Cydr Ignaców 2016/2017 “Mały”

The Cydr Ignaców 2016/2017 is known colloquially as the “Mały”: little or small in Polish. This is because it comes in a 275 ml bottle, which is smaller than other ciders offered by Cydr Ignaców. A volume of 275ml is served in restaurants as it is a little bit more as the volume of one 200ml glass.

The Cydr Ignaców 2016/2017 is made with multiple old Polish varieties and a couple of cookers. It is a blend of 2016 and 2018 vintage.Company: Cydr Ignaców
Place of Origin: Ignaców, Masovia, Poland
Apples: a blend of multiple old apple varieties with cookers
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 275 ml green glass with twist off cap
Recommended type of glass:  flute or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a tiny white head. Low to medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is strong and fruity with notes of yellow apples caramel, vanilla, hint of alcohol and vinegar.

Taste: my first impression is dry with a touch of sweetness and medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate yellow apples, smokiness, lemon, mirabelle plums, low astringency and distant grass. The finish is dry with a touch of lemon candy, low bitterness and caramel with distant vinegar.

Overall: Another cider of exceptional quality from Cydr Ignaców. The Cydr Ignaców 2016/2017 is an approachable and full-bodied cider that has a good punch of flavour in the palate, structure and good length. The flavours linger on, appear and go. They actually dance in your mouth. The acidity is well harmonised making this cider very food friendly. It would especially go well with seafood, fish or creamy cheese. I loved it and would buy it again. 5/6

Availability: might be available in wine stores, craft beers shops and good restaurants across Poland 

Price: Tomasz passed me a bottle when we met up in Warsaw. 

Cydr Ignaców Czarny Ignac 2017

Last year in April, Tomasz from Cydr Ignaców passed me a bottle of his Czarny Ignac 2015. In October 2018, when I met up with Tomasz again, I received a bottle of the 2017 vintage. It’s actually the first time when I can compare two vintages of the same cider. Well, perhaps not at the same time but still.Company: Cydr Ignaców
Place of Origin: Ignaców, Masovia, Poland
Apples: a blend of old apple varieties
ABV: 7.5%
Package type: 750ml green glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass:  flute or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a lightly cloudy pale golden with a tiny white head. Low to medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong, dry and clear with notes of ripe yellow apples, pears, apple stems and distant caramel.

Taste: my first impression is dry with a touch of sweetness and low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate yellow apples, mirabelle plum, lemon, grapefruit, a bit salty flavour, lightly watery with distant caramel. Finishes dry with a touch of the bitterness of grapefruit with very low astringency, a touch of lemon candy and lemon.

Overall: 2017 was not the best year for apples in Europe. Not only in terms of quantity of apples but also in terms of quality as you’ll see based on the 2017 vintage of Czarny Ignac. The 2017 vintage of Czarny Ignac tastes more watery and less flavourful than the 2015 vintage. Similarly to the previous vintage, caramel notes appear only later when the temperature rises a bit. Also, the tannins seem to be less pronounced here. Overall, the Czarny Ignac 2017 is a light and drinkable cider with depth and structure. It tastes rich and round and I enjoyed having it but I prefered the 2015 version. Looking forward to trying the 2018 vintage! I bet it will be cracking good! 4/6

Availability: might be available in wine stores and craft beers shops across Poland if any left.

Price: Tomasz passed me a bottle when we met up in Warsaw.

Cydr Ignaców Brettus alias Dr Solfernus 2016

Judging by the name, it is easy to say that Brettus will be most probably not for everyone. How do I know this? The name Brettus indicates that this cider was made with wild yeast and that predominant strains are Brettanomyces. Brettanomyces literally means ‘British fungus’ as it was first isolated from spoiled English beers. Brettanomyces can give a distinctive taste to cider, wine or beer, which some call funk or a taste of horse blanket, sweaty horse or band-aid. As I am a big fan of dry and funky ciders I really can’t wait any longer to try the Brettus from Cydr Ignaców.Company: Cydr Ignaców
Place of Origin: Ignaców, Masovia, Poland
Apples: a blend of old apple varieties
ABV: 7%
Package type: 750ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a tiny quickly dissipating white head. Lightly sparkling. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with notes of tart apples, lemon, champagne notes and light pepper. Distant notes of beeswax.

Taste: it begins dry with a moderate acidity of lemon. Subsequently, I get a watery note, smokiness, fresh yellow apples, light grapefruit bitterness, notes of champagne and light astringency. Finishes with a touch of bitterness and a note of Sauerkraut.

