Pełnia Wytrawny & Wit Cider

Cider on draught is still a rare species in Poland as most bars/pubs stock bottled cider. However, it must be noted that cider produced by the vast majority of Polish cider makers is available exclusively in bottles. So when I saw that Przemek Iwanek from Piwo i Cydr, a cider expert, who brings his expertise and passion for cider to every organized cider tasting, released his own cider available exclusively on draught I knew I had to sample it!

Przemek released his first cider on Friday 30th June 2017 in two versions, Wytrawny (Dry) and Wit Cider under the brand name Pełnia (Fullmoon). The official launch of Pełnia was posted as a Facebook event in all participating bars across Poland, which is also a good of promoting cider culture in Poland. In addition, a limited number of kegs available only in cider-friendly bars made the cider sampling even more exciting.

This time I’m reviewing two ciders, the Wytrawny and the Wit Cider.


WYTRAWNY (ABV: 6.5%), sampled in Jabeerwocky, Warsaw at 16PLN (3.80 EUR)

This is Przemek’s basic cider, which is made from apples grown in the Grójec region, Masovia, one of the largest farming region in Poland. Appearance: clear, golden yellow. Lightly carbonated. The body is also low. Aroma: yellow apples, light white wine flavour and something smelling buttery-like. I don’t necessarily find the aroma pleasant. Taste: not entirely dry with low residual sweetness, low citrus-like acidity, notes of both green and yellow apples, apple juice and unripe green apples with something chemical and butter-like tasting. Low astringency and refreshing green apple flavour in the aftertaste. Wytrawny is much better on the palate than on the nose. However, due to the chemical and buttery notes, I didn’t find it appealing. 2.5/6


WIT CIDER (ABV: 6.5%) sampled in 4Hops, Wroclaw at 13PLN (3.10 EUR)

Wit Cider is a botanical cider made with the Wytrawny as a base with coriander, orange peel, curaçao and liquorice. It was inspired by American cider makers, who in contrast to European cider makers, freely experiment with all possible fruits and spices. Personally, I haven’t come across any Wit Cider in Europe until now. Appearance: light cloudy, pale golden yellow. Lightly carbonated with slowly reducing white head. The body is also low. Aroma: coriander, yellow apples, rotten apples and something buttery-like. Again, I don’t find the aroma pleasant. Taste: similarly to the Wytrawny, not entirely dry with low residual sweetness, low citrus-like acidity, notes of coriander, both green and yellow apples with unripe apples, orange peel, delicate bitterness with something butter-like tasting on the mid-palate. Low astringency, refreshing green apple flavour and chalky feeling in the aftertaste. Again, I found the buttery flavour on the nose and on the palate disturbing. Also, the taste is much better than the nose. I enjoyed the taste of coriander and orange peel. I think that Przemek didn’t overdose the ingredients. I didn’t get any curaçao and liquorice, but they might have been well hidden in the background contributing to the overall flavour. 3/6

Overall: I preferred the Wit Cider over the Wytrawny as it was richer in terms of flavours and quite nicely balanced with other ingredients. However, both ciders tasted unfortunately very average. It was Przemek’s first attempt to make cider on a larger scale so I strongly believe that the next batch will be simply better. Fingers crossed!

Aspall Waddlegoose Cyder

Waddlegoose Cyder is a less known cider brand from Aspall, which was launched in 2016 in the UK. Waddlgoose Cyder comes in two flavours, contemporary apple cider and a fruity three berry cider.


Company: Aspall 
Place of Origin: Debenham, Suffolk, UK
Apples: a blend of dessert apples such as Gloster 69, Zari or Gala
Sweetness as per label: unknown
ABV: 4.6%
Package type: 500ml brown glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, flute or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear straw yellow with no head. Lightly sparkling. The body is light to medium.

Aroma/Nose: Not so many flavours on the nose apart tart green apples, overripe apples with some funk and traces of sulphur.

Taste: It begins with a mild honey-like sweetness and notes of green apple and apple juice. Almost no acidity to break the sweetness. Some light bitterness and traces of sulphur to the end, but the aftertaste is rather short-lived.

Overall: Waddlegoose Cyder tasted ok for a cider made from dessert apples. However, what I personally didn’t like was the too high level of sweetness/almost zero acidity to balance out the honey-like sweetness and very short aftertaste. Anyway, I think that Waddlegoose Cyder is drinkable, refreshing, crisp and thus, a good alternative for those who prefer rather more sweet cider with a clean apple taste.  3.5/6 

Availability: pretty broad. For UK checkout their online store.or Ocado. Otherwise available from Opily Jablko or Ciderandmore,

Price: purchased at 4 EUR from Hopfen und Malz locally in Berlin

Marks & Spencer/Guillet Frères Brittany Breton Cider

Marks & Spencer offers also French cidre from Brittany, which is produced by Guillet Frères, a company known for widely available Kerisac cidre. I have reviewed one of Kerisac cidres here. As per Marks & Spencer’s website, this cidre has won Bronze from the International Cider Challenge 2013 and a trophy and gold medal for sweet cider at the International Cider Challenge 2016.


