I’m happy to introduce to you a new Polish cider maker, Cydrownia Zywer located in the south-eastern corner of Poland, in Kańczuga, Subcarpathian. Cydrownia Zywer is named after the two owners, Tomek and Ula Zywer, who make their cider from apples grown in very old apple orchards, once grown owned by the local fruit processing business. Currently, Tomek and Ula have two ciders in their product portfolio, Brus and Foszt.
Today, I’m going to review Brus, which in a local dialect means solid plank of rough lumber but also an uncouth person. The Zywer Brus was recently awarded Gold in the dry sparkling cider category at XI SISGA Awards in Asturias, Spain. It is my first time trying anything from this Polish cider maker.
Company:Cydrownia Zywer Place of Origin: Kańczuga, Subcarpathian, Poland Apples: a blend of old apple varieties such as Bohnapfel, Reinette, Boskoop, Bancroft and Oberländer Himbeerapfel grown locally Sweetness as per label: dry ABV: 7% Package type: 750ml green glass bottle with crown cork Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler
Appearance: pours a cloudy pale amber with a foam that reduces to a ring. The carbonation is high and natural. Body is also medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with notes of yellow and red apple, apple skin and some caramel to it.
Taste: it begins dry but with some residual sweetness and moderate acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, yellow apple, touch of astringency. Finishes dry with a note of lingering note of lemon and a touch of alcohol.
Overall: Poland hasn’t got a long cider tradition so Polish cider makers are still learning how to make good quality cider. The Zywer Brus 2020 is a good example of a Polish cider that actually tastes quite nice! It’s not entirely dry with a good body. Also, the level of acidity is just fine but surprisingly doesn’t seem to be refreshing. It’s nothing bad. It will simply taste better only slightly chilled on a rather cold evening as it warms up a little. The length is good and the tannin soft yet a bit rough. It has a typical flavor for Bohnapfel, which I personally adore but which might be off-putting to some. Overall, I think that the Zywer Brus 2020 is a decent cider that I wouldn’t mind to have again. Not sure if it deserved to win Gold in Asturias as I don’t know who did it compete with. But it is without a doubt one of the best Polish ciders I tried recently. It will pay nicely with fish due to the nice acidity. Worth trying. 4.5/6
Availability: click here for the full list of stockists.
There is a new cider maker in Berlin, Van Saft. As the name doesn’t not sound exactly German, it is not hard to guess that a Dutch stands behind Van Saft. Diederik and Toby, his friend from German. Diederik is a big cider enthusiast and together with Toby decided to start his own cider venture. Their cider is made from organic apples from Brandenburg.
This will be my first time trying anything from this cider maker.
Company:Van Saft Place of Origin: Berlin, Germany Apples : a blend of organic apples from Brandenburg Sweetness as per label: n/a ABV: 5% Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with a screw cap Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler
Appearance: pours a very cloudy pale amber with a little foam. The carbonation is strong and artificial. Body is low.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is weak with notes of a freshly pressed apple juice of red apples.
Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with a low to acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of a freshly pressed apple juice, red apple and a touch of bitterness. Finishes dry with a touch of grapefruit peel.
Overall: briefly, to me this is not a cider but a very refreshing sparkling apple juice resembling Apfelschorle, a popular beverage in Berlin being an apple juice with sparkling water. Even the bottle shape is not typical for a cider but rather a juice- at least in this part of Europe. Judging by the bottle, I would never tell that it is an alcoholic beverage. Taste wise, it tastes like a good quality apple juice with a lovely and refreshing acidity of lemon so I see no reason why anyone would not find it drinkable or even enjoyable. Due to cloudiness, I think that this beverage was made most likely from pasteurized juice. Not sure how to rate it to be honest. In terms of apple juice it would be a clear 5 to me. But since I’m supposed to rate a cider here, I can’t give it more than 2/6. This is nothing more than an apple juice that can make you tipsy.
Availability: in selected restaurants and outlets in Berlin.
