Brothers Festival Pear Cider

While doing some background research on Brothers’ and their cider range, I’ve stumbled upon quite interesting facts. Francis, Jonathan, Matthew and Daniel Showering, who stand behind the Brothers, originally had a site at the Glastonbury Festival 1995 selling their Festival Pear Cider. Moreover, since the term perry didn’t ring a bell to many at the time, they called their beverage ‘pear cider’ as it’s “like cider but made from pears”. So know you know where the names ‘Festival Pear Cider’ comes from.Company: Brothers Drinks Co Ltd.
Place of Origin: Shepton Malet, Somerset, UK
Pears: unknown
ABV: 7%
Package type: 500ml brown glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with no head. Slightly sparkling. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: it smells terribly artificial and chemical of cheap and ordinary booze with a note of pear. Very unpleasant.

Taste: it starts very sweet with no detectable acidity. Followed by notes of cheap booze, strong taste of alcohol and pear leaving extremely unpleasant chemical aftertaste with a flavour typical for juice made from concentrate.

Overall: Festival Pear Cider is a horror to a cider afficionado. It tastes sickly sweet and resembles a chemical solution of unknown origin than any kind of juice or fermented juice. I winced after every sip as swallowing this pear cider was a torture! I gave up after half a pint. Undrinkable. I wonder how all these people attending the Glastonbury Festival were able to drink it. 0/6 

Availability: surprisingly very broad. From their online shop. In Berlin at Hopfen und Malz and at The Castle. In Germany, online from Cider & More. Dear Stockists, do you drink sometimes what you offer?

Price: purchased locally in Berlin at 3.5 EUR from Hopfen und Malz


Galipette Cidre Brut

Perhaps it has already come to your attention that Galipette Cidre Brut is produced by Les Celliers Associés. Les Celliers Associés is a cooperative bringing together nearly 189 producers from Brittany and 212 producers from Normandy. It was set up in 1953 in Pleudihen-sur-Rance, Brittany, France and is responsible for manufacturing Val de Rance cidres. Galipette Cidre Brut is made with such cidre apples as Kermerrien, Marie Ménard or Judor.Company: Les Celliers Associés
Place of Origin: Pleudihen-sur-Rance, Brittany, France
cidre apples grown in Brittany such as Kermerrien, Marie Ménard or Judor.
Package type: 
330ml amber glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a lightly cloudy amber with a very large white head that doesn’t really dissipate. High and artificial carbonation. Body medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with sweetish notes of dried apricots, cider apple juice, wood.

Taste: it starts with a moderate to high sweetness and low acidity. Followed by light smokiness, woody notes, a bit watery, light to medium astringency. Finishes with a strong note of caramel and distant low bitterness.

Overall: Galipettes Cidre Brut is a good cidre. Clearly made with cidre apples, with structure and a taste that is longlasting. The aroma is strong and pleasant. But similarly to the previously reviewed cidre Biologique from Galipette, it doesn’t stand out. Anyway, if you decide to purchase a bottle of Cidre Brut I think you won’t be disappointed. I have tried much richer tasting offerings from cider makers from Brittany so it doesn’t impress me much. But for an average cider drinker who appreciates quality and hasn’t tried many cidres from Brittany, it will be a delicious offering that will go well with Galettes, duck or simply on its own. 4/6

Availability: in the UK from Waitrose and Eebria. In the Netherlands from Drank Direct. In Sweden from Systembolaget.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Cider Supply Co.

Kernhaus Johannisbeere

As most of you probably know, cider is completely naturally free of gluten. Thanks to this feature, Maren discovered cider on her trip to Australia and New Zealand. Her husband is gluten intolerant so he drunk cider instead of beer. In solidarity with her husband, Maren also drunk cider and developed a passion for this beverage.   Company: Kernhaus Cider
Place of Origin: Hamburg, Germany
Ingredients: apple cider, blackcurrant juice (4%), sulphites
ABV: 4%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy blood orange red with a white head that quickly dissipates. Low artificial carbonation. Medium body.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is fruity of blackcurrant juice with a hint of yellow apples. The nose is strong but one-dimensional.