Company: Guillet Freres 
Place of Origin: Guenrouët, Brittany, France
Apples: five different apple varieties Local Brittany apples are harvested between mid-September and early December, it’s then blended and fermented using traditional techniques.
Ingredients: Concentrated apple juice, water, yeast, carbon dioxide, sulphites.
ABV: 2%
Sweetness as per label: sweet
Package type: 750ml green glass champagne corked
Recommended type of glass: flute

Appearance: pours a clear pale orange with a white short-lived head. Champagne type of carbonation.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is sweet and has notes of dried apricot and fermented apples, with caramel.

Taste: the first sip is very sweet and has low to medium acidity. The mid-palate is syrupy and has notes of wood, dried apricot and overripe apples.

Overall: Despite the fact that this cidre is made from apple juice concentrate it doesn’t taste like one. The taste is quite complex with delicious notes of dried apricots both on the nose and the palate. It’s way too sweet for my liking and I don’t think I would buy it again, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. I think it could be a good alternative if you don’t have a better cider on hand. 3.5/6 

Availability: online and locally from Marks & Spencer

Price: purchased it from Marks & Spencer in Wroclaw at 15.79 PLN (3.80 EUR)


Hérisson Cidre

Hedgehog. This is what Hérisson means in French. Despite the French-sounding name Hérisson Cidre is a Lithuanian cider brand owned by UAB ITALIANA LT, one of the biggest sparkling wine producers in Lithuania. Hérisson Cidre is made from selected ripe apples coming from Lithuanian orchards. That’s what the label says.


Company: UAB Italiana LT
Place of Origin: Kaunas, Lithuania
Apples: unknown apple varieties from Lithuanian orchards
Sweetness as per label: unknown
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: 750ml green glass champagne bottle sealed with a champagne cork with cage
Recommended type of glass: flute or pint glass
Ingredients: fermented apple juice, sugar, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and potassium sorbate.

Appearance: pours a clear very pale straw with artificial carbonation and light body.

Aroma/Nose: The nose is rather poor with apple juice, artificial apple flavour and something sweet.

Taste: It starts very sweet with no acidity to break the sweetness. The mid-palate has flavours of sweet green and red apples and a note of elderflower. No tannins perceivable. I can taste some kind of artificial apple flavour (although it is not mentioned in the ingredients list).

Overall: I would rather describe this cidre as fizzy apple juice with some alcohol than cider. I didn’t like the sweet syrupy taste and strong notes of apple juice. I shared a bottle of this cidre with my family and friends, and my mom was the only one who found this alco-pop drinkable. I wouldn’t buy it again. 1.5/6 

Availability: found it here, dobrewino.pl

Price: bought from a local supermarket in Leszno, Masovia at 11.5 PLN (2.75 EUR)

 

A.K. Cider Jadrnička

Jadernička moravska (Pépin de Moravie) is an old Moravian apple variety, which is the most widely grown apple tree in the Carpathian region of Moravia. You may call it a Moravian heirloom apple variety. The reason why Jadernička moravska is so popular among cider makers and apple brandy producers is the optimal ratio of sugar and acid in this cultivar. Earlier this year I reviewed Limonka, which was a delicious cider from A.K. Cider, made from this particular apple variety. At Slavnost Cideru 2017 I sampled Jadrnička from A.K. Cider, which is a version of Limonka that wasn’t barrel-aged, as per information I received from Martin, the brain behind the A.K. Cider.


Company: A.K. CIDER-Vizovice
Place of Origin: Vizovice, Czech Republic
Apples: a single varietal cider from Jaderniička moravska (Pépin de Moravie)
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass 
Note:
unfiltered, no sulphites

Appearance: pours a clear golden with light orange hues and no head. Lightly carbonated. Body is light to medium.

Aroma/Nose: The nose is rich and has wild notes of barnyard, fermented apple, leather with a slightly acidic touch. Very inviting.

Taste: it starts slightly watery with a medium to high level of lemon-like acidity followed by green notes, including lime. I can also get a light smoky note with a touch of fermented apples, barnyard and light astringency on the mid-palate. The finish is dry and has a pleasant taste of grapefruit-like bitterness.

Overall: To be honest, I preferred the barrel-aged version of the Jadrnička, the Limonka, which was just richer in terms of flavours. However, Jadrnička is a very decent and drinkable cider. And, as I mentioned in my recap of Slavnost Cideru 2017, one of the best cider of this year’s edition. Since it is rather a dry cider, I think it will not find a very broad audience in those who start with cider, but among cider lovers, the feedback will be surely very positive. Cheers! 4.5/6 

Availability: only on draught in many restaurants and bars across the Czech Republic.

Price: I have received the first sample during Slavnost Cideru 2017 for free from Martin. But, since I really enjoyed this cider I have returned several times to their booth and paid a regular price of 25 CZK (1 EUR) for 0.2L.