It’s been two years since I last time reviewed a cider from Manfred of Böhm Ciderwerkstatt based in Mulfingen-Hollenbach, Baden-Wüttemberg, Germany. In the meantime, Manfred established a cider cellar along with a shop with locally grown fruit and locally made products. I invite you to visit Böhm Ciderwerkstatt if you are in the Mulfingen-Hollenbach, Baden-Wüttemberg area.
Today’s cider is a blend of all old apple varieties grown in several locations around Mulfingen-Hollenbach. Manfred usually names his cider after the orchard that gave the fruit for the cider but due to frost in early 2020, there were not a lot of fruit so apples come from several orchards. Hence, the name is a more general one Zaisenhausen. As for the apple varieties, Manfred’s cider comprises e.g. Brettacher, Hohenloher Zufallsämling, Jakob Fischer and Bittenfelder Sämling. Company:Böhm Cider Werkstatt Place of Origin: Mulfingen-Hollenbach, Baden-Wüttemberg, Germany Apples: Brettacher, Hohenloher Zufallsämling, Jakob Fischer and Bittenfelder Sämling ABV: 8.1% Package type: 250 ml clear glass bottle with a screw cap Recommended type of glass: wine glass
Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a light orange hue. No visible carbonation. Body is medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is rather weak with notes of red apples and oxidized apples with a touch of alcohol.
Taste: my first impression is dry with a touch of residual sweetness and moderate acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, low astringency, alcohol, low bitterness of apple seeds, a touch of rum. A bit watery. Finishes dry with a note of alcohol and rum.
Overall: Manfred shared with me lab tests of this cider. As per the results, it has 0g sugar. However, interestingly,I could taste some residual sweetness to it. It was not significant but it was there. I guess my taste buds must be hyper sensitive to sweetness. Anyway, the Böhm Ciderwerkstatt Zaisenhausen Mouschd Apfelwein 2020 has a good length, a nice array or flavours. I initially thought that it could be too heavy for a really sunny and warm day due to high ABV, but it was not the case. As is it slightly watery, it doesn’t make you feel that’s too heavy. Also the acidity is nicely balanced and contributes to the overall positive perception of this beverage. My only comment is the nose, which is rather weak and not rich in terms of flavours. Nevertheless, I enjoyed having the Böhm Ciderwerkstatt Zaisenhausen Mouschd Apfelwein 2020 and I think this is one of these ciders that everyone is going to like. 4/6
Availability: from Manfred’s webshop and locally in his shop in Mulfingen-Hollenbach, Baden-Wüttemberg.
Price: a sample of this cider was provided by Manfred
After a short summer break, I’m back with new cider and perry reviews. Tonight, I”m very excited to be able to share with you a review of a perry made by Patrick and Wendy of 1785 Cider based in Unterkirnach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The 1785 Cider Perry Cuvée 2020 received Silver in the Cider World Awards 2021 in the category Sparkling Cider flavored and mixed. Previously, I sampled their cider Brut 2020.
Company: 1785 Cider Place of Origin: Unterkirnach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany Pears : a blend of five Perry pear varieties: Schweizer Wasserbirne, Oberösterreicher Weinbirne and three unidentified perry pears. Sweetness as per label: brut ABV: 7% Package type: 750ml green glass bottle with crown cork Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler
Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden. The carbonation is strong and natural. There is a foam that reduces slowly to a ring. Body is medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and fruity with notes of yellow apple, wood, pear stalks in particular with a touch of funk.
Taste: it begins lightly sweet with a touch of acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, very strong astringency, ripe, juicy pear, wood, low bitterness with a not of bubble gum vinous note. Finishes dry with a touch of alcohol, caramel and coffee.