Overall: Now I understand why Tomasz wasn’t very fond of this cider when he was passing me a sample of the Brettus. The Brettus tastes too watery and finishes too quickly. It might have been made with wild yeast but I expected much more funk. In fact, all I could get was a distant note of Sauerkraut caused by bacteria – Lactobacilli, not yeast – Brettanomyces. In a way, Brettus is kinda boring but still very drinkable. Despite its one-dimensional taste, I can imagine pairing this cider with pork or fish. And, I would definitely prefer a bottle of Brettus over a bottle of any industrial cider. That’s for sure. 3/6

Availability: broad in Poland. Mostly through craft beer stores across Poland. Saw a bottle at Drink Hala in Wroclaw.

Price: Tomasz passed me a bottle when we met up in Warsaw.

Cydr Ignaców Sicero 2016

With Sicero, Tomasz from Cydr Ignaców wanted to create cider appreciated by all layers of society. By simple drinkers purchasing their cider from an off-licence, those who purchase their products through craft beer stores or wine stores but also those who visit exquisite Michelin star restaurants. Seems that it worked for Sicero as it is carried by an off-licence in Grójec but also available in good restaurants in Warsaw, Poznań and Cracow. Sicero is a combination of two words, sicera, a Latin name for cider and Cicero, a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher.Company: Cydr Ignaców
Place of Origin: Ignaców, Masovia, Poland
Apples: a blend of Kaiser Wilhelm, Bohnapfel, Ribston Pippin, Landsberger Reinette and other old apple varieties
ABV: 7%
Package type: 500ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden/pale amber with a small quickly dissipating white head. Lightly sparkling. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with notes of caramel, smokiness, red and yellow apples.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with low to medium acidity. On the middle palate notes of caramel, white wine notes, smoky notes, lingering bitterness of burnt caramel, light herbal notes and light astringency. Finishes with a light burnt caramel bitterness and a hint of lemon.

Overall: Actually, this is my fourth time trying this cider. Strangely enough, each time I had Sicero I had different thoughts about this cider although my tasting notes were in a way similar. First time I had the Sicero I thought it was fantastic! The second and third time I tried it I thought it was just ok but not spectacular. So I shared my impressions with Tomasz, cidermaker at Cydr Ignaców and he advised me to drink Sicero from any glass but not from a wine glass. Initially, I thought it was a rather strange suggestion. Nevertheless, I decided to follow this advice and went for a pint glass at my 4th attempt. And, you know what? Tomasz was right. The larger sips you take of the Sicero, the more flavours you get and appreciate this cider more. All these caramel notes, burnt caramel-like bitterness and smokiness make you feel like you are tasting very drinkable English cider of great quality but with a character of Polish apples. Drink it only lightly chilled from a pint glass. Will go well with any kind of food. Well done, Tomasz. 4.5/6

Availability: broad in Poland. From an off-license in Grojec up to good restaurants in Warsaw, Poznań and Cracow.

Price: Tomasz passed me a bottle when we met up in Warsaw.

Cydr Ignaców Czarny Ignac 2015

The name of ‘Czarny Ignac’, which I’m going to review tonight derives from a small town of Ignaców, where Cydr Ignaców is created. However, ‘Ignac’ also refers to a male short name ‘Ignacy’, Polish for ‘Ignatius’. ‘Czarny’ is Polish for black. So if you put all this together you get a name of the ‘Black Ignatius’. Sounds powerful and scary at the same time, doesn’t it?Company: Cydr Ignaców
Place of Origin: Ignaców, Masovia, Poland
Apples: a blend of wild apples, Ribston Pippin, Rederka and Arkad
ABV: 7.5%
Package type: 750ml green glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass:  flute or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with a small white head. Medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is aromatic and clear with notes of ripe yellow apples, apple skins, quince, caramel and a hint of ripe juicy pear.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a medium acidity of lemon. The taste moves then to ripe yellow apples, quince, a gentle bitterness of caramel, a medium astringent taste with herbal hints and a hint of alcohol. The finish is dry with a lingering medium astringent taste accompanied by ripe yellow apples. Also, a champagne-like note appears.

Overall: I like my cider to taste like the plant it’s made from, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed the Czarny Ignac 2015. On top of that, both the nose and palate change with the rise of temperature. In the beginning, the nose is dominated by notes of ripe yellow apples but after a while, a note of caramel comes to the front. Tannins are pronounced but nicely balanced. Overall, the Czarny Ignac 2015 has depth, length and a flavorful finish. No question. One of the best Polish ciders I’ve tried so far. Czarny Ignacy 2015 will go well with pork or veal but also on its own. I would buy more. 4.5/6

Availability: it might no longer be available in most Polish speciality shops but I saw a few bottles of the Czarny Ignac 2015 in Frank Winkler’s Lorsbacher Thal in Frankfurt. Perhaps also through Apfelweinkontor in Frankfurt.