Taste: it begins watery, with a very low sweetness and low to medium acidity. Light bitterness, a bit of blackcurrant and lemon. Finishes citrusy with a note of lemon and blackcurrant.

Overall: there is not really much to say about this beverage. If you ever had a watery blackcurrant juice then you can get an idea about the taste of the Johannisbeere from Kernhaus. Both the taste and nose are one-dimensional and boring. Why would you cover the taste of apples with blackcurrant? I guess those who like their cider tasting like a watered down blackcurrant juice, oh I forgot they call it fruit cider now, will be satisfied as it is a drinkable and naturally tasting offering. Yet those who are looking for real cider will not find it in this bottle. 3/6 

Availability: online in Germany from Ciderei or Solvino.

Price: Kernhaus Johannisbeere was a sample provided by Ciderei.

Cydr Ignaców Sicero 2016

With Sicero, Tomasz from Cydr Ignaców wanted to create cider appreciated by all layers of society. By simple drinkers purchasing their cider from an off-licence, those who purchase their products through craft beer stores or wine stores but also those who visit exquisite Michelin star restaurants. Seems that it worked for Sicero as it is carried by an off-licence in Grójec but also available in good restaurants in Warsaw, Poznań and Cracow. Sicero is a combination of two words, sicera, a Latin name for cider and Cicero, a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher.Company: Cydr Ignaców
Place of Origin: Ignaców, Masovia, Poland
Apples: a blend of Kaiser Wilhelm, Bohnapfel, Ribston Pippin, Landsberger Reinette and other old apple varieties
ABV: 7%
Package type: 500ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden/pale amber with a small quickly dissipating white head. Lightly sparkling. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with notes of caramel, smokiness, red and yellow apples.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with low to medium acidity. On the middle palate notes of caramel, white wine notes, smoky notes, lingering bitterness of burnt caramel, light herbal notes and light astringency. Finishes with a light burnt caramel bitterness and a hint of lemon.

Overall: Actually, this is my fourth time trying this cider. Strangely enough, each time I had Sicero I had different thoughts about this cider although my tasting notes were in a way similar. First time I had the Sicero I thought it was fantastic! The second and third time I tried it I thought it was just ok but not spectacular. So I shared my impressions with Tomasz, cidermaker at Cydr Ignaców and he advised me to drink Sicero from any glass but not from a wine glass. Initially, I thought it was a rather strange suggestion. Nevertheless, I decided to follow this advice and went for a pint glass at my 4th attempt. And, you know what? Tomasz was right. The larger sips you take of the Sicero, the more flavours you get and appreciate this cider more. All these caramel notes, burnt caramel-like bitterness and smokiness make you feel like you are tasting very drinkable English cider of great quality but with a character of Polish apples. Drink it only lightly chilled from a pint glass. Will go well with any kind of food. Well done, Tomasz. 4.5/6

Availability: broad in Poland. From an off-license in Grojec up to good restaurants in Warsaw, Poznań and Cracow.

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

Hoxton Cidersmiths Harry Masters’ Jersey

Last year, after publishing the first review on cider from Hoxton Cidersmiths, the Michelin & Brown’s I learned that guys from Hoxton Cidersmiths don’t make their cider themselves. Their cider is made under contract by cidermakers at Sheppy’s Cider and bottled as Hoxton Cidersmiths cider. So I’m not exactly sure how does it make them a craft cidery. Anyway, Harry Masters’ Jersey is an English cider apple variety coming straight out of Somerset.
Hoxton Cidersmiths 
Place of Origin: 
London, UK
 Harry Masters Jersey
Sweetness as per label:
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: 
500ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, snifter or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a short-lived head. Carbonation is artificial. The body is light.

Aroma/Nose: the nose exhibits notes of funk, barnyard, leather, caramel, red apples, hay, and a hint of sulphur.

Taste: the first sip is very sweet with only low acidity. On the mid-palate light smokiness resembling the rind of camembert, followed by yellow fresh juicy apple and light astringency. The finish is dry with a lingering smoky note of smoked cheese and distant sulphur.

