Once I learned that my next business trip will be to Copenhagen, I started sorting out my after-hour activities by reaching out to cider makers recommended to me by Rasmus, owner of a cider bar in Copenhagen called Holm Cider. So I made a couple of appointments, which included a meeting with Paw and Kristoffer from Ciderrevolution, Cornelius from Decideret and a visit to Aeblerov‘s production site in Valby, Copenhagen. Actually, I also reached out to Lone and Jørgen from Mergelsø, who also live in Copenhagen but at the time of my visit to Copenhagen, they were at their production site in Jutland working on their November cider so I didn’t manage to meet up with them. And, Rasmus himself was skiing in the North of Sweden.
I met with Paw and Kristoffer from Ciderrevolution in Holm Cider. They are two cider enthusiasts who interestingly were united by a deep passion for cider and the ambition to bring quality cider to Denmark. They are full of cider related ideas, which they, in the end, turn to reality. They not only distribute and make their own cider. Oh no, they also contracted French cider makers to make cider for them using Danish apples. Moreover, in the summer of 2017, they opened a pop-up cider bar in Copenhagen simply called CiderBar, which closed only one month ago. Paw and Kristoffer are fabulous guys with a passion for cider and one clear goal. That is to make so much great cider, that alco-pop like Somersby will disappear for the benefit of real cider. I usually don’t wish bad for others but I hope Paw & Kristoffer’s dream will come true. Also, I’ve managed to try two ciders made by Paw & Kristoffer. Stay tuned for my tasting notes.
My next appointment was with Cornelius from Decideret, who also works part-time in Holm Cider behind a bar. So I had a chat with Cornelius while he was serving customers at the same time. Decideret is actually made up by Cornelius and Jacob, another two guys passionate about cider. Cornelius and Jacob were actually inspired by a sickly sweet alco-pop widely available in Copenhagen. They hated the taste of it so much that they decided to create a dry alternative to it. After the first few batches, which turned to nail polish remover/vinegar, Cornelius reached out to Aeblerov, one of the first cider makers in Copenhagen. This is where Cornelius actually learned to make cider. And, why Decideret? Cause it means ‘actually’ in Danish. And, it has a word cider in it. I’ve sampled Decideret’s hopped cider that just got ready for bottling (a fine drop!) and their Sprælsk. Tasting notes for Sprælsk coming soon!
On the next day, after a lovely cider evening in Holm Cider with Paw, Kristoffer and Cornelius, I headed to Valby nearly 2km from Vesterbro, where Aeblerov’s production site is located. Aeblerov was established by Morten and Christopher in 2011. Initially, these food science students wanted to make wine but quickly realised that the Danish climate is more suitable for growing apples than winegrapes. Today, Morten and Christopher make natural wild cider and their ciders pick up many awards and are available in many Michelin-star restaurants, including the famous Noma.
My first acquaintance with cider made by guys from Aeblerov was in January 2018 during my visit to Markthalle 9 in Berlin. For the past recap of the visit click here. Briefly, I have good memories of their ciders but I also remember that it was also cider that is not for everyone.
In Valby, I was welcomed by Andreas, who works at Aeblerov and takes care of the production site. Andreas has been with Aeblerov since November 2018 and actually comes from the beer industry. I was quite surprised at first as beer and cider production don’t really have much in common, but as it turned out one industry can learn a lot from another. Andreas took me behind the scenes to show how their cider is made and let me taste a few ciders basically pouring them straight out of the barrel to a glass. Andreas simply pulled the nail using a pair of pliers, caught the cider as it poured out of the barrel, and then put the nail back in the hole. A brilliant sampling method that prevents from entering extra oxygen into the barrel and allows you to pull a very small sample of cider. Apparently, this method is frequently used by brewers. As I said, both industries can learn a lot from each other.
Back to my visit. Aeblerov works mainly with Danish apple varieties, which are not particularly rich in tannins like apples from the UK or France but are aromatic and have relatively high acidity. Although, I’ve noticed that one of their test batches is made with Dabinett. Apart from cider made only with apples, Aeblerov has an interesting pipeline that takes advantage of local berries such as blackberries, raspberries or local cherries. I got a taste of their blackberry cider and thought it tastes fantastic! More to that, one of their cider in the pipeline is made with typical vermouth herbs. Andreas poured me some but I thought it was a bit too bitter.
Aeblerov’s facility is basically a large storage room. Each production step is carried out there. Starting from apple pressing, through fermentation, ageing, bottling, disgorging and labelling. Everything is done by hand. There are no bottling lines or anything of a kind, which make Aeblerov a true cider maker. From what Cornelius from Decideret told me earlier, Aeblerov has plans to move into bigger premises so they can also open a tasting bar. That would be a great idea!
Summarizing, the Copenhagen cider scene truly amazed me. Cider lovers can be found everywhere in the world and their cider love might be similarly deep but in Copenhagen, you get a feeling that cider revolution is actually happening. It can’t be compared to craft beer yet, but it’s slowly getting there. I wish I could see such progress also in other European cities. Copenhagen, you rock!