Hogan’s Hip Hop

Hogan’s is another cider maker trying to provide additional flavours by using Cascade and Chinook hops. Hogan’s efforts have been recognised by the jury panel of the International Cider Awards 2018 this year as the Hip Hop picked up Bronze in the category ‘flavoured cider’.Company: Hogan’s Cider
Place of Origin: Alcester, Warwickshire, UK
Ingredients: English cider apple juice, water, sugar, carbon dioxide, malic acid, preservative: potassium metabisulphite (sulphites), Cascade and Chinook hops
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 4%
Package type: 500ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale orange with a large quickly dissipating white head. Medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is dry and smells of grapefruit, zinc oxide-eugenol cement used in dentistry, lemon, yellow apples, orange, a hint of tangerine.

Taste: it begins dry with no detectable sweetness and low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate notes of grapefruit, a slight astringent taste, a watery note and a smoky note, with something that numbs the tongue like eugenol. Also, a hint of tangerine, orange and a hint of elderflower. Finishes dry with a grapefruit note, some smokiness and light astringency.

Overall: interestingly, Hogan’s Hip Hop doesn’t really taste like a hopped cider. Let me explain why. Most flavours that you can get such as grapefruit or orange usually can be found also in a cider that was made from proper cider apples and/or barrel-aged. I couldn’t get much of the dry hop character such as hop bitterness or herbal aromas that often associate hoped ciders. Perhaps a hint of elderflower that often comes with hops. The aroma is pleasant and clear, the palate has an interesting array of flavours and a pleasant structure and length. The Hip Hop is citrusy and refreshing. I’d wish perhaps more apple flavour here but I can’t say I’m not enjoying this drop. Smooth and drinkable cider to celebrate the end of the day. 4/6 

Availability: from their online shop. In Germany exclusively from Cider Kultur.

Price: Hogan’s Hip Hop was a sample provided by Cider Kultur, a recently opened webshop run by two cider aficionados offering a selection of great cider.

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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 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.

B. Nektar The Dude’s Rug

B. Nektar is a cidery, meadery and brewery based in Ferndale, Michigan, U.S.A consisting of Brad, Kerri and their friend Paul – three passionate home brewers. An idea to make a living out of creating beers, meads and ciders began to grow after Brad and Kerri’s wedding when the guests gave very positive reviews about their homemade mead.  When Kerri lost her job in 2006, the trio decided to turn brewing into a full-time business. Today B. Nektar is one of the largest meaders in the U.S. and their products are distributed also in several European cities like Berlin.Company: B. Nektar
Place of Origin: Ferndale, Michigan, U.S.A.
Ingredients: apple cider, chai tea (black tea with cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla)
Sweetness as per label: sweet
ABV: 5.5%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep, dark amber with no head. Slightly sparkling. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with notes of caramel, coca-cola, tea and hints of cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and cardamom.

Taste: my first taste is medium sweet, light watery with the low sourness of a lemon. Further notes are of tea, lemon, vanilla, cloves with low astringent taste. It gently numbs the tongue – due to eugenol present in cloves. The finish is lightly citrusy with chai spices and a hint of astringency.

Overall: Jenia from the Muted Horn told me that The Dude’s Rug tastes like Christmas according to her. I would rather compare The Dude’s Rug’s to coca-cola yet made from natural ingredients, with a much deeper taste and better length. Despite many delicious notes of spices, I thought it was refreshing and tasted pleasant on this hot day in Berlin. But to my palate, it was too sweet. The longer I drank it, the less I wanted to take another sip. So this is definitely a thing for those who prefer their cider on the sweeter side. Sadly, I couldn’t pick up any apple notes. Summarizing, an interesting and nicely balanced…Christmas cider or natural coke. 4/6

Availability: B.Nektar ciders seem to be widely available in many European craft beer bars

Price: purchased 0.4l from the Muted Horn in Berlin at 5.20 EUR.