Overall: if you like your cider on the sweeter side and enjoy light cider then this cider is for you. I found it too sweet and too average. It tasted balanced and rich, yet something was missing. This is pretty common among single varietal ciders. Anyway, if you are only at the beginning of your cider adventure I think this cider is a good one to start with as it is quite sweet and mild. For the record, the sulphur hint is just there, adds complexity, but I can’t say it’s anyhow disturbing. Goes well with fish & chips. 3.5/6 

Availability: online through Ciderlab or locally from  The Cider House in London.

Price: purchased in the Curator in Terminal 3 at London Heathrow Airport at 5.75 GBP.

Cidrerie des Terroirs Royal Guillevic Label Rouge 2016

The vast majority of cidre producers in Brittany and Normandy make cidre by blending at least a couple of apple varieties. So seeing a single varietal cidre from Brittany is extremely rare. As a matter of fact, I have never reviewed or even sampled a single varietal French cidre. But here comes the opportunity of trying one. I’m giving you the Royal Guillevic 2016 from Cidrerie des Terroirs. Royal Guillevic is a small green apple that is grown in the Morbihan region in southern Brittany. The Royal Guillevic has been awarded the Label Rouge quality mark, the official endorsement of the superior quality of food. Company: Cidrerie des Terroirs
Place of Origin: Lizio, Morbihan, Brittany, France
Royal Guillevic
Package type: 
750ml green glass champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale amber with a large white head that slowly dissipates. High carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with notes of dried apricots, raisins, wood and spicy of old spice. A hint of tangerine far in the background.

Taste: it begins sweet with a very low acidity. Further down, fresh green apples, smokiness, raisins, dried apricots and peach. Low astringency. Finishes citrusy and refreshing with a note of peach and distant peppermint.

Overall: for a single-varietal cidre the Royal Gullevic is surprisingly full-bodied yet smooth. The taste is intense, strong and clear although I can’t get that many notes. The level of sweetness is just right. In the beginning, there was almost no acidity. But surprisingly citrusy acidity with a hint of peppermint appeared at the finish leaving a very refreshing aftertaste. Also, its favour is compelling but somehow this Royale Guillevic from Cidrerie des Terroirs didn’t wow me. the Royal Guillevic will go great with savoury Galettes. 4.5/6

Availability: directly through Cidrerie des Terroirs. In Germany from Vinizone.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Lucian from Cidrerie des Terroirs

Stonewell Nohoval Apple Oak Wine

Today, I have a very special stuff to sample. It is an apple oak wine from Stonewell/Finnbarra. It is a blend of Dabinett and Michelin grown in County Laois and matured in French Burgundy oak casks for a minimum of 12 months. To be frank, Daniel from Stonewell/Finnbarra shipped this beauty to me shortly after CiderWorld 2018 in Frankfurt. But since summer arrived early this year and stayed until October, not exactly creating the right conditions for an apple oak wine I postponed the sampling until Autumn. Now the conditions are perfect for such a drop and I hope that Daniel will not be too angry with me.Company: Nohoval Brewing Company Limited
Place of Origin: Nohoval, Kindle, County Cork, Ireland
Apples: a blend of Dabinett and Michelin grown in County Laois
ABV: 15%
Package type: 500ml amber wax sealed bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: sherry glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber. Still. Body is high.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is strong with notes of dried plums, vanilla, chocolate, dried apricots, baked apples, lightly sweet and red wine.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a low residual sweetness and a low level of acidity. Fresh and tangy apples followed by liquor-filled chocolates, berries, leaving a long-lasting note of red wine, vanilla and baked apples.

Overall: It was well worth the wait. It’s cold outside so a small glass of this apple oak wine can warm you up and set you in a good mood. Not only because it’s booze but because it’s a great booze. The level of sweetness is just right. Countless delicious flavours appear one after another turning the tasting experience into a never-ending but very enjoyable ride. With this drop in my cider stash, I hope the winter never ends. Daniel, can you please make more of this great stuff? 5/6

Availability: directly from Stonewell if they have any bottles left.

Price: Nohoval Apple Oak Wine was a sample provided by Daniel from Stonewell.