Apple County Cider Co Dabinett 2015

Apple County Cider Co is a relatively young cider company, established only in 2014 at Whitehouse Farm, near Skenfrith in Monmouthshire, Wales, very close to the English/Welsh border. The company might be young, but not the apple cider orchards, which were planted in 1969 by Ben Culpin’s stepfather. Today Ben, together with his wife Steph, runs a successful family business and produce award-wining ciders, including International Cider Challenge medals (Bronze, Silver and Gold) for flavour and branding and a prestigious Great Taste Awards “Golden Fork” for overall best food and drink product from across Wales.



Company: Apple County Cider Co
Place of Origin: Monmouthshire, Wales, UK
Apples: made from a single variety Dabinett
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 500ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with orange hues and no head. Lightly carbonated. The body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: it smells of fermented red apples with caramel and cinnamon. A hint of alcohol is perceivable.

Taste: It starts medium sweet with low acidity and a hint of smoky ham. On the mid-palate notes of cinnamon and some spices with red apples, apple skins. The finish is dry and moderately astringent with a light touch of bitterness to the end. Alcohol is slightly perceivable giving one the warming effect.

Overall: You can easily say without even looking at the label that high-quality bittersweet apples were used for this cider. Apple Cider Co’s Dabinett reminds me slightly of another Welsh cider, the Black Dragon from Gwynt y Ddraig. However, the Dabinett has much better structure and a pleasant aftertaste. Perhaps a tiny bit too sweet for my liking, but I honestly think that it is a great pour and would appeal to practically everyone. However, due to the warming effect coming from the alcohol I think it can be considered a very good option for winter evenings. Eventually for a cold summer evening. Anyway, Apple County Cider Co’s Dabinett is definitely worth a purchase! 4.5/6 

Availability: haven’t come across a shop outside the UK selling their cider. So the UK only, on the farm and from the online shop or This is Beer.co.uk.

Price: came with my craft cider subscription from Orchard Box

Where to drink/buy cider in Prague?

As a natural follow-up to my visit to Prague back in June when I attended Slavnost Cideru 2017, I was going to compile a list of bars, shops, where you can find cider in Prague. However, after spending four days in Prague I made an interesting observation that cider is available almost everywhere in this city. Even at a kiosk, I noticed bottled cider from a craft cider maker, F.H. Prager (I reviewed their Perry here). It might not always be craft cider or real cider that is on offer, but I think it is a huge progress and it shows that cider indeed massively gained in popularity over the last few years in the Czech Republic! Also, I must admit that in terms of availability of my favourite drop, Prague is a long way ahead of my home city Berlin.

Since cider is widely available in Prague, I have decided to focus on spots dedicated to Czech craft cider.

Bars

InCider Bar is a cider bar and, thus a must-visit spot in Prague for every cider pilgrim. Based outside the touristic area in Vršovice, which is a popular neighbourhood among locals with a great selection of bars, restaurants and cafes. InCider Bar is run by Vašek, a very warm and friendly guy, who knows everything about cider and can easily recommend you a cider that will satisfy your taste buds. Usually, there are three different ciders on tap available, the Harry Sparrow from Aspall and two rotating ciders from various Czech craft cider makers. You can find their current tap offer here. Also, in the InCider Bar you will find a great selection of bottled ciders from mainly Czech cider makers, but also Slovak cider makers, and to a lesser extent Spanish, French, English, German and Dutch cider makers. For offered bottled ciders in the InCider Bar check here. If you’re overwhelmed by their cider selection and don’t know what to go for, just ask Vašek to assist you. Overall, I highly recommend visiting InCider Bar when you are in Prague!

Another spot worth mentioning here is the BeerGeek Bar. It’s actually a craft beer bar, but they usually have at least one cider available on draught. Last time when I checked they had a cider from Edge Brewing Barcelona. Click here for their list of beers & ciders currently available on draught. In addition, they stock bottled ciders from Cidrerie Kliment (I reviewed their Demi-Sec here), Magnetic Apple and Rossbach.

Cider available in Eska restaurant is exclusively produced for them by a vineyard from South Moravia, Vinařství Mühlberger.

SHOP

Dobrý Cider is a shop dedicated to cider. They have a wide selection mainly of cider from Czech cider makers such as A.K. Cider (click here for my review of their Limonka), Magnetic Apple or Cidrerie Kliment, just to name a few of them. They also stock a number of foreign ciders featuring English cider from Aspall and Dunkertons, Spanish sidra from Bereziartua and French cidre from Le Brun or Val de Rance. If you want to drink cider on the spot, you can have Aspall, which is available on tap. In addition, they run an online-shop, but when I reached out to them via email earlier this year to ask, whether they ship abroad, there was, unfortunately, no reply to my enquiry from their side.

 If there are more cider spots in Prague worth mentioning, just drop me a line! I would be happy to update my post.