Oliver’s At The Hop #7

Inspired by American cider makers who add hops to almost every cider they make, Tom Oliver created his own hopped cider, At The Hop. Tom infused cider with UK grown Cascade hops and Czech grown Kazbek hops, which supposedly add citrusy and floral notes to otherwise bland and dull cider.

In 2014, At The Hop picked up the first place at Royal Three Counties Agricultural Society show.

Company: Oliver’s Cider and Perry
Place of Origin: Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire, UK
Ingredients: US Cascade and Czech Kazbek hops
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 5.5%
Package type: 500ml clear amber bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a light orange hue and a tiny white head that quickly dissipates. Medium natural carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is strong and actually pours out of the glass. The scent is rather sweet with notes of ripe honeydew, apricots, grapefruit flesh, orange and grapefruit peel. In the background apple flavour with hints of funk, leather and distant cucumber.

Taste: it starts with a low sweetness and a medium citrusy acidity. Light watery with some smokiness, medium astringency, notes of grapefruit flesh, orange and lemon, low apple flavour and hints of funk on the mid-palate. The finish is dry with a lingering grapefruit peel – like bitterness with a touch of lemon.

Overall: I’ve tried already a number of hopped ciders and none of them tasted any similar to what Tom Oliver has crafted. I can imagine that this is partly due to Czech Kazbek hops that were used in the blend. Both the scent and the palate are very unique and rich with lots of intensive flavours that linger on and on. Also, I thought it was very refreshing due to the lovely citrus flavours. But it’s not going to be my favourite cider of Tom. Personally, I found the apple flavour too far in the background. Also, the bitter note was a bit too strong for my liking. Hence, in my humble opinion, Tom’s At the Hop could be considered a good introductory cider for those who drink beer but want to try something new as the taste of the At The Hop is somewhere between beer and cider. As a cider drinker, I think I’ll stick to Tom’s cider made only with apples. 4.5/6

Availability: from Oliver’s online shop or Beer Revolution. Locally in London from the Cider House and Bristol from the Bristol Cider Shop or  The Salutation Inn in Ham, and many others. In Austria from Beer Lovers. In Copenhagen from Holm Cider. In Germany exclusively from CiderKultur.

Price: Oliver’s At The Hop #7 was a sample provided by CiderKultur.

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Dunkertons Browns

Browns is an English cider apple variety from South Devon producing a sharp juice that Dunkertons used for their single-varietal cider, the Browns. When I searched for other reviews about Dunkertons Browns, all I could find was oohing and aahing. I haven’t found a single bad review for the Browns. It seemed that literally, everybody likes the  Browns. In contrast to the wide appeal among cider drinkers, the Browns picked up only one award, first place in the International Cider Challenge 2016. As you can imagine, I got very intrigued.  Company: Dunkertons
Place of Origin: Pembridge, Leominster, Herefordshire, UK
Apples: a single-varietal Brown’s 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 clear golden with a white short-lived foam. Medium carbonation.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is strong, slightly sour and fruity. On the nose hints of funk, vinegar, yellow apples, with a touch of sulphur.

Taste: my first taste is medium sweet with a low to medium acidity of lemon, and a touch of orange. Smokiness, yellow apples, light bitterness, again smokiness, a light to medium astringent note on the mid-palate. Finishes dry leaving a lingering orange and lemon note with medium astringency.

Overall: the Browns from Dunkertons is indeed an outstanding drop. It’s light, yet complex. Although the initial taste is rather sweet with no detectable acidity, suddenly and unexpectedly the sharpness kicks in and stays accompanying other tasty flavours that appear next. Admittedly, the lingering orangy/lemon aftertaste makes this cider taste very refreshing and unique. Also, I loved the bubbles in this cider, which truly complemented the taste. Overall, a great thirst quencher and perfect summer offering that I could drink over and over again. Now I understand why it is everyone’s favourite. 5/6

Availability: in the UK through their online shop, BristolCiderShop, CraftDrink The Belgian Beer Company, Hop Pocket Wine Company or Beers of Europe. However, outside the UK the availability is limited. In the Netherlands look out for Ciderwinkel and Appels en Peren. In Switzerland from Ciderhouse.ch. In Estonia from Siidirimaja. In Germany from CiderKultur.

Price: Dunkertons Browns was a sample provided by CiderKultur.

Oliver’s Making Hay

‘Make hay’ is a slightly shortened version of ‘make hay while the sun shines’, dating back to the mid 16th century. This idiom basically means to take advantage of good opportunities while they last. It has other meanings as well, but I’m not going to discuss them here.