Oliver’s Traditional Cider

When I learned that Tom Oliver of Oliver’s Cider & Perry will attend CiderWorld in Frankfurt I got very excited. It’s not every day that your idol stands right in front of you. Even better, when your idol is even aware that you exist and even reads your blog posts! Tom is not only a great cider maker but a warm and witty person of fascinating personality as it turns out. Today I give you Oliver’s Traditional Cider. Company: Oliver’s Cider and Perry
Place of Origin: Ocle Pochard, Herefordshire, UK
Apples: bittersweet and bittersharp cider apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 500ml amber glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a lightly hazy pale amber with no head. Still. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and spicy with notes of juniper berries, a hint of cloves and vanilla. Also, fresh red apples, cider apples, smokiness with some green herbal undernotes.

Taste: my initial taste is dry with medium acidity of lemon. what comes next is a pungent smoky note, which lingers on and on. Then a flavour of olive brine, ripe yellow apples, strong astringent taste with a bit watery flavour and law saltiness appear. The finish is dry with a light aftertaste of juniper berries.

Overall: before I even tasted the Traditional, just took a sniff, I knew it would pair well with savoury dishes such as sausages or tapas. My first sip only confirmed it. Oliver’s Traditional Cider is a cider that should be served with food, especially based on pork and beef. But I guess vegetarians could enjoy it with quiche as well. Good length, good nose, nice structure. I must admit that I tried it at CiderWorld in Frankfurt at CiderKultur‘s booth first and wasn’t really fond of it. But at home, I’ve tried it at a pretty low temperature and it turned out to be a good idea. Therefore, I would definitely buy it again. But it has to be properly chilled to really enjoy it. A unique offering that will complement your food. 4.5/6 

Availability: from Oliver’s online shop. Locally in London from the Cider House and Bristol from the Bristol Cider Shop or  The Salutation Inn in Ham,  and many others. In Amsterdam from Appels en Perren. In Germany exclusively from CiderKultur.

Price: Oliver’s Traditional cider was a sample provided by CiderKultur

Cydr Ignaców Czarny Ignac 2015

The name of ‘Czarny Ignac’, which I’m going to review tonight derives from a small town of Ignaców, where Cydr Ignaców is created. However, ‘Ignac’ also refers to a male short name ‘Ignacy’, Polish for ‘Ignatius’. ‘Czarny’ is Polish for black. So if you put all this together you get a name of the ‘Black Ignatius’. Sounds powerful and scary at the same time, doesn’t it?Company: Cydr Ignaców
Place of Origin: Ignaców, Masovia, Poland
Apples: a blend of wild apples, Ribston Pippin, Rederka and Arkad
ABV: 7.5%
Package type: 750ml green glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass:  flute or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with a small white head. Medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is aromatic and clear with notes of ripe yellow apples, apple skins, quince, caramel and a hint of ripe juicy pear.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a medium acidity of lemon. The taste moves then to ripe yellow apples, quince, a gentle bitterness of caramel, a medium astringent taste with herbal hints and a hint of alcohol. The finish is dry with a lingering medium astringent taste accompanied by ripe yellow apples. Also, a champagne-like note appears.

Overall: I like my cider to taste like the plant it’s made from, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed the Czarny Ignac 2015. On top of that, both the nose and palate change with the rise of temperature. In the beginning, the nose is dominated by notes of ripe yellow apples but after a while, a note of caramel comes to the front. Tannins are pronounced but nicely balanced. Overall, the Czarny Ignac 2015 has depth, length and a flavorful finish. No question. One of the best Polish ciders I’ve tried so far. Czarny Ignacy 2015 will go well with pork or veal but also on its own. I would buy more. 4.5/6

Availability: it might no longer be available in most Polish speciality shops but I saw a few bottles of the Czarny Ignac 2015 in Frank Winkler’s Lorsbacher Thal in Frankfurt. Perhaps also through Apfelweinkontor in Frankfurt.

Price: Tomasz passed me a bottle when we met up in Warsaw.