Price: Tomasz passed me a bottle when we met up in Warsaw.

Where to drink/buy cider in Wrocław?

Wrocław – the meeting place. With this slogan, this Polish city is trying to boost tourism and attract travellers. Therefore, I thought it I will lend them a hand by compiling a list of spots in Wrocław where you can meet and greet the locals over a glass of craft cider. Let me give you a brief tour through the Wrocław’s bars offering cider.Bars/Pubs

Initially, I thought that Academus is a student haven due to its name. However, everyone who likes international beer and Polish cider come here. This small pub and B&B in one is run by a friendly couple, who really pay attention to their guests’ needs. It’s located in the city centre, just a few steps from the main square. From time to time they have Cydr Tradycyjny z Trzebnicy on draught, which is a local cider from Trzebnica located 30km from Wrocław. You can click here to find if and which cider is currently available on draught. Also, you can choose from their selection of bottled Polish craft cider.

Vaffa Napoli is located in the historical Jewish Quarter and is actually a restaurant serving pizza and other Italian foods. Apart from really delicious pizza, they have craft cider from Cydr Smykan available in bottles and sometimes on draught. To check their current offer on tap click here. Just a note, they serve cider at too low temperature and with ice. Allow your cider to warm up a little otherwise, you will not taste anything. Also, ask the waiter to skip the ice.

Not far away from Vaffa Napoli, you can visit also Marynka, Piwo i Aperitivo, a craft beer bar. I come here mainly for the delicious cider, which you can find in the fridge, Japko from Winnica De Sas but also because you can sit outside in the summer and enjoy the nice weather. Interestingly, they have a book with requests for draught beer, etc. so don’t forget to leave a note ‘CYDR’ (Polish for cider) there. Another advantage is that they have a food truck on their premises, Happy Little Truck serving absolutely delicious, and probably the best pizza in Wrocław. Try their pizza ‘Capperi’, which pairs excellently with Japko.

4 Hops is another centrally located craft beer bar with austere interior design, with no fuzz and friendly staff that knows good beer. Unfortunately, no any sort of outdoor seating is available. More to that, they rarely have cider on tap. 4 Hops stocks Jabko from Winnica De Sas. You can check if they currently have any cider on draught by clicking this link. The staff keeps their offer up to date.

  • Szynkarnia (św. Antoniego 15, 50-073, Wrocław)

Another spot for cider lovers, in the summer at Szynkarnia you may find at least one cider on draught from one of the Polish craft cider makers such as Cydr Chyliczki or Cydr Smykan. You can check their current offer here. In addition, bottled cider is available here. To be honest, I never come here as Szynkarnia is always crowded and full of loud speaking people. Also, they seem not to have a good ventilation system as the strong smell of food is rather disturbing. So cider is the only reason to visit Szynkarnia, if you dare.

  • Pasibus (many locations, for the map, click here)

Pasibus is a burger chain so if you want to drink sweet and dull cider of unknown origin, PasiCydr (you can find the review here) with your burger you may taste it at one of their restaurants across Wroclaw.

SHOPS

  • Drink Hala (Ludwika Rydygiera 15, 48-300 Wrocław)

Located in a neighbourhood called Nadodrze, which with every day gets more popular among locals Drink Hala is basically a craft beer shop with a really huge selection of Polish craft cider. But you will find here a range of commercial cider from Poland and the UK such as Westons, as well. I usually come here, when I want to buy a bottle of a recently launched cider as they simply would have every Polish cider here sooner or later. I haven’t seen such an extensive selection even in Warsaw.

Another craft beer shop stocking also Polish craft from Cydr Smykan and Kwaśne Jabłko along with Polish commercial cider brands.

  • Dobre Moce (Grabiszyńska 233H, 53-234 Wrocław)

Dobre Moce is a wholesaler and retailer in one. Since they are based quite far from the city centre I never made it to pay them a visit. However, I know that they stock cider from Manufaktura Cydru.

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

Cydr Ignaców Renety Złota & Szara 2015

Pete Brown together with Bill Bradshaw mentioned Cydr Ignaców in their World’s Best Ciders in the ‘Rest of Europe’ section. I hope I have aroused your interest now. Cydr Ignaców consists of Tomasz Porowski and Marcin Hermanowicz, who were the first to take advantage of law changes in 2011 that allowed cider production in Poland. They took up the challenge and made the first ever Polish craft cider. Interestingly, it is quite difficult to find their ciders in Polish stores as Tomasz would release a cider only if he’s really satisfied with its taste.

Today I’m reviewing the Renety Złota & Szara 2015, a blend of two old apple varieties King of the Pippins and Graue Herbstrenette.Company: Cydr Ignaców
Place of Origin: Ignaców, Masovia, Poland
Apples: a blend of King of the Pippins and Graue Herbstrenette
ABV: 7%
Package type: 750ml green glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass:  flute or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with no head. Lightly sparkling. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is quite strong, fruity and lightly acidic. Notes of quince,  mirabelle plum, yellow apples,  some peach and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: it starts dry with a medium to high acidity of lemon. Fermented apples, yellow apples, mirabelle plum, distant quince, a smoky note, a light watery note, lemon juice with a wee bit of lemon candy and light bitterness on the mid-palate. A lingering note of diluted lemon juice with a light astringent taste in the aftertaste. The finish is relatively short.

Overall: I thought that the Renety Złota & Szara 2015 tastes quite pleasant. It has an intensive nose, an interesting array of flavours and a nice structure. Also, it’s drinkable and will certainly pair well with food. But on its own, it might not be a cider for everyone due to the sourness of lemon juice. Despite the high ABV of 7%, you get only a hint of alcohol on the nose but on the palate, alcohol is beautifully hidden. The finish could be longer. Overall, the Renety Złota & Szara 2015 is a refreshing citrusy cider from Poland that will complement your meal and your sunny afternoon. 4/6

Availability: directly from Tomasz or through selected stores in Poland including Drink Hala in Wroclaw. Also, I saw a few bottles of the Renety Złota & Szara 2015 in Frank Winkler’s Lorsbacher Thal in Frankfurt. 

Price: Tomasz passed me a bottle when we met up in Warsaw

Cyderia – a cider bar in Warsaw. CLOSED!

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Cyderia is a cider bar, which has just recently opened in Warsaw, Poland. The owners wanted to open a bar specialized in cider and resembling a typical Asturias cider bar, but with a modern touch.

What is intriguing is that right before the opening was announced on their Facebook page, they had around 1500 followers! Seems that their marketing strategy is effective. I’ve just checked how many followers they have today: 2280. Not bad!

Location-wise, Cyderia sits on Poznanska street, which is currently the hottest meeting spot in Warsaw. On the same street, there are many other good bars, restaurants and cafes. However, they usually don’t have any real cider.

So much for the introduction. This I how my visit to Cyderia looked like.

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As mentioned already, Cyderia has been open for all of around 1 month and when I walked in there on a Saturday evening around 8.30pm, I was quite surprised that literally only two tables were occupied. I sat by the window figuring out that this would be the best spot to watch people walking in and observing the situation at the bar.

The interior design looks modern, with minimalist furniture arrangements and tasteful decorations. In the background, there was lounge music playing (before the DJ appeared), which didn’t disturb conversation.

Since there is no table service I had to place my order at the bar. The bartender was being very helpful and after a quick chat about ciders available, I’ve decided to follow bartender’s recommendation. Just a little note, there are no ciders on draught here, only poured straight from the bottle to a wine glass. There is, however, beer available on tap for non-cider drinkers as well as other beverages, including cocktails. So everyone will find something for his taste.

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In Cyderia you will find a good selection of ciders from the best Polish craft cider makers such as Cydr Chyliczki (check out my blog post on their ciders here), Kwasne Jablko, Smykan or Cydr Ignacow.

Interestingly, the cider board featured also a cider that is made exclusively for Cyderia, Jablko Adama. Review coming soon!

Mlody Ignac, no. 10 on the cider board was not available, hence they don’t update the board on a regular basis.

But, if you are expecting ‘Polish prices’ here, then I must disappoint you. Cyderia has reached European standards, in terms of prices. But, at the end of the day, you are getting real cider here for the price you pay, not a mass-produced beverage, such as Strongbow.

By the time I left around 10.30pm Cyderia had a good crowd. Hence, people consider it a bar to visit before heading down to a nightclub.

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In case you get hungry, they also serve food at Cyderia, so called Polish tapas. Don’t ask me what it means. Just wasn’t into food this time.

Summarizing, if you are currently in Warsaw and you are looking for a decent place to drink cider/get to know ciders from the Polish craft cider scene, then Cyderia is the place to go. I would definitely come here again.

Cyderia

Address: Poznanska 16, 00-680, Warsaw, Poland

Open hours: 3pm – 2am

UPDATE: July 5, 2017 Cyderia closed its doors for good.