Van Saft Bio Cider

There is a new cider maker in Berlin, Van Saft. As the name doesn’t not sound exactly German, it is not hard to guess that a Dutch stands behind Van Saft. Diederik and Toby, his friend from German. Diederik is a big cider enthusiast and together with Toby decided to start his own cider venture. Their cider is made from organic apples from Brandenburg.

This will be my first time trying anything from this cider maker.

Company: Van Saft
Place of Origin: Berlin, Germany
Apples : a blend of organic apples from Brandenburg
Sweetness as per label: n/a
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with a screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours a very cloudy pale amber with a little foam. The carbonation is strong and artificial. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is weak with notes of a freshly pressed apple juice of red apples.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with a low to acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of a freshly pressed apple juice, red apple and a touch of bitterness. Finishes dry with a touch of grapefruit peel.

Overall: briefly, to me this is not a cider but a very refreshing sparkling apple juice resembling Apfelschorle, a popular beverage in Berlin being an apple juice with sparkling water. Even the bottle shape is not typical for a cider but rather a juice- at least in this part of Europe. Judging by the bottle, I would never tell that it is an alcoholic beverage. Taste wise, it tastes like a good quality apple juice with a lovely and refreshing acidity of lemon so I see no reason why anyone would not find it drinkable or even enjoyable. Due to cloudiness, I think that this beverage was made most likely from pasteurized juice. Not sure how to rate it to be honest. In terms of apple juice it would be a clear 5 to me. But since I’m supposed to rate a cider here, I can’t give it more than 2/6. This is nothing more than an apple juice that can make you tipsy.

Availability: in selected restaurants and outlets in Berlin.

Price:  Diederik provided me with a sample.

Muxaller Cider Friesenjung

The Muxaller Cider Friesenjung is a cider that received Honor in the category sparkling cider in the recent Cider World’21 Award. As the name already indicates, the Muxaller Friesenjung is made in Muxall, Schleswig-Holstein, not exactly a typical cider area of Germany. The person behind this cider is Steve O’Connor, who originally comes from New Zealand and has background in winemaking. Looks that not only traveling but also migration contribute to the spread of cider culture.

Friesenjung is the first cider released by Steve but he is planning to launch more ciders soon.

This will be my first time trying anything from this cider maker.

Company: Muxaller Cider
Place of Origin: Muxall Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Apples : a blend of apples from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (Boskoop, Holsteiner Cox) and Devon, UK (Dabinett, Browns)
Sweetness as per label: n/a
ABV: 5,7%
Package type: 330ml amber glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours a clear cloudy golden yellow with a little foam. The carbonation is low and artificial. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is weak with notes of caramel, creamy caramel, yellow apple, a bit tannic, phenolic.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with a low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of yellow apple, moderate astringency and a touch of bitterness. Finishes dry with a touch of caramel and sort of liquid sugar.

Overall: The Muxaller Friesenjung is a cider that will be to everyone’s taste. It is a very balanced marriage between the German and English style cider. It has the right level of refreshing acidity thanks to local German apples and the tannin and body of Dabinett and Brown’s from the UK. There are no potentially off-putting off-notes, literally nothing disturbing. Also, it’s neither too sweet or too sour. Just right. Nevertheless, I’m going to give this cider only 4/6 and this is because of the aroma that is rather weak although admittedly complex and because the length might have been longer. It’s not short but the lovely tastes disappears too quickly. Steve wanted to create a cider that goes well with food and can be enjoyed on its own. Steve, you made it. But I think you can do better. 4/6

Availability: directly from Muxaller Cider. Also, in selected restaurants and outlets in the north of Germany.

Price: Steve provided me with a sample.

