Lazy Fox Cider Ingwer-Basilikum

With Lazy Fox, three friends from Hamburg, Robin, Sascha and Henning wanted to introduce a beverage that could be positioned somewhere between cocktails and soft drinks. So they created a range of ciders, the Original (which I have already tried here), the Ingwer-Basilikum (ginger-basil) and the Cranberry-Minze (cranberry-peppermint). Today I’m sampling the ginger-basil flavoured version. Company: Lazy Fox GmbH
Place of Origin: Hamburg, Germany
Ingredients: apple wine, water, sugar, carbon dioxide, natural ginger and basil flavours with other natural flavours, citric acid, sulphites
ABV: 4.9%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a short-lived white fizz. Medium artificial carbonation. Low body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is weak with notes of pineapple, ginger, butter, alcohol, green notes with peppermint but not basil or apple.

Taste: it starts very sweet of sugar with a low acidity of lemon. Followed by a bit spicy flavour of ginger with notes of butter, light fresh apple, peppermint and light alcohol. Finishes quickly leaving a fruity, spicy and a bit chemical aftertaste.

Overall: this is officially the worst German cider I have ever tried so far. I have a feeling that someone wanted to poison me with this as it tastes like a fruity washing up liquid. It has unpleasant notes of something buttery with some sort of chemical notes. Thankfully, the taste doesn’t linger on. Did anyone try it before it hit the shelves? I couldn’t drink it and it went down the sink. Horrible stuff. 1.5/6 

Availability: online in Germany from their online shopCiderei and Getränke Paradies Wolf. In Switzerland through PiffPaff.

Price: Lazy Fox Cider Ingwer-Basilikum was a sample provided by Ciderei,

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Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué Cidre Fermier

Although Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué from Brittany was set up in 1990, the first cidre was made by the Jan-Autret brothers only in 1996. This is because apples used for cidre require a minimum of six years of growth before they fruit and can be used for cidre.

Cidre Fermier is a cider made on the farm using apples grown on this specific farm.Company: Cidrerie du Chateau de Lezergue
Place of Origin: Ergué-Gabéric, Cornouaille, Brittany, France
Apples: 
locally grown cider apples
ABV:
4.5%
Package type:
750ml green glass champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass, chalice glass, flute or bollée

Appearance: pours a clear vivid orange with a large white head that quickly reduces to a ring. High carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and sweet with notes of apricots, floral hints, fresh apples and a hint of green apples. Also, hints of wood, honey and caramel.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with a low acidity. Further down medium astringency, fresh apple and fresh apple flesh, apricots, wood, with floral hints. Finishes citrusy with a hint of honey and a touch of apple seed-like bitterness.

Overall: Excellent! The first thing you notice is its seducing scent. It’s strong and gentle at the same time. Floral notes accompanied by fruity flavours dominated by fresh apples along with wood, honey and caramel are simply irresistible. The Fermier is something I could smell all day long. Once you decide to take a sip you fall even deeper for this cidre. The taste is again floral and fruity with apricot and apple aromas rounded up by many delicious flavours and extremely longlasting. The tannin is there but just rounds up the taste, without giving the mouth puckering effect. For me, it could be a tiny bit less sweet but perhaps it is because I’m having it on its own. With mild or delicate cheese, it would taste absolutely perfect. Well done! 5.5/6

Availability: mainly in Brittany, France. But also available from Ciderbar in Copenhagen.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Lucian from Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué.

Hogan’s Wild Elder

In terms of taste, elderflower might be associated with the spring or summer. But elderflower has also a wide range of health benefits, especially useful for this time of year. There is a solid scientific evidence that elderflower has antiviral & antibacterial effects and what’s more important it can boost the immune system. What I’m trying to say here is that if you’re looking for an excuse to drink cider with elderflower, just say it’s for your own good. This is why I put my hands on the Wild Elder from Hogan’s Cider.Company: Hogan’s Cider
Place of Origin: Alcester, Warwickshire, UK
Ingredients: English cider apple juice, water, sugar, elderflower cordial, carbon dioxide, malic acid, preservative: potassium metabisulphite (sulphites)
ABV: 4%
Package type: 500ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a white head that quickly dissipates. Medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is very aromatic and smells sweetish, a bit syrupy and fruity of elderflower and grapefruit. Also, I can get herbal notes.

Taste: my first taste is medium sweet with a low acidity. Elderflower and a smoky note with a lingering light astringency on the mid-palate. The finish is dry and has notes of elderflower with a touch of grapefruit bitterness.

Overall: If you call a beverage a cider it should taste like one, right? As for the Wild Elder, it has no apple aromas at all. You can taste only the elderflower cordial that was added. Perhaps a note of grapefruit, smokiness and the tannin give you a hint that the base for the beverage is or might be cider. Leaving this fact behind, I must admit that I enjoyed having the Wild Elder. It’s fruity, refreshing and the taste is intense and lingering. Those who like their beverages (intentionally I’m not using the word cider) on the sweeter side or simply those who like elderflower are gonna love it. Have it with cheese or simply on its own to protect yourself from the cold weather. 4.5/6 

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

Price: Hogan’s Wild Elder was a sample provided by Cider Kultur.