Overall: After trying so many perrys made in Germany from local perry pear varieties, I can only tell that locally grown perry pear varieties are really something and make a fantastic perry. They are highly loaded with tannin, which makes these this fruit simply perfect for making perry. So there is no surprise that Perry Cuvée 2020 made by Patrick in Wendy of 1786 Cider is really a pleasant beverage. The nose is strong although I must say I didn’t get many notes on the nose but perhaps they were simply covered. The taste is rich and long-lasting and make you discover new notes while you’re sipping it. Typically for perry, there is some sweetness to it with a very low acidity but I thought it was nicely balanced so you can sip it without getting tired of it and no disturbing notes at all. Even the taste of alcohol towards the end was not disturbing in my opinion. Overall, the 1786 Cider Perry Cuvée 2020 was pleasant to drink but still I think it can be even better, richer. Anyway, I would drink it again. Nice job, Patrick and Wendy! 4.5/6
When one notices that one single cider maker wins Gold, Silver Bronze in an amateur cider competition, overtaking competitors in almost all categories, it is simply impossible not to get curious. Just take a look at the results of the Greater Poland Cup 2021 below or click the link.
As you might have noticed, Cydrownia Saint Cyprien / Cydr Radosny basically smashed the competitors winning basically everything. So in a situation like this, what do you when you are temporarily located in the same city as the cider maker and you have already tried two ciders from their cider range? That’s right, you want to learn MORE and understand why on Earth this particular cider maker won so many awards.
I’m referring here to Cydr Radosny Wroclaw, Lower Silesia, Poland. As a refresher, Cydr Radosny (Polish for Joyful Cider) is made up by Radek and Mikołaj. I previously reviewed their Brettoffowy and Igielkowy z Imbirem. Radek has always wanted to make wine. So in order to practice wine making techniques he started experimenting with an easily available fruit that in the Autumn usually rots on the ground under the trees as no-one picks it up – an apple. In 2018, Radek entered his first cider in a competition Lubelskie Stowarzyszenie Milosnikow Cydru (The Lublin Association of Cider Lovers) and won the first prize.
After seeing the results of the Greater Poland, I first thought that there were only little cider makers who entered their ciders. However, I was told that approx. 120 ciders were entered into this cider competition, and roughly 20 were entered by Cydr Radosny. If that is indeed the fact, then this is a truly remarkable achievement for Cydr Radosny!
And then, what happened is the following: I received an invitation to an exclusive tasting of some of the Cider Radosny winning ciders. Apart from me there were two friends of Radek and Mikolaj and a Wroclaw food blogger Magda of Zwidelcempowroclawiu. The tasting took place in one of the idyllic old post-German allotment gardens in the Osobowice neighborhood of Wroclaw, Lower Silesia in Poland. Needless to say that the conditions among old fruit trees, herbs and hedgehogs passing through were simply fabulous. Well, except perhaps for the mosquitos craving for our blood and flying continuously above our heads. Anyway, Radek and Mikolaj prepared several cider flights:
Oaza spokoju 2020 (a blend of several varieties of 2020)
Grochówka 2020 (a single varietal made with Bohnapfel using wild yeast maturated until 01.2020) and Grochówka 2020 (a single varietal made with Bohnapfel using wild yeast maturated until 03.2020)
Antonowka 2020 (a single varietal made with Antonowka using selected yeast), Pigwowiec 2020 (made with Japanese quince)
Reinettes 2020 (a blend of Reinette du Canada 66% with Reine de Reinettes 33% using selected wine yeasts), Brettofowy Debiut 2020, Kamieniaki spod Ślęży 2020 (a blend of two different ciders made with Bohnapfel)
Rajskie 2020 (a blend of old apple varieties and crab apples using selected yeast)
Elderflower 2019 (made with Elderflower syrup), Elderflower 2018 (made with elderflower), Elderflower 2019 (made with elderflower), Elderflower 2020 (made with elderflower).
