Kertelreiter Highway to Hüll 2019

Barry’s adventure with fermenting has begun in 2006 when he started experimenting with different hop varieties in his beers. Once Barry discovered cider, as a former beer brewer, he took advantage of his brewing experience and tried dry-hopping ciders with popular US hops that are frequently used by craft beer brewers. But due to citric flavors that would come with these hope varieties he wasn’t exactly happy with his experiments. So Barry turned to less known hop varieties that give more vinous flavors such as Hüll Melon. Hüll Melon is a German hop variety that is supposed to give fruity notes of honey melon, strawberry, apricot along with some sweetness.

The Kertelereiter Highway to Hüll is a small batch cider dry hopped with Hüll Melon. Previously, I sampled Barry’s perry, the Levitation 2019, cider, the An Craobh Airgid 2019 and quince wine, the Kertelreiter Quince 2019.

Company: Kertelreiter Cider
Place of Origin: Schefflenz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Ingredients : a blend of local apple varieties along with a hop variety Hüll Melon
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6,6%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours an almost clear pale golden yellow. The carbonation is moderate and natural. There is a foam that reduces slowly to a ring. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong and complex – it’s not easy to identify any particular notes. But I got a note of honey melon, elderflower and of salty olive brine.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, spiciness, notes of yellow apples, mineral notes, low but long-lasting bitterness and a touch of honey lemon. Finishes dry with a mineral note and a very low bitterness along with a note of salty olive brine.

Overall: Not sure how about you but when I see a hoped cider I have a sort of an idea how it may taste like. This is mostly due to the use of specific hop varieties for dry hopping of cider. Well, this is indeed not the case with the Highway to Hüll made by Barry. While having the Highway to Hüll, I never had a feeling that I was drinking a hopped cider. Neither a cider. Due to mineral notes I had the impression I was drinking a pleasant white wine from the Rhine area. It is complex, nicely build so for me it was actually a challenge to identify notes both on the nose and on the palate. I didn’t get any notes of strawberries or apricots but there was indeed something fruity in there. It doesn’t mean that there are no flavors but rather that they come at the same time -due to this fact the taste is perhaps not really short but not exactly long-lasting. I thought that the Highway to Hüll was a unique and interesting offering but it didn’t steal my heart. Anyways, definitely worth trying. 4/6

Availability: from their online shop– they also ship to other EU countries!

Price: Barry provided me with a sample.

Kertelreiter Quince 2019

The Kertelreiter Quince 2019 is a quince wine made with the fruit donated by friends and neighbors. Barry must be either well known and respected in his home town or have really a lot of friends since in 2018 they gave him 450kg of quince. Not bad!

Previously, I sampled Barry’s perry, the Levitation 2019 and cider, the An Craobh Airgid 2019.

Company: Kertelreiter Cider
Place of Origin: Schefflenz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Fruits: quince
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6,2%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours a bit cloudy pale golden yellow with a greenish hue. The carbonation is very low and natural. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and fruity with a beautiful note of quince. I’m not getting anything else apart from quince.

Taste: it begins bone dry with high acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of quince, lemon low bitterness. Finishes dry with notes of quince and green, unripe lemon.

Overall: The Kertelreiter Quince 2019 is not going to be everyone’s favorite. High acidity in the first sip may give one a better awakening kick than a morning espresso. But with the second sip you can really get to appreciate further notes that are on the mid-palate. I especially liked the combination of quince, lemon and green, unripe lemon as I thought it contributed very nicely to the overall impression of this quince wine. Although the nose war really pleasant, fruity, there wasn’t a big variety of flavors as I could get mostly only the notes of quince. Also, I was rather surprised by the lack of tannins as usually quince is mixed with other fruits due to high tannin content. Interesting. Food-wise, due to high acidity I think it would pair very nicely with fish. Despite rather one-dimensional and quince-lemon character I enjoyed it and would buy it again. 4/6

Availability: from their online shop– they also ship to other EU countries!

Price: Barry provided me with a sample.

Kertelreiter An Craobh Airgid 2019

Since Barry is Irish by origin, it is not a surprise that one of his ciders carries an Irish name. “An Craobh Airgid” is Irish for “the Silver Branch”, a symbol found in Irish mythology and literature. The Silver Branch with white apple blossom coming from a sacred apple tree represented a gateway to the Celtic otherworld.