Anyway, I’m confident that with the Making Hay, cider created by Oliver’s Cider & Perry, Tom Oliver really tried to make the best cider as good as it can be with the best available cider apples Herefordshire has to offer. The Making Hay is the next cider of Oliver’s Cider & Perry that I’m reviewing after the Shezam, the Fine Cider Golf Rush #5 Dry and the Traditional CiderCompany: Oliver’s Cider and Perry
Place of Origin: Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire, UK
Apples: bittersweet and bittersharp cider apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: sweet
ABV: 6%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a small white head that slowly dissipates. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is strong, sweetish and lightly acetic with notes of caramel, vinegar, bittersweet apples with oaky notes and beeswax.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with the low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate a hint of vinegar, caramel, orange, bitter notes of grapefruit, lingering smokiness, medium astringency and a touch of pepper. The finish is dry with bitter notes of grapefruit, lingering astringency, smokiness and notes of caramel.

Overall: From a cider advertised as sweet I have expected much more sweetness to be frank. But luckily for me, I don’t have a sweet tooth so I wasn’t complaining at all. Perhaps those with a sweet tooth may be slightly disappointed. The Making Hay is a complex cider with typical notes of English cider and bittersweet cider apples. It has a beautiful balance of sweetness, acidity and a touch of spiciness to it. I thought it was refreshing, not too sweet and extremely drinkable. Yet, the Making Hay did not surprise me in any way. Just a very well made true English cider. It will taste great on its own but will also pair well with Asian dishes. For everyone. I would buy more. 5/6 

Availability: from Oliver’s online shop, Hop Pocket Wine Company, Crumpton Hill Farm shop, Beer Revolution. Locally in London from the Cider House and Bristol from the Bristol Cider Shop or  The Salutation Inn in Ham, and many others. In Austria from Beer Lovers. In Germany exclusively from CiderKultur.

Price: Oliver’s Making Hay was a sample provided by CiderKultur.

Ty Gwyn Medium Dry

Ty Gwyn from Wales (and previously Latvian Mr. Plume) proves that a combination of music and cider making is simply perfect as both take passion. Before focusing on cider making, Alex Curpin of Ty Gwyn played in a band called Tiny Monroe and supported The Pretenders, Radiohead and Suede at the Glastonbury Festival near Pilton, Somerset. I can imagine that Alex tried cider from the Brothers at Glastonbury, which inspired him to craft a much better cider.

Company: Ty Gwyn Cider
Place of Origin: Pontrilas, Herefordshire, UK
Apples: Yarlington Mill
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 5.8%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass, pint glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with an orange hue and a little quickly dissipating white head. Light carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong, aromatic and sweet with notes of caramel, red apples, bittersweet apples, butterscotch, liquid toffee, polyfloral honey and earthy notes.

Taste: it starts with medium sweetness of caramel and low acidity. On the mid-palate notes of bittersweet apples, red apples, baked apples, caramel, light to medium astringency. Finishes dry with a light burnt caramel, low alcohol and polyfloral honey.

Overall: The Medium Dry from Ty Gwyn tastes light but still extremely complex so I would never tell that it is a single varietal cider. It has a lingering taste with beautiful caramel notes, smooth tannins and a flavour of baked apples. It basically tastes like a liquid toffee. Personally, I’d prefer a bit higher acidity level. But my friend who I shared the bottle with thought the Medium Dry tasted simply perfect. A very decent drop for the fans of liquid butterscotch. Now I understand why it has such a wide appeal. 5/6

Availability: in the UKfrom their online shop, Crafty Nectar, Hop Pocket Wine Company, Fetch the Drinks.  In Germany exclusively from CiderKultur.

Price: Ty Gwyn’s Medium Dry was a sample provided by CiderKultur.

 

 

 

 

Dunkertons Court Royal

Dunkertons like to experiment with single varietal ciders. Previously, I’ve tried their brilliant single varietal Breakwells Seedling. This time, however, I’m about to sample their Court Royal. Court Royal is a sweet cider apple with low tannin and low acid, which originated in East Devon.
Company: 
Dunkertons
Place of Origin: Pembridge, Leominster, Herefordshire, UK
Apples: a single-varietal Court Royal 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 snifter

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a white short-lived head. Medium carbonation.

Aroma/Nose: the nose has still fermenting apples, fresh yellow apples, lightly acidic. some green apple. The nose is not so strong.

Taste: it starts medium dry with a medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate green and yellow apples with a smoky and vinous note. The aftertaste has hints of fresh green and yellow apples, apple skin of green apples with a light biting taste of alcohol and a touch of bitterness.

Overall: briefly, the Court Royal tastes like a flavourful cross between cider made from eating apples and traditional cider. Meaning it’s easily drinkable, light yet very refreshing and absolutely not boring. Taste wise perhaps not extremely rich, but it still has a nice depth and structure for a single-varietal cider. The nose is not strong but is clear and full of apple aromas. The Royal Court is a cider for everyone and will taste great on a day like this with lots of sunshine. I assure you it will uplift your mood after a bad day at work as well. I’d like t to have it again. 4/6

Availability: broad in the UK through BristolCiderShop or Beers of Europe. However, outside the UK the availability is limited in the Netherlands to Ciderwinkel and Appels en Peren. In Switzerland from Ciderhouse.ch. In Estonia from Siidirimaja. In Germany to CiderKultur.

Price: Dunkertons Court Royal was a sample provided by CiderKultur.

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 hopped 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.

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