Adam & Eva Cider Adam

The name ‘Adam & Eva Cider’ might imply that the brand is owned by a guy named Adam and a lady named Eva, but it’s not the case here. Two school friends Andreas and Jürgen, who grew up on the German side of Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) were wondering what to do with all these apples growing in this heavenly area. An apple jam? An apple pie? Cider, of course! Already in 2015 the first batch of Adam & Eva was bottled and hit the shelves a bit later. Today Adam & Eva Cider has a line up of two ciders, Adam and Eva. Let’s start with the Adam first. Company: Adam & Eva GbR
Place of Origin: Munich, Bavaria, German
Apples: apples from gardens around Bodensee
ABV: 4.7%
Package type: 330ml clear bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a white fizz that slowly dissipates. Low to medium carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose:  it smells lightly sweet of pears, red and yellow apples with a woody touch of stems.

Taste: it begins moderately sweet with very low acidity of lemon. A taste of pear, light astringent taste with vanilla, yellow and green apples with a fresh apple juice note on the mid-palate. Very short taste leaving a light buttery aftertaste.

Overall: the Adam is just a very average offering made from eaters and cookers. It tastes clear of eating apples and its taste disappears very fast, doesn’t linger on. Also, a tiny bit higher acidity would round up the taste. I couldn’t detect any off-notes (apart from the buttery flavour in the aftertaste) or anything that I could call much disturbing but the Adam simply doesn’t stand out from the crowd in any way. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy having Adam and therefore I wouldn’t buy it again. 2.5/6

Availability: widely available in Germany e.g. through Ciderei or Getränkedienst.

Price: Adam from Adam & Eva was a sample provided by Ciderei.

Dunkertons Breakwells Seedling

There is a constantly rising trend of organic foods, beers and wines in the market around the world, but also of organic ciders. And, Dunkertons is one of the few British cider makers producing cider from organic cider apples. More than that, Dunkertons were one of the first to introduce organic farming to the apple orchards in Herefordshire. It was in 1988, long before the boom begun.

Today I give you Dunkertons Breakwells Seedling, a single-varietal cider made form  Breakwells Seedling, an apple variety that was discovered at Perthyre Farm, Monmouth, Wales over a century ago.Company: Dunkertons
Place of Origin: Pembridge, Leominster, Herefordshire, UK
Apples: a single varietal from Breakwells Seedling 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 cloudy pale amber with faint orange hue and a large, white short-lived foam, which leaves a white ring around the glass. Medium carbonation. Low to medium body. There is some sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is tannic and sweetish with lovely notes of juicy red apples and a hint of apple juice. Also, I can get wild notes, beeswax, leather, distant acetic note and nail polish.

Taste: the first sip is medium dry of caramel with a moderate acidity of lemon. Strong astringent taste and bitterness on the mid-palate followed by notes of nail polish, vinegar, barnyard, smoked cheese, red apples, grapefruit and a light watery flavour. It finishes dry with lingering astringent notes and a hint of grapefruit-bitterness with red apples. Alcohol is well hidden despite the high ABV of 7.5%.

Overall: Dunkerton’s Breakwells Seedling Cider is a cider that every cider lover needs to try as it tastes simply extraordinary. The combination of strong tannins, wild notes and flavours of fruity, crisp yet sweet and juicy red apples with citrus notes is simply mind-blowing and make this cider suitable for every palate. However, it’s a cider to sip at a slow pace rather and than drinking without stopping. I think that the Breakwells Seedling is another masterpiece from Dunkertons’ apart from Black Fox that I tried earlier. To be honest, I wouldn’t tell that the Breakwells Seedling is a single-varietal cider. So yes, I would definitely buy it again! 5/6

Availability: from their online shopbroad in the UK Bristol Cider Shop, Beers of Europe,  Abel&ColeCrumpton Hill Farm Shop,  However, outside the UK the availability is rather limited to CiderKultur in Germany, Ciderwinkel in the Netherlands, Opily Jabko and Dobry Cider in the Czech Republic.

Price: Dunkertons Breakwells Seedling was a sample provided by CiderKultur.