Hogan’s Vintage Perry 2014

For this perry, Hogan’s used perry pears grown in the Three Counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. In 2016, the editors of the Independent selected top ten perries and Hogan’s Vintage Perry 2014 was named one of the top ten.Company: Hogan’s Cider
Place of Origin: Alcester, Warwickshire, UK
Ingredients: English perry pear juice, water, sugar, carbon dioxide, malic acid, preservative: potassium metabisulphite (sulphites)
ABV: 5.4%