The Craobh Airgid is a blend of Reine de Reinette, Jonagold, Boskoop, Brettacher and further apple varieties that was matured on pomace before moving to the oak barrel for 9 months. Afterwards, it was aged on toasted apple wood.

Company: Kertelreiter Cider
Place of Origin: Schefflenz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Apples: a blend of Reine de Reinette, Jonagold, Boskoop, Brettacher and more
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6,6%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden with a greenish hue and moderate and natural carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with wild notes, a touch of vinegar, grapefruit, distant yellow apples and and something spicy to it.

Taste: my first taste is bone dry with low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, watery notes, low grapefruit-peel like bitterness and plain bitter notes with faint notes of yellow apples. Finishes dry with a lingering acidity of lemon, green notes, notes typical for malo-lactic fermentation and a touch of astringency. Also, a champagne-like appeared to the end.

Overall: When I asked Barry whether he used wild yeast for the An Craobh Airgid, he denied as he usually works with selected wine yeasts. But after a while he admitted that the base cider for this cider was aged on pomace, which could be the source of wild yeast. Well, the funky notes on the nose clearly indicate that wild yeast had “their hands” in this cider. The nose was strong and rich and fruity and to me “obviously” very inviting. Although the palate also had many various flavors to offer with a good length and long-lasting notes of lemon and grapefruit, somehow they were not in harmony with each other. Despite so many features of a good cider – strong and rich nose, many flavors on the palate that went on and on, I didn’t enjoy having this drop. I tried to evaluate what is it in this cider that makes it to me taste rather unpleasant and I came to a conclusion that it’s the combination of green notes with the plain bitter notes. I suppose some may enjoy this combination but I clearly don’t belong to this group. 3.5/6

Availability: from their online shop– they also ship to other EU countries!

Price: Barry provided me with a sample.

Kertelreiter Levitation 2019

What is the sum of the equation Irish in Germany and local fruit? That’s not rocket science, isn’t it? Obviously, the answer is CIDER or PERRY. A few years after Barry Masterson moved from Ireland to Germany with his wife (who happens to be German), he bought the harvest rights to some trees (he spent 10 EUR!!!) and started experimenting with the fruit. Until recently, making cider and perry was just a hobby of his. In 2019, he set up Kertelreiter Cider.

I’ve decided to start with the Kertelreiter Levitation 2019, as this perry is made mostly with the fruit coming from old pear trees that Barry loves to hunt down. The Levitation is made with Oberösterreichischer Weinbirne 70%, Conference 20%, Luxemburger Mostbirne 10%.

Company: Kertelreiter Cider
Place of Origin: Schefflenz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Pears: Oberösterreichischer Weinbirne 70%, Conference 20%, Luxemburger Mostbirne 10%
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 7,7%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours an almost clear pale golden with a small head that reduces to a tiny ring. Moderate and natural carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is moderately strong and fruity with notes of elderflower, lychee, peach and a tiny hint of sulphur along with a champagne note.

Taste: it starts bone dry with practically no acidity. On the mid-palate, fruity notes of elderflower, lychee, peach and super high astringency that gives you a feeling of cat’s tongue. Finishes dry with low alcohol, lingering notes of fruits and a touch of bitterness and high astringency.

Overall: I’m looking at my tasting notes right now and I don’t think they properly describe the experience that you get while drinking this perry as the Levitation 2019 is a magnificent drop. And, one of the best perry’s that I ever had! The tannins are extremely strong and make your tongue feeling like a cat’s tongue but this is absolutely not disturbing and actually contributing to the overall complexity of this perry. Actually, if not the tannin content, I would have said I’m drinking a lovely, rich and nicely balanced riesling. That tannin kick is really something! Each sip was an unbelievable experience that I wanted to go through again and again. Interestingly, after drinking only half of the 33cl bottle, I actually felt pleasantly tipsy. Hard to imagine that the ABV is only at 7,7%. Anyways, now I understand where the name of this perry came from, the Levitation. Food-wise, I paired the Levitation 2019 with spicy Indian Chicken Saagwala and I thought it was a good combination that pushed the fruity notes of this perry to the front. Barry of Kertelreiter cider is a cider maker to watch out for in Germany. I would buy more. 5/6

Availability: from their online shop– they also ship to other EU countries!

Price: Barry provided me with a sample