Brauhaus Gusswerk Papagena

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

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

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

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

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

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

Price: The Papagena from Brauhaus Gusswerk was a sample provided by Ciderei

Kelterei Schmidt Josche’s Apfelwein

Joschua Schmidt a.k.a. Josche, a physics student from Giessen, Hesse, have always wanted to own a meadow orchard, so-called Streuobstwiese. And, he purchased one nearly 5 years ago and started distilling his own apple brandy for his own personal use. But, since for the production of apple brandy you need apple juice pressed from ca. 200kg apples, there were always some apples left. So what to do with the apple juice that cannot be put through distillation? Obviously, Apfelwein! And, this is how the story of Josche’s Apfelwein began. Both, Josche’s Apfelbrand (German for apple brandy) and Josche’s Apfelwein are now commercially available in Gießen, Wetzlar and Linden.
Company: Kelterei Schmidt
Place of Origin: Gießen, Hesse, Germany
Apples: locally sourced apples from meadow orchards in the Gießen area
ABV: 5.6%
Package type: 330ml clear bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or Gerriptes
Bottle No: 
1044

Appearance: pours a clear golden with no fizz and no carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with flavours of fresh yellow apples, quince,  mirabelle plum, must, but also notes of whisky and oak with a hint of alcohol.

Taste: it starts dry with a low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate notes of yellow apples, musty notes with a light astringency. Finishes dry and quickly with notes of yellow apples and mirabelle plums.

Overall: a typical Apfelwein from Hesse is usually very tart and has no depth. One could even say that it’s dull. In terms of Josche’s Apfelwein, I would say that it’s something between typical Apfelwein and a high-class wine like those I’ve tried from Gutshof Kraatz. You can tell only by looking at the bottle and the number of produced bottles that Josche’s Apfelwein is an artisan product. It has beautiful and clear notes on the nose and on the palate, but the taste finishes quickly. Too quickly. Let me put it this way, if I had to choose between a regular Apfelwein and Josche’s Apfelwein, I would definitely go with Josche’s drop as it’s very drinkable, refreshing, pleasant, without any off-putting notes and very food friendly. But it can be better. 4/6

Availability: currently available in Gießen, Wetzlar and Linden. Also, online through Josche’s facebook page. Interestingly, you can pay with cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

Price: Josche’s Apfelwein was provided by Josche himself.

Manufaktura Cydru Perry – Limited Edition

Apart from their Perry – Wanilia i Kakao, Manufaktura Cydr based in Podolszyn near Warsaw released also a regular perry without any additions, the Perry – Limited Edition. This perry was inoculated with a specially selected yeast strain and slowly fermented at low temperature to retain fruit flavours and freshness. To reduce the acidity level, it was allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation.  Company: Manufaktura Cydru
Place of Origin: Podolszyn, Masovia, Poland
Pears: 
unknown pear varieties
ABV:
 5.8%
Package type: 
750ml green glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy straw yellow with a quickly dissipating white head. Low carbonation. Body is low. Some sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is not strong and not complex but sour with strong notes of Sauerkraut and gunpowder/fireworks-like flavours of sulphur. 

Taste: it begins with a low residual sweetness and a low to medium acidity of Sauerkraut. Further on the palate, a watery taste, gunpowder/fireworks-like flavours of sulphur that linger on and again a note of Sauerkraut.  The finish is slightly sweet.

Overall: I think that the limited edition Perry from Manufaktura Cydru was also used as the base to make their Perry – Wanilia i Kakao, with vanilla and cocoa beans as the resemblance is striking. The notes of Sauerkraut and gunpowder/fireworks-like note of sulphur along with a watery taste are detectable in both perries. Luckily, I can’t taste here the disturbing note of stale cocoa beans. I thought it was drinkable, but due to the mentioned off-notes, it’s not going to be for everyone. In my opinion, Manufaktura Cydru can do much better than this. Please, don’t give up! 3/6

Availability: from Skrzynka Piwa in Warsaw. Perhaps other craft beer shops in Poland may still stock a bottle or two.

Price: a sample of the Perry was provided to me by Alek from Manufaktura Cydru

Cidrerie des Terroirs Le Terroir

Finally! My 10-day antibiotic course is over and I’m allowed to drink other beverages containing alcohol than cough syrup. So today I’ll give you an artisan cidre from Cidrerie des Terroir located in Brittany. It’s called Le Terroir. Interestingly, Cidrerie des Terroirs are actually two Brittany cidreries in one. In 2003, Cidrerie de Colpo merged with Cidrerie du Terroirs laying a foundation to Cidrerie des Terroirs. Company: Cidrerie des Terroirs
Place of Origin: Lizio, Morbihan, Brittany, France
Apples: 
selected organic cider apples grown in Brittany
ABV:
4%
Package type: 
750ml green glass champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear vivid orange with a large white head that slowly reduces to a ring that stays. Medium to high carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong and the first note that I get is a funky note, which quickly gives way to notes of apricots, French cider apples, caramel with distant notes of sea salt and peat.

Taste: my first taste is moderately sweet with a low acidity, apricots, cider apples, a smoky note, oaky notes, and low astringency. It gets more citrusy towards the finish with a note of lemon and orange, but also notes of caramel and a lingering note of burnt caramel-like bitterness with a touch of sea salt and a very distant peaty note.

Overall: Maybe it’s because it’s the first cider after my 10-day antibiotic course but Le Terroir does really stand out from other cidres from Brittany I had so far. Perhaps it is indeed the influence of the terroir but I can actually taste notes of sea salt and peat. Both the nose and the palate are complex and rich. Taste-wise I’m actually thrilled. The palate is like a good movie with many characters that appear one after another and with many twists and turns. The longer you drink it, the more layers you get to uncover and the beauty underneath. The tannin is gentle, the level of sweetness optimal. An excellent and quality organic cidre from Cidrerie des Terroirs. Pair it with cheese or Galettes, you’re gonna love it even more. 5/6

Availability: directly through Cidrerie des Terroirs.

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