Overall, I must admit that I was amazed by the quality of ciders made by the guys from Cydr Radosny. Although Radek and Mikolaj are still at an early stage of cider making, where they are experimenting with different apple varieties, different blends and even additional ingredients such as Japanese quince, elderflower or hops, their ciders made quite an impression on me. All of their ciders were complex, highly drinkable with a structure, a broad array of flavours and good length. As there were overall only 4 participants in our small cider tasting, it was interesting to see that we all had different taste preferences. My personal favorites were Oaza spokoju 2020 and Antonowka 2020. Their Antonowka really amazed me as the nose was very aromatic with a strong note of green apples although apparently the apples used for this cider were ripe and definitely not green. Also, this apple variety is usually rich in acid, however, the level of acidity in this cider was just right, very refreshing but not too strong. This is something I could imagine drinking on a hot summer day or pair with fish or sea food.
I also thought that the flight with different versions of elderflower was inspiring. Admittedly, I preferred the cider made with elderflower to elderflower sirup. It gave a completely different taste profile.
I summary, I enjoyed the possibility of trying several different ciders made by Cydr Radosny and being able to directly compare the differences between the taste profiles of ciders made using different production methods, blends or ingredients. Not sure how about you but I don’t get a chance like that every day. Also, It was interesting to see how different perception of different ciders among our tiny audience was.
Needless to say after this cider tasting at Cydr Radosny, I’m no longer surprised by the results of the Greater Poland. Ciders made by Radek and Mikolaj are really well one, have a good quality and are very drinkable. And, I do hope that soon they will be commercially available so a broader audience can try and make their own opinion about the ciders made by Cydr Radosny.
The Muxaller Cider Friesenjung is a cider that received Honor in the category sparkling cider in the recent Cider World’21 Award. As the name already indicates, the Muxaller Friesenjung is made in Muxall, Schleswig-Holstein, not exactly a typical cider area of Germany. The person behind this cider is Steve O’Connor, who originally comes from New Zealand and has background in winemaking. Looks that not only traveling but also migration contribute to the spread of cider culture.
Friesenjung is the first cider released by Steve but he is planning to launch more ciders soon.
This will be my first time trying anything from this cider maker.
Company:Muxaller Cider Place of Origin: Muxall Schleswig-Holstein, Germany Apples : a blend of apples from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (Boskoop, Holsteiner Cox) and Devon, UK (Dabinett, Browns) Sweetness as per label: n/a ABV: 5,7% Package type: 330ml amber glass bottle with crown cork Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler
Appearance: pours a clear cloudy golden yellow with a little foam. The carbonation is low and artificial. Body is low to medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is weak with notes of caramel, creamy caramel, yellow apple, a bit tannic, phenolic.
Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with a low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of yellow apple, moderate astringency and a touch of bitterness. Finishes dry with a touch of caramel and sort of liquid sugar.
Overall: The Muxaller Friesenjung is a cider that will be to everyone’s taste. It is a very balanced marriage between the German and English style cider. It has the right level of refreshing acidity thanks to local German apples and the tannin and body of Dabinett and Brown’s from the UK. There are no potentially off-putting off-notes, literally nothing disturbing. Also, it’s neither too sweet or too sour. Just right. Nevertheless, I’m going to give this cider only 4/6 and this is because of the aroma that is rather weak although admittedly complex and because the length might have been longer. It’s not short but the lovely tastes disappears too quickly. Steve wanted to create a cider that goes well with food and can be enjoyed on its own. Steve, you made it. But I think you can do better. 4/6
Availability: directly from Muxaller Cider. Also, in selected restaurants and outlets in the north of Germany.
1785 Cider. No, 1785 is not a vintage. I don’t think you will find a cider that old! 1785 actually refers to the year where the house on a farm in the beautiful Black Forest belonging to Patrick and Wendy was built. Patrick grew up in the area making traditional “Moscht”, while his wife Wendy originally comes from Seattle. And, Seattle its the place where the idea of making cider was born. Thanks to the progressing craft cider evolution in Seattle, both Patrick and Wendy decided to leave their well paid jobs and focus on cider making in Germany.
This will be my first time trying anything from this cider maker.