Adam & Eva Cider Adam

The name ‘Adam & Eva Cider’ might imply that the brand is owned by a guy named Adam and a lady named Eva, but it’s not the case here. Two school friends Andreas and Jürgen, who grew up on the German side of Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) were wondering what to do with all these apples growing in this heavenly area. An apple jam? An apple pie? Cider, of course! Already in 2015 the first batch of Adam & Eva was bottled and hit the shelves a bit later. Today Adam & Eva Cider has a line up of two ciders, Adam and Eva. Let’s start with the Adam first. Company: Adam & Eva GbR
Place of Origin: Munich, Bavaria, German
Apples: apples from gardens around Lake Constance
ABV: 4.7%
Package type: 330ml clear bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a white fizz that slowly dissipates. Low to medium carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose:  it smells lightly sweet of pears, red and yellow apples with a woody touch of stems.

Taste: it begins moderately sweet with very low acidity of lemon. A taste of pear, light astringent taste with vanilla, yellow and green apples with a fresh apple juice note on the mid-palate. Very short taste leaving a light buttery aftertaste.

Overall: the Adam is just a very average offering made from eaters and cookers. It tastes clear of eating apples and its taste disappears very fast, doesn’t linger on. Also, a tiny bit higher acidity would round up the taste. I couldn’t detect any off-notes (apart from the buttery flavour in the aftertaste) or anything that I could call much disturbing but the Adam simply doesn’t stand out from the crowd in any way. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy having Adam and therefore I wouldn’t buy it again. 2.5/6

Availability: widely available in Germany e.g. through Ciderei or Getränkedienst.

Price: Adam from Adam & Eva was a sample provided by Ciderei.

InCide Holunder

Actually, it was a cider tasting among friends that led to the creation of InCide Holunder (‘Holunder’ is German for ‘elder’) made by Julia and Aaron Schwegler located in Korb, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. After Aaron, who is actually a winemaker by profession, tried a number of average tasting ciders he has decided to make his own ‘Apfelmost’ from old apple trees that grew around the vineyard. Since the first batch received a very positive feedback from friends and guests visiting the vineyard, Aaron and his wife Julia decided to launch their InCide Holunder in 2015 commercially. Company: InCide Drinks e.K.
Place of Origin: Korb, Baden Württemberg, Germany
Ingredients: sparkling apple wine with elderflower syrup (12%)
ABV: 5.5%
Package type: 750ml clear glass bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: flute or wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a white fizz that is gone after a few seconds. Low to medium artificial carbonation. Medium body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is very aromatic and strong with notes of fresh blackcurrant fruits and leaves with gooseberries freshly picked from the garden. Also, some floral aromas incl. distant jasmine and elderflower.

Taste: it begins medium sweet with a low acidity of lemon. The mid-palate has a note of blackcurrant fruits and leaves, tastes lightly astringent with a lingering note of lemon powder candy and delicate herbal undertones.

Overall: if I hadn’t reviewed the label first, I would have never guessed that I was drinking a beverage made from apples with an addition of elderflower syrup. InCider Holunder has an extremely beautiful nose. It’s like sun-warmed blackcurrants picked up straight from the garden and trapped in a bottle. It has a brilliant aroma that you’ll certainly fall in love with. But I could get only faint hints of elderflower here. Not to mention any apple flavour (it’s a shame if you’re asking me). Taste wise the InCider Holunder has depth and a nice length and it was a real pleasure drinking it. But rather after the meal due to the medium level of sweetness than before as advertised (it’s like with dessert wine, it is to be served with dessert, not as an aperitif). On another note, I can very well imagine InCider as a great base for cocktails. But Julia has already thought about it –> check out InCide’s website for some summer cocktails recipes. Whether I would buy it again? Absolutely! Even though I couldn’t taste any apple here. 4/6 

Availability: only Southern Germany for now incl. Getränke Maisch in Gerlingen; Kö8 in Köngen, Getränke Ebinger GmbH in Großbottwar. Online from Weinhaus Kreuz or Perbaccowein,

Price: InCide Holunder was a sample provided by Julia from InCide Drinks.

Hepfel Cider

No, ‘Hepfel’ doesn’t mean ‘apple’ in Swabian, a dialect spoken also in Baden-Wüttemberg, Germany where two brothers, Christopher and Nicolai of Hepfel Cider come from. ‘Hepfel’ is a combination of ‘Hepperle’, the last name of the founders and the German word for apple ‘Apfel’. Christopher and Nicolai fell in love with cider during their trip to South Africa. After their return to Germany, they would look for a drinkable cider in their area but without luck. So in 2015, they launched their own cider. Their Hepfel Cider is available today mainly in shops and restaurants in Kirchheim but also online from Ciderei.Company: Hepperle GbR
Place of Origin: Kirchheim, Baden-Wüttermberg, Germany
Ingredients: apple wine, apple juice, lemon juice, carbon dioxide and sulphites
ABV: 4.2%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or flute

Appearance: pours a clear straw yellow with a light greenish hue and a white foam that quickly reduces to a ring. Low artificial carbonation. Low to medium body with a light creamy texture.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is not strong with notes of yellow apples, light green apples, lemon, apple stems, a hint of elderflower, lightly vinous notes and distant sulphur.

Taste: it starts lightly sweet with low to medium acidity. On the mid-palate notes of lemon, yellow apples, green apples and unripe apples and light elderflower with a light astringent taste. Finishes dry with a refreshing Granny Smith apple flavour.

Overall: I was quite puzzled when I discovered lemon juice after reviewing the ingredient list. There are so many sour apples in Germany so why would anyone want to add a lemon juice to increase the acidity level? But let’s focus on the aroma and flavour now. The nose slightly reminds me a fizzy apple beverage. It’s not unpleasant but just doesn’t promise much. The palate is quite ok, not too sweet, not too dry with some flavours to explore. Also, the aftertaste has a nice length with a flavour of a Granny Smith apple. In summary, Hepfel is perhaps not mind-blowing, but definitely pleasant and refreshing so it will do the job on a hot summer day. 3.5/6 

Availability: locally in Kirchheim, Stuttgart and across Baden-Wüttenberg. Online exclusively from Ciderei.

Price: Hepfel Cider was a sample provided by Ciderei.

ApfelDieb Satter Apfel

Germans should travel more often to Australia or New Zealand as this is when they usually fall in love with cider. Right after Phillipp tried local Tasmanian cider while on his trip to the land of Tasmanian devils, he gave Micheal a call, and persuaded him to establish a cider-making company producing craft cider in Germany. Since they both come from an area of Germany also known as Viezstrasse or Route du Cidre, it was just a matter of finding the right cider maker who could help them with their business concept. They finally met Wolfgang Schmitt, an award-winning Apfelwein-maker from Memmingen (Saar), who has an old apple orchard with apple trees planted as far as in the 1920’s. The thing was Wolfgang has never manufactured any cider in his life, only Apfelwein, which is not the same. It took Wolfgang one year to develop a cider recipe, but here it is, Phillipp’s and Michael’s first cider, the Satter Apfel. Let’s see what Wolfgang manufactured for the guys from ApfelDieb.Company: ApfelDieb
Place of Origin: 
Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Apples:
a blend of Rheinischer Winterrambour, Belle de Boskoop, Roter Bellefleur, Blaucher Wädenswill, Roter Trierer Weinapfel, Gewürzluiken, Erbachhofer Weinapfel and others.
Sweetness as per label:
 dry
ABV:
 6.5%
Package type: 
275ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass or pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a quickly dissipating white head. Medium to high carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is slightly sweet and exhibits notes of oak, regular and burnt caramel, red and yellow apple and baked caramelised apple. Underlying hints of white wine, smokiness and apple juice add complexity to the aroma.

Taste: it starts slightly sweet with caramel, low to medium acidity and a touch of burnt caramel bitterness. The mid-palate shows lingering smokiness in the beginning, which gets weaker with each sip, yellow and red apple with a hint of lemon and subtle oak. Finishes with low astringency and a subtle lingering caramel bitterness and a hint of apple seeds, with something earthy.

