apples that are not good enough for supermarkets to stock them. As for apple varieties, they usually work with eaters and cookers such as Bramleys, Gala, Braeburn and Pink Lady. All ciders are made under one of the two arches of the cidery. In the production area, one will find an apple mill along with an apple press, tanks and a few wooden barrels. Everything is done at the spot. Currently, Hawkes has 6 cider makers who experiment with various apple varieties, fruits and ageing in different oak barrels. Also, they frequently collaborate with other cider producers. You may remember their cider made in collaboration with Tom Oliver of Oliver’s Cider & Perry. As noticed on the label on one of the fermenting tanks, a new exciting collab will be rolling out sooner or later. Not sure if I can reveal who the collab is with so I’ll just tease you that it sounds very promising!
img_4952As mentioned earlier, I got to try 5 different ciders from the Hawkes Cider lineup. They all tasted different, so everyone will find something to their taste. Starting with a cider that was made with eaters and resembled a little bit more sweet version and less sparkling version of prosecco, going through Kentucky bourbon barrel-aged cider, fruit cider and finishing with a tannic cider made from cider apple varieties. My favourite one was the Kentucky bourbon barrel-aged cider that actually tasted like a rum-barrel aged cider with lovely notes of tropical fruits and vanilla and coconut followed by Big Wow, a tannic cider. But other people who took the tour with us preferred lighter offerings from Hawkes. img_4945Some may criticise Hawkes for not doing cider the traditional way but crowds that I saw that Saturday speak for themselves. Many consumers seem to be looking for a natural, light, session or even alcohol-free beverages and guess what, at Hawkes all of them are available. Even those for hardcore, traditional cider drinkers like me will be pleased. I guess the acquisition by a BrewDog did them well after all.
On the way back to my hotel, I passed a pub called The Miller that also seem to have real cider on offer. Unfortunately, the place was closed until next Tuesday so I couldn’t pay them a visit. But judging by their website and their cider line up incl. Oliver’s, it could be a pub to visit next time I’m in London. Has anyone ever been to this pub? Is it any good?

Where to drink/buy cider in Berlin?

I know. Everyone was waiting for my blog post about cider in Berlin. So here it is! Berlin is the New York City of Europe, so I heard. And, similarly to New York City, Berlin is a fascinating and multicultural city. Hence, you would expect to find everything here. Everything, but cider. It took me a few months to track and explore cider friendly spots in Berlin and subsequently compile a list of places offering proper cider that I can honestly recommend for your next visit to the best city in the world. I guess this is another similarity to NYC. Both cities used to have a cider bar, NYC had Wassail and Berlin had Comptoir du Cidre. Both sadly closed down leaving only cider friendly spots.

BARS/PUBS

img_5762Loch Ness is the only pub in Berlin offering real cider from a bag in box. Just like it’s done in the UK. Location wise Loch Ness is not exactly in the touristic part of Berlin. When you take the S-Bahn (which is a local train) and walk to Loch Ness you might get the feeling that you are in outskirts of Berlin, in a neighbourhood where people rather sleep than party all night. img_5764Back to Loch Ness, the owners are a friendly German couple, who fell in love with Scotland a while ago and anything related to this beautiful country. Since 2010, they have been doing efforts to create a piece of Scotland in Berlin. With a good result, I must say. Usually, they have one cider on offer from Kentish Pip, a cider maker based in Kent. Bottled ciders available here, except for Thistly Cross perhaps, are industrial ciders and are not worth mentioning. Loch Ness is quite far from where I live but I pay them a visit once in a while. What’s important, once a year they organise a beer & cider festival in Berlin. Check my visit recap here.

  • Muted Horn (Flughafenstr. 49, 12053 Berlin-Neukölln)

Located in the most interesting and colourful, sometimes even dangerous neighbourhood of Berlin, Neukölln, the Muted Horn is a craft beer bar and my favourite cider spot in Berlin. The Muted Horn is run by a couple of friendly Canadians who also happen to like cider. Depending on the weather conditions and preferences, you may either sit outside or inside. If you’re hungry, you are welcome to bring food from outside. My personal recommendation is the Chilli Burger from Musty Burger located just opposite. A must try! Every once in a while, the Muted Horn has craft cider from Cidrerie Milton, B. Nektar, BlakStoc, Aeblerov or Domaine Dupont on tap. For their current tap offer click here. In bottles, available cidre from Domaine Dupont, BlakStoc, Gwynt y Ddraig, Antidoot and OBC Cidre. If they have a new cider on tap, you can be almost sure I’ll show up there to try it.

  • Hops & Barley (Wühlischstraße 22/23, 10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain)

Hops & Barley is based in the most trendy and touristic area of Berlin, Friedrichshain. Hops & Barley apart from brewing their own beers, also make their own cider from apple juice pressed in orchards around Berlin. I’ve tried their cider twice and each time it tasted different. The first time I sampled it, it tasted bone dry, the second time it was overly sweet. When I pointed out the difference in the level of sweetness, I was informed that their cider is still fermenting in the cask. Well, it’s a cider made by a brewer so that was to be expected. Anyway, big applause for being one of two places in Berlin with self-made cider. Personally, I don’t think their cider is special and I don’t like visiting them as they are always completely full. You can purchase 0.3l at 2.50 EUR or 0.5l at 3.50 EUR.

If you have a few Euros to spend or you simply enjoy fine dining, you can visit a Michelin Star restaurant Nobelhart & Schmutzig that took 88th place in The World’s Best Restaurants 2018. At Nobelhart & Schmutzig, you may order a bottle of exquisite cidre from one of the best cider makers in the cider world such as Domaine J. Ceclion, Cidro Maley, Eric Bordelet, Cidrerie Du Vulcain or Kystin. Personally, I haven’t been there but heard great reviews and I’m looking forward to trying this place out.

Herz & Niere is a restaurant serving fine German cuisine so as you might expect their dishes are mostly meat-based. Everything is made from scratch here. Even their Apfelwein is made by their team, making Herz & Niere the 2nd place in Berlin with homemade cider.

  • Protokoll (Boxhagener Str. 110, 10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain)

Protokoll is a craft beer located in the famous Boxhagenerstr. in Friedrichshain owned by a Russian guy. Apart from craft beer they usually have a gluten-free alternative, meaning cider. From time to time they have ciders from BlakStoc, or other ciders from the US and Russia on tap. Check out their current tap list here. No bottled cider here.

Naturales Weinbar is a small wine bar in Neukölln offering not only natural wines from around the world but also natural sidra from the South of Spain, Fuente Guijarro Sidra del Sur. I love the atmosphere here, but unfortunately, their tapas tastes rather average.

  • Keith Bar (Schillerpromenade 2, 12049 Berlin-Neukölln)

I haven’t visited this spot yet. But they are supposed to stock Henney’s Cider in bottles at 6 EUR.

  • HEIDE’s (Rykestr. 52, 10437 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg)

HEIDE’s is a deli and an ode to everything made by Italians in Italy. As for cider, they carry Sidro del Bosco. From Italy, of course.

  • Cafe Butter (Pappellallee 73, 10437, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg)

It’s a typical place to meet friends, hang out or just have breakfast. They have bottled cidre produced in Germany by Van Nahmen on offer.

The Castle used to be my No. 1 in terms of cider spots in Berlin but when they moved to a new location their cider selection significantly decreased and you will not find any real cider here. Once they had a selection of cider from other countries such as Austria or Poland. But nowadays you will find here only bottled typical commercial cider brands such as Magners, Thatcher’s, Brothers, Annings, Malvern Knight or Kingston Press. They used to have Aspall on tap, now they have introduced Stowford Press, which tastes better than the first one but is still average. Now it’s just another hipster bar in this area.

SHOPS

Hopfen and Malz is actually a beer shop, but they have the widest cider selection of cider in Berlin. Most cider brands are commercial but there are a few hidden gems. Hopfen and Malz carry cider from Gwynt y Ddraig, Henneys, Thatchers, Aspall, Finnbarra, Westons, Sheppys, Orchard Gold, Hazy Hog, Thistly Cross, Oldfield, Black Rat, Celtic Marches, Waddlegoose, Bulmers, Merrydown, Kelterei Heil and many more. Their selection varies. Friendly staff.

A few vendors carry cider here. For my visit recap to the Markthalle Neun click here. Unfortunately, the Danish Rødder is no longer in business. But a new stall with French cidre just opened!

Most wine shops in Berlin offer only mainstream cidre from Kerisac. Apart from Weinhandlung PanaRoma located in Prenzlauer Berg. img_7262

If you are looking for fine French products in so-called City West, Maître Philippe & Filles Berlin is the place to go. They offer cidre, poiré and calvados from Pierre Huet but also cheese and other food products great for food pairing. Interestingly, apart from French cidre they carry also a sagardoa from the Basque Country, the Isastegi Sagardo Naturala.

Lager Lager is a tiny craft beer bar in Neukölln. Apart from craft beer, they carry only bottled cider from Eric Bordelet, Domaine Dupont and Brauerei Gusswerk. And, sometimes Zeffer or recently Aeblerov. Their offer changes from time to time. Sometimes they hold cider related events.

Very friendly owners. If the weather is nice you may sit outside the shop on a wooden bench and sip your cider. They offer bottled Cornish Orchard Cider, Thatchers and Papagena Cider from Brauerei Gusswerk straight from the fridge. But don’t ask the owners for a recommendation. Their focus is only beer.

  • KaDeWe – (Tauentzienstraße 21-24, 10789 Berlin-Schöneberg)

If you are in Berlin for sightseeing, sooner or later you will visit KaDeWE anyway. KaDeWe is one of the oldest and largest department stores in Europe. For cider, visit Späti located on the top floor where you can find a cider selection including Celtic Marches, Kelterei Heil and Eric Bordelet.

If you prefer French cidre, then you should drop by at Galerie Lafayette, which is close to the famous ‘Unter den Linden’ and the Brandenburger Tor. They carry cidre and poire from Eric Bordelet and commercial cidre brands such as Loïc Raison.

It’s a chain specializing in food from Mediterranean countries. Apart from cheese, sausages and fish, you will find sidra from El Gaitero (Etiqueta Blanca) and Envasados Eva La Sidra de San Sebastian.

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

Where to drink/buy cider in Copenhagen?

My last time in Copenhagen was almost three years ago and from what I remember, there was not much real cider around the city except the alco-pop produced by the Carlsberg Group. Now, three years later, cider significantly gained in popularity and is offered by many restaurants and bars. More to that, some restaurants list cider in the wine menu, not in the beer menu as almost the rest of the world does. So where you can find real cider in Copenhagen? Scroll down to see my recommendations.

Bars/Pubs

img_1888Holm Cider is the absolute #1 in Copenhagen in terms of cider. Conveniently located in a very popular and apparently the coolest neighbourhood of Copenhagen,  Vesterbro just behind the Copenhagen Central station and Tivoli Gardens with countless bars and restaurants. Holm Cider is a place that has a great atmosphere and offers a wide selection of cider on draught, by the glass or bottle to drink there or bring home. They will even make you a cocktail based on cider. If you are new to cider and don’t know exactly what you’d like to have a very friendly and knowledgable staff will assist you with your choice. Sometimes Danish cider makers stand behind the bar. Hence, Holm Cider is a true cider gem in this part of Europe. img_1897As for cider producers, you will find mainly cider from local Danish producers such as Aeblerov, CiderrevolutionDecideret Cider or Mergelsø. But also cider from many European cider makers such as Dunkertons, Burrow Hill, Manoir du Grandouet, Andreas Schneider or Cidrerie du Leguer just to name a few. Holm Cider has also an outdoor seating area so when the sun comes out you can sit outside with a glass of cider and get a feeling of Danish hygge.

Actually, I remember Holm Cider already from my last visit to Copenhagen. At the time Holm Cider was just a cider shop located on the other side of the street with very strange working hours. Since I was also on a business trip last time, I didn’t manage to get inside and speak to the owner. I was just looking through the window at cider bottles of producer I have never tried before. Finally, I had a chance! And, it was fantastic!

I haven’t been there in person but Florian Profitlich from Gutshof Kraatz warmly recommended this place to me. The bar is open only from Wednesday until Saturday and if you fancy a bottle of local cider to take home with you, you can visit their shop just a block away.

img_1856Lord Nelson Bar is a tiny bar in the city centre that doesn’t make a good impression when you walk in as it’s dark and smells of cigarette smoke although no one actually smokes there. Nevertheless, it’s worth a visit as the owners make their own cider from apples grown in an orchard close to Skælskør. They make a few different English style ciders from whole juice usually by blending two to four apple varieties. I’ve tried their Danish Misstress and really enjoyed it. Usually, they have two different ciders on tap that have various level of sweetness/dryness. For their current offer click the link.

 

  • Taphouse (Lavendelstræde 15, 1462 Copenhagen)

img_1864Taphouse is also located in the centre of Copenhagen so if you are doing sightseeing here you might sooner or later pass by this bar. Taphouse is a craft beer bar that has astonishing 61 taps and two of them are dedicated to cider or perry. At the time of my visit, they had perry from Hecks’s Cider and cider from Sheppy’s but they have also local cider from time to time. Check their website for the current tap list here and look at Tap 7 & 8 for cider/perry.

  • Fermentoren (Halmtorvet 29C, 1700, Vesterbro, Copenhagen)

img_1880Fermentoren is another place in Vesterbro offering cider. And, another spot that I really like in Copenhagen. I feel in Fermentoren like a student again meeting up with friends and having a good time. They have also an outdoor seating area which is great both when it’s hot and cold as blankets are available. Some places have just good vibes. Their current tap list can be found here. Cider/Perry offered on tap 2.

 

 

img_1858I think Charlie’s Bar should actually be renamed to Little Britain as it is a true British gem hidden in Copenhagen. The moment you walk inside you feel that you are in an actual pub in the UK. Not only because everyone speaks English here. Just look at the picture below and tell me if I’m wrong. Cider wise they have only The Westons Old Rosie and an alcopop from Mortimer’s on draught. But due to reasons named earlier, it’s really worth visiting.img_1862

  • Mikkeller Bar (Viktoriagade No. 8 B-C, 1655 Copenhagen) & Mikkeller CPH Airport (Terminal 2)

img_1917Mikkeller is a famous Danish craft beer producer that has set up craft beers bars offering his beer all around the world. Can’t speak for other branches, but Mikkeller Bar in Vesterbro and Mikkeller Bar in Terminal 2 at Copenhagen Airport offer cider from time to time. Although admittedly, this cider is usually hopped. I loved the fact that Mikkeller also has a bar at the Copenhagen airport as I could say goodbye to Copenhagen by drinking Aeblerov+Mikkeler’s’ Citra Dry Hopped Cider. Check here for current tap list in Mikkeller Bar in Vesterbro and here for CPH Aiport.

Restaurants/Shops

Yes, it is another place in Vesterbro. Kødbyens Fiskebar is a fish and seafood restaurant located in old industrial premises in the Meatpacking District (Kødbyen). I had a delicious set of oysters as starter and fish & chips as main here. Cider is listed in the wine menu and available only by the bottle either from Aeblerov or Ciderrevolution.

Apart from earlier mentioned Holm Cider, you will find also at Rødder & Vin an interesting selection of Scandinavian cider from Fruktstereo, Gustav’s Cider and Nagelsbjerg available by the bottle.

This is the place to go in Vesterbro if you’re looking for Asturian sidra from El Gaitero.

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

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.

 

Downeast Cider House: visit recap

After my business trip was over, I extended my stay in Boston to visit Downeast Cider House located in East Boston. My extra day was Tuesday, exactly the day when their taproom is closed. So I sent an email to the Downeast Cider team and explained the situation. Luckily, Max replied that he would be happy to meet me at the taproom and sample a few ciders with me.

img_0116As for some background information, the first time I came to Boston two years ago, cider from the Downeast Cider House was the first Boston cider I have ever tried. And, frankly speaking, I instantly fell in love with. Furthermore, I was so fascinated with their cider that I even considered applying for the position of cider maker, which was open at the time. Downeast Cider House was established in 2011 by two college students Ross and Tyler who instead of taking the exams and graduating, prefered to make hard cider. Over the years the company has grown and expanded and the production site had to move from the first location in Back Bay to East Boston. As for the visit, Max let me try their regular ciders and special releases. Afterwards, Max gave me a tour of their premises and explained all production steps.
img_0135For their cider, the Downeast Cider team uses culinary and table apples such as McIntosh, Red Delicious, Cortland or Gala, which come from Massachusetts and surrounding states. The juice is pressed at the orchards and delivered to the facility in East Boston where it is fermented with a pale ale yeast. img_0132Once the sugar concentration drops to the desired level, cider is pasteurised at high temperature for 30 seconds. Subsequently, cider is either canned or eventually matured in barrels (special releases).

Their current canning line is capable of producing 90 cans per minute so during a 10-hour shift they can get lots of cider into cans! Also, Downeast Cider wants to upgrade their canning line with the beginning of the new year to a more effective canning line capable of producing 200 cans per minute.img_0137

img_0117In their taproom, I’ve tried their Original Blend (their flagship cider), which is the first cider they ever released, Double Blend, Drier Side, Aloha Friday (with pineapple juice), Drier Side Hopped Grapefruit, Celebracion (special release blended with lime and aged in tequila barrels), and Hard Arnold (special release blended with Earl Grey tea). I don’t have any detailed tasting notes for you as most of the time I was speaking to Max and asking all the details related to their cider production. But, you could tell that the Original Blend is used as the base for all of the ciders from their range. All ciders were unfiltered, with a similar level of sweetness, except for Drier Side, as well as the tartness. They were all dangerously easily drinkable and very tasty, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they were very complex or full-bodied. But they tasted good anyway. Only, I was the least fond of the Drier Side, which was very watery and thin. But as for my favourite, I couldn’t really decide between Double Blend, Drier Side Hopped Grapefruit, Celebracion and Hard Arnold. In the end, I thought that the Double Blend was my personal favourite.

I wish to thank Max from the Downeast Cider House for letting me try their ciders in the tap room, explaining all production steps and showing me around. Also, for being patient and answering my countless questions.  Should I ever return to Boston, I’ll try to visit the taproom during opening hours.

For more information about the cider scene in Boston and tasting notes of the Original Blend and X Cunard No 44 from Downeast Cider, read my latest blog post.

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Where to drink/buy cider in Wrocław?

Wrocław – the meeting place. With this slogan, this Polish city is trying to boost tourism and attract travellers. Therefore, I thought it I will lend them a hand by compiling a list of spots in Wrocław where you can meet and greet the locals over a glass of craft cider. Let me give you a brief tour through the Wrocław’s bars offering cider.Bars/Pubs

Initially, I thought that Academus is a student haven due to its name. However, everyone who likes international beer and Polish cider come here. This small pub and B&B in one is run by a friendly couple, who really pay attention to their guests’ needs. It’s located in the city centre, just a few steps from the main square. From time to time they have Cydr Tradycyjny z Trzebnicy on draught, which is a local cider from Trzebnica located 30km from Wrocław. You can click here to find if and which cider is currently available on draught. Also, you can choose from their selection of bottled Polish craft cider.

Vaffa Napoli is located in the historical Jewish Quarter and is actually a restaurant serving pizza and other Italian foods. Apart from really delicious pizza, they have craft cider from Cydr Smykan available in bottles and sometimes on draught. To check their current offer on tap click here. Just a note, they serve cider at too low temperature and with ice. Allow your cider to warm up a little otherwise, you will not taste anything. Also, ask the waiter to skip the ice.

Not far away from Vaffa Napoli, you can visit also Marynka, Piwo i Aperitivo, a craft beer bar. I come here mainly for the delicious cider, which you can find in the fridge, Japko from Winnica De Sas but also because you can sit outside in the summer and enjoy the nice weather. Interestingly, they have a book with requests for draught beer, etc. so don’t forget to leave a note ‘CYDR’ (Polish for cider) there. Another advantage is that they have a food truck on their premises, Happy Little Truck serving absolutely delicious, and probably the best pizza in Wrocław. Try their pizza ‘Capperi’, which pairs excellently with Japko.

4 Hops is another centrally located craft beer bar with austere interior design, with no fuzz and friendly staff that knows good beer. Unfortunately, no any sort of outdoor seating is available. More to that, they rarely have cider on tap. 4 Hops stocks Jabko from Winnica De Sas. You can check if they currently have any cider on draught by clicking this link. The staff keep their offer up to date.

  • Szynkarnia (św. Antoniego 15, 50-073, Wrocław)

Another spot for cider lovers, in the summer at Szynkarnia you may find at least one cider on draught from one of the Polish craft cider makers such as Cydr Chyliczki or Cydr Smykan. You can check their current offer here. In addition, bottled cider is available here. To be honest, I never come here as Szynkarnia is always crowded and full of loud speaking people. Also, they seem not to have a good ventilation system as the strong smell of food is rather disturbing. So cider is the only reason to visit Szynkarnia, if you dare.

  • Pasibus (many locations, for the map, click here)

Pasibus is a burger chain so if you want to drink sweet and dull cider of unknown origin, PasiCydr (you can find the review here) with your burger you may taste it at one of their restaurants across Wroclaw.

SHOPS

  • Drink Hala (Ludwika Rydygiera 15, 48-300 Wrocław)

Located in a neighbourhood called Nadodrze, which with every day gets more popular among locals Drink Hala is basically a craft beer shop with a really huge selection of Polish craft cider. But you will find here a range of commercial cider from Poland and the UK such as Westons, as well. I usually come here, when I want to buy a bottle of a recently launched cider as they simply would have every Polish cider here sooner or later. I haven’t seen such an extensive selection even in Warsaw.

Another craft beer shop stocking also Polish craft from Cydr Smykan and Kwaśne Jabłko along with Polish commercial cider brands.

  • Dobre Moce (Grabiszyńska 233H, 53-234 Wrocław)

Dobre Moce is a wholesaler and retailer in one. Since they are based quite far from the city centre I never made it to pay them a visit. However, I know that they stock cider from Manufaktura Cydru.

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

Cider in the Markthalle Neun in Berlin + Danish cider at Rødder (tasting notes)

Recently, I have visited my favourite market hall/food court in Berlin, The Markthalle Neun. The Markthalle Neun is enormously popular among locals, fresh Berliners and visitors from around the globe craving for high-quality tasty and unique food and drinks at quite reasonable prices. Actually, I don’t remember when was the last time I was there, it must have been around a year ago, so I’ve decided to check if any of the shops/stalls started offering any new cider or perhaps a cider I haven’t sampled yet. During my last visit to the Markthalle Neun I’ve come across a French cidre from Kerné (to read the review click here) at Monsieur Collard, Cidre Fournier Artisanal Brut at Weinhandlung Suff, Lulu de Mere Cidre, which sounds French, but I think it comes from Germany (I’m not sure about it though) at Comptoir du Cidre, and a Spanish mainstream sidra Manzanova. Monsieur Collard still has Kerné on offer, Weinhandlung Suff carries Cidre Fournier, Comptoir du Cidre only occasionally participate in the Street Food Thursday serving a delicious cidre steak (at least they used to) and a Spanish shop offering Manzanova seems to be no longer in business.

Luckily, two new cider spots have opened in the Markthalle Neun. The first one is Schaufenster Uckermark selling a range of delicious Apfelwein from Kelterei Gutshof Kraatz, which is based in Uckermark (read my past reviews on their Wilde Kerle and Apfelglühwein). Unfortunately, the shop was closed at the time of my visit but I saw a few bottles of various Gutshof Kraatz’s Apfelweins through the window. Judging by the half-empty bottles of Gutshof Kraatz’ Apfelwein in the fridge they sell also Apfelwein by glasses. I’ll grab a glass of the delicious Wilde Kerle next time I’m around.

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What a pleasant surprise it was, when I discovered Rødder, a Danish stall offering Smørrebrød, and wild danish cider from two cider makers, Æblerov and Olsens Frugt. Since I haven’t had any Danish cider in my life I just couldn’t wait to give them a try! A 750ml bottle is sold at approx. 20 EUR, but fortunately you can also purchase a wine glass at 4.50-5 EUR. A good option for those who want to try every cider from their cider selection.

img_8954In addition, at Rødder they always have one Danish cider on draught from Æblerov. In terms of food, I haven’t tried anything as all herring was already sold out, but I heard oohing and aahing of folks, who have decided to order other snacks. Hopefully, I’ll get the herring next time. Back to cider, I have sampled three ciders out of the range presented on the right, Cider from Olsens, and Prendila Cosi the Cox + Cider from Æblerov. Also, I’ve purchased a bottle of the Benene På Nakken to try at home. Scroll down for my tasting notes.

img_8969Olsens Cider 2015 (ABV 7.4%; 4.5 EUR per glass)

This one is a blend of Guldborg, Discovery, Purpurella, Bramley, Filippa, Ingrid Marie coming from organic orchards around Roskilde, Denmark. Appearance: cloudy, pale golden, slightly sparkling. Low body. Aroma: dry and acidic with notes of ripe and fermented yellow apples, raspberry and nail polish.  Taste: only slightly sweet, a watery note, medium lemon-like acidity, ripe yellow apple, fermented apples, raspberry, nail polish on the palate and light astringent taste. Finishes dry with a touch of apple-seed bitterness. Overall: tastes surprisingly nice and light at the same time. It’s dry just the way I like it with medium acidity and pleasant apple flavours. The flavour of nail polish is not too strong, adding complexity. A nice drinkable pour. 4/6

img_8968Æblerov Prendila Cosi 2016 (ABV 5.9%; (ABV 7.4%; 5 EUR per glass)

Aeblerov is created by Morten and Christopher, who also use organic apples from Danish orchards to make their award-winning ciders. Prendila Cosi is the title of a song by Lucio Battisti, which means in Italian ‘take it as it is’. What a splendid name for a wild cider! Appearance: cloudy, pale golden with raspberry hues, lightly sparkling. Low body. Aroma: weak, fermented apples, light nail polish and raspberry. Taste: dry with medium to high acidity. Crisp apple, lemon, a watery taste, raspberry, a low astringent taste and light vinegar. Finishes dry with a lingering chalky and fruity taste. Leaves a light burning sensation. Overall: a decent light drop. Personally, I enjoyed the Prendila Cosi but this one is not going to be everyone’s liking due to relatively high acidity and off notes of nail polish and vinegar. Pity that the aroma is not any stronger. 4/6

Æblerov Cox + Cider Aebler 2016 (ABV 5.9%; (ABV 7.4%; 5 EUR per glass, from tap)

img_8967Cox + Cider Aebler is a blend of 50% Holsteiner Cox and 50% other apple varieties. It was created for the famous Noma in Copenhagen, one of the greatest restaurants in the world run by René Redzepi. Appearance: cloudy, golden with orange hues, lightly sparkling. Medium body. Aroma: wild with notes of nail polish and vinegar, lemon, raspberry and fermented apples. Taste: dry with high acetic and lemon-like acidity. Fermented apples, funk, raspberry, medium astringent taste, blood orange, grapefruit-like bitterness in the aftertaste. Finishes dry with a lingering chalky, refreshing citrusy notes and a hint of sauerkraut. Overall: Cox+Cider Aebler tastes actually like a Spanish sidra with high acetic acidity and refreshing notes of grapefruit and blood orange. It was very much to my liking, but I think that again, this is not a cider for everyone. But if you like Spanish sidra, this cider will be for you. 4.5/6

In summary, it was my first acquaintance with Danish cider and I’m not disappointed. All sampled ciders from two Danish cider producers tasted nice, were balanced, yet tasted quite similar, wild with notes of nail polish, high dryness and high acidity. My favourite was definitely the last one, the Cox+Cider Aebler 2016 from Æblerov as it was the most complex of those I’ve tried and because it reminded me of Spanish sidra with high acidity, along with acetic and citrus notes. For sure, it wasn’t, my last visit at Rødder in the Markthalle Neun in Berlin. Also, I still have to try the Alkmene from Æblerov, and as announced earlier, Rødder’s herring.