Company: 1785 Cider Place of Origin: Unterkirnach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany Apples : a blend of local apple varieties Sweetness as per label: brut ABV: 7,4% Package type: 750ml green glass bottle with crown cork Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler
Appearance: pours a slightly cloudy golden yellow. The carbonation is moderate and natural. There is a foam that reduces slowly to a ring. Body is medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong and complex with notes of yellow apple, ripe pear, some sweetness and spiciness. I’m also getting a touch of funk.
Taste: it starts dry with a touch of residual sweetness and a low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of yellow apple, lemon, low astringency and some bitter notes. Finishes dry with a touch of sherry and a touch of grapefruit-like bitterness and just bitterness.
Overall: The 1785 Brut is a properly made cider that has complexity, an array of flavours, good body and a long-lasting taste. The nose is strong and appealing. Like I said, it is properly made. From the technical point of view, I have nothing to complain about. Yet, I didn’t find it exciting. The combination of many flavours both on the nose and the palate didn’t steel my heart. And, I’m afraid I will rather quickly forget its taste as it resembles many others ciders or sparkling apple wines made with so called Streuobst apple varieties available out there. Then again, if you decide to purchase this cider I think that you will not regret your decision as like I said it is properly made. And, you might also enjoy its pleasantly coating citrusy notes like I did. But it’s not enough to call this cider very good. It’s simply good. 4/6
Today I’m giving you a cider that is very suitable for this gloomy, cold and wet May weather, the Cydr Radosny Igiełkowy z Imbirem 2020 (Polish for needle & ginger cider). “Needle” because it is made with the needles of Douglas fir tree and pine tree. I don’t think that the ginger part requires any explanation. The Igiełkowy z Imbirem 2020 is made using a commercial yeast strain by the guys from the Polish Cydr Radosny, Radek and Mikołaj. I have previously reviewed their BrettOffowy 2020.
Company:Cydr Radosny Place of Origin: Wrocław, Lower Silesia, Poland Ingredients: a blend of old apple varieties that are locally grown with needles of Douglas fir tree and pine tree along with ginger. Sweetness as per label: dry ABV: 6% Package type: 500ml amber glass bottle with crown cork Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler
Appearance: pours a very hazy pale golden yellow with a foam that reduces to a ring. The carbonation is medium. Body is also medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and floral with something spicy. I’m getting notes of desiccated ginger, elderflower with a piny touch.
Taste: it begins dry with a medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of desiccated ginger, floral notes, smokiness, yellow apples but also a bit watery. Finishes dry with notes of pine.
Overall: When using flavoring ingredients for cider, there is always a risk that you overdo these ingredients and the cider doesn’t taste like actual cider. However, the guys from Cydr Radosny managed to add just the right amount of these ingredients to their Igielkowy. When drinking, you can still tell that you are drinking a cider as the apple character still plays the main part here. And, the notes of needles and ginger are just supporting here by adding additional floral/piny flavors. But, also due to this fact you can tell that the apples used for this cider were not exactly cider apples – this is due to the watery taste. In a way, it can be seen also as an advantage as exactly this makes this cider taste rather light and suitable not only for the winter time but also for the summer. Anyway, I thought the Igiełkowy z Imbirem 2020 was very drinkable and wouldn’t mind having it again. I hope to see this cider commercially available soon! 4/6
Availability: unfortunately, not available commercially for now
Barry’s adventure with fermenting has begun in 2006 when he started experimenting with different hop varieties in his beers. Once Barry discovered cider, as a former beer brewer, he took advantage of his brewing experience and tried dry-hopping ciders with popular US hops that are frequently used by craft beer brewers. But due to citric flavors that would come with these hope varieties he wasn’t exactly happy with his experiments. So Barry turned to less known hop varieties that give more vinous flavors such as Hüll Melon. Hüll Melon is a German hop variety that is supposed to give fruity notes of honey melon, strawberry, apricot along with some sweetness.
Company:Kertelreiter Cider Place of Origin: Schefflenz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany Ingredients : a blend of local apple varieties along with a hop variety Hüll Melon Sweetness as per label: dry ABV: 6,6% Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cork Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler
Appearance: pours an almost clear pale golden yellow. The carbonation is moderate and natural. There is a foam that reduces slowly to a ring. Body is low to medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong and complex – it’s not easy to identify any particular notes. But I got a note of honey melon, elderflower and of salty olive brine.
Taste: my first taste is dry with a low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, spiciness, notes of yellow apples, mineral notes, low but long-lasting bitterness and a touch of honey lemon. Finishes dry with a mineral note and a very low bitterness along with a note of salty olive brine.
Overall: Not sure how about you but when I see a hoped cider I have a sort of an idea how it may taste like. This is mostly due to the use of specific hop varieties for dry hopping of cider. Well, this is indeed not the case with the Highway to Hüll made by Barry. While having the Highway to Hüll, I never had a feeling that I was drinking a hopped cider. Neither a cider. Due to mineral notes I had the impression I was drinking a pleasant white wine from the Rhine area. It is complex, nicely build so for me it was actually a challenge to identify notes both on the nose and on the palate. I didn’t get any notes of strawberries or apricots but there was indeed something fruity in there. It doesn’t mean that there are no flavors but rather that they come at the same time -due to this fact the taste is perhaps not really short but not exactly long-lasting. I thought that the Highway to Hüll was a unique and interesting offering but it didn’t steal my heart. Anyways, definitely worth trying. 4/6
Availability: from their online shop– they also ship to other EU countries!
Some of you may know that I review not only ciders already commercially available but also those that are made by cider lovers who may want to launch their products in the future. A cider that I’m going to review today, belongs to the latter group.
Cydr Radosny (Polish for Joyful Cider) is made by Radek and Mikołaj in a neighborhood of Wroclaw, Lower Silesia, Poland called Karłowice. Radek has always wanted to make wine. So in order to practice wine making techniques he started experimenting with an easily available fruit that in the Autumn usually rots on the ground under the trees as no-one picks it up – an apple. In 2018, Radek entered his first cider in a competition Lubelskie Stowarzyszenie Milosnikow Cydru (The Lublin Association of Cider Lovers) and won the first prize. Nicely done!
The Cydr Radosny BrettOffowy 2020 is made with old locally grown apple varieties using wild yeast. It’s my first time trying anything from Radek and Mikołaj.
Company:Cydr Radosny Place of Origin: Wrocław, Lower Silesia, Poland Apples: a blend of old apple varieties that are locally grown. Sweetness as per label: dry ABV: 6% Package type: 750ml clear glass bottle with crown cork Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler
Appearance: pours a hazy pale golden yellow with a foam that reduces to a ring that doesn’t go away. The carbonation is medium. Body is also medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong and fruity with notes of yellow apples, a hint of pear and leather.
Taste: my first taste is dry with medium to high acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of lemon, yellow apples, smokiness, low bitterness, and a touch of alcohol but also a bit watery. Finishes dry and fruity with a touch of lees.
Overall: The Cydr Radosny BrettOffowy 2020 is a really decent offering. It is complex, well made with a long-lasting taste and a nice array of fruity flavors. The level of acidity is just right and together with the fruity notes of yellow apples and pears make this cider very drinkable. This is something that I wouldn’t mind drinking again. Moreover, I’d like to stress that I have already tried several Polish commercially available craft ciders that tasted much less interesting or simply much worse than cider made by Radek and Mikolaj. Yet, while drinking the Cydr Radosny BrettOffowy 2020 I had a sort of dejavú, the impression that I have tried something similar before. Hence, I didn’t find the BrettOffowy 2020 somehow unique comparing to many ciders I haver tried so far. As I said in the beginning, it is a really honest and good cider and I’m going to cheer the guys from Cydr Radosny on their cider journey. If I find their cider one day on a store shelf, I’m going to purchase it. And, you also should. 4/6
Availability: unfortunately, not available commercially for now