Overall: the last few German ciders that I sampled tasted rather average. However, Apfeldieb’s Satter Apfel is the first cider from Germany that has a full, exceptional and rich palate with nicely balanced sweetness and acidity. I especially enjoyed the lingering subtle burnt caramel flavour with refreshing caramelised baked apple. It may sound weird but it’s really delicious and makes this cider really special. Since it is an English style cider, it is food-friendly and should appeal to everyone. I hope that the Satter Apfel will be available soon in Berlin as I wouldn’t mind having it more often. I enjoyed it. Well done! 4.5/6 

Availability: Fruchteria in Saarbrücken. Check their facebook for updates.

Price: product sample was sent to me by Phillipp from ApfelDieb for testing.

Bright Side Cider

All I was able to find about Bright Side Cider is that the company was established in 2016 by Thomas Nowatzky and Rudolf Moos, two cider lovers and entrepreneurs. Despite the popularity of their product, they stopped the production earlier this year for unknown reasons. But, you can still find their cider in many shops in Berlin.Company: Bright Side Cider GmbH
Place of Origin: Berlin, Germany
Apples: locally grown apples
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden yellow with a short-lived white foam. Low carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: smells like a sweet apple juice made predominantly from red apples, with a hint of fermented apples, and a buttery note.

Taste: it starts sweet and slightly watery with low acidity and a strong apple juice taste. The mid-palate has a hint of smokiness to the apple juice-like taste and gentle tannins. The aftertaste is dry and slightly astringent.

Overall: similarly to Outmost’s Outcider Mild the Bright Side Cider has a striking resemblance to Apfelschorle, an apple juice mixed with spritzer, which is a typical beverage drunk in this part of Germany. So, I am sorry to say this, but the Bright Side Cider is just another apple juice-like tasting cider. When I buy cider I want to drink cider, not Apfelschorle. Summarizing, Bright Side Cider is drinkable, but I still don’t get what is the point of producing an Apfelschorle with alcohol and calling it a cider. Is it because cider is getting more trendy? 2.5/6

Availability: only locally in Berlin from Weinberg, Tante Frizzante, FlaschbierschopGetränkefeinkost Berlin.

Price: purchased from Flaschbierschop in Berlin at 2.30 EUR.

Elbler Flut Stark

Despite the fact that Frankfurt/Main is the capital of apfelwein/cider in Germany two friends from Hamburg, Jan Ockert and Stefan Wächter (who to some of you maybe be known as a goalkeeper in the Bundesliga) decided to share their passion for cider in the Northern Germany. In 2012 Jan and Stefan have launched their cider, Elbler made from organic apples.Company: Elbler GmbH
Place of Origin: Hamburg, Germany
Apples: organic apples coming from German orchards
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a white frothy head, which only slowly reduces to a ring. Medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is rich and has notes of dried apricots, dried apples, raisins with wood and sweet ripe apples. Nice and pleasant. Reminds me slightly French cidre.

Taste: taste wise begins slightly watery with low to medium sweetness and low acidity.  Dried fruits, raisins, plums, apple juice, a light smoky note with low astringency on the mid-palate. Aftertaste has notes of dried fruits and low astringency with a distant booze-like flavour.

Overall: It seems that Germans from the north of Germany can also make a pretty decent cider. Very rich bouquet with notes of dried fruits and light smoky note both on the nose and the palate is really something. It’s like French Cidre meets English Cider. I really enjoyed the Flut Stark as it was refreshing and tasty. However, I must say the Flut Stark is a bit too sweet for my taste. Also, the apple juice flavour is a bit too dominating and the distant booze-like taste not appealing. But, since the Flut Stark is widely available in Berlin through Bio-Company I would buy it again. 4/6

Availability: online from Wein Outlet or Solvino.  Locally in Berlin from Biererei and Bio-Company.

Price: locally in Berlin from Bio-Company at 1.99 EUR

Döhne Apfelschaumwein Brut 2013

In the northern part of Hesse, 15 km away from Kassel in Schauenburg Joachim Döhne makes his exquisite Apfelwein using the traditional champagne method. Although the cidery was established only in 1996 he and his Apfelschaumwein are already well known and highly regarded in the German as well as international cider world. Let’s find out why. Shall we? 🙂Company: Brennerei und Kellerei Joachim Döhne
Place of Origin: Schauenburg-Breitenbach, Hesse, Germany
Apples: a cuvée of Boskoop, Jakob Lebel, Schöner von Herrenhut and Kaiser Wilhelm
Sweetness as per label: brut
ABV: 10%
Package type: 375ml green glass champagne-corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with a large white head, created by massive bubbles. Carbonation is the champagne type. I love to watch those hypnotizing strings of bubbles.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is dry and has notes of pears with ripe apple skins and flesh.  More distant flavours include wood, and something earthy. The aroma reminds me a bit of French cidre.

Taste: it begins very dry with white wine notes and lingering moderate to high lemon-like acidity. The mid-palate has overripe apples, red apple flesh and skins. The finish is tart and dry with soft tannins. Also, it has a moderate astringency with a mildly bitter and wood flavour. The astringency slightly increases after a while. Alcohol, despite the high ABV, is not perceivable in the taste but gives you warming effect in the throat.

Overall: I loved it! Seriously! Both the palate and the nose show complexity, good structure and depth. Every sip was a pure pleasure. Taste wise somewhere between a French cidre, German Apfelwein and dry champagne. Döhne’s Brut is just a perfect bubbly to celebrate New Year’s Eve, your birthday or the fact that champagne made from apples can taste divine! A must try! 5/6 

Availability: as for now only shops in Germany seem to stock Döhne’s Apfelschaumwein. Locally at the farm and online from Brennerei und Kellerei Joachim Döhne. Online available from Apfelweinkontor, Apfel im GlasAhle Wurscht Shop, Kaufhaus Hessen, Weinzeche.

Price: purchased online from Apfelweinkontor at 8.5 EUR

Gutshof Kraatz Schöner von Boskoop 2013

German apfelwein from Gutshof Kraatz, which I am sampling today is quite unusual as it comes from Uckermark located in the northeastern Germany. Uckermark is not really associated with the tradition of apfelwein like other German regions, such as Hesse or Swabia. However, there is a logical explanation to this. In the 1930ties Christian Kaufmann, who established the cidery, moved from Swabia to Uckermark and introduced the traditional Swabian cider to the local community with great success.Gutshof Kraatz_Boskoop 2013.jpgCompany: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Germany
Apples: made from a single old apple variety Belle de Boskoop
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 7%
Package type: 750ml clear glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a crystal clear, golden amber body with no head. No carbonation.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose, there are floral notes with overripe apples and some pears. I can also sense mild and sweet honey notes with some kind of spiciness. Also, very distant sulphur. Overall, the aroma resembles more wine than cider.

Taste: this apfelwein is medium dry as some residual sugar is perceivable. There is also a moderate lemon-like acidity, which is still within a palatable range. The medium palate has overripe apples, apple peel, and apple flesh. Furthermore, I can taste citrus notes with some spiciness. The aftertaste is lingering and dry and has gentle bitter and astringent notes with a minimal touch of alcohol.

Overall: My experience with German apfelwein/cider wasn’t the best so far. But I think this apfelwein can be a sort of breakthrough. Boskoop has a really nicely balanced moderate acidity. Good structure and complexity. Imagine biting into a juicy apple but instead of sourness and sweetness, you taste pleasant moderate acidity and dryness. But it doesn’t taste like apple juice at all. This is quite rare. Great apfelwein! 4.5/6

Availability: good question. Gutshof Kraatz has their own online shop but apart from that, I think only locally in Uckermark. Gutshof Kratz’s apfelwein should be also available through Apfelweinkontor.

Price: purchased locally from Anna Vom Feld in Berlin (7.9 EUR). They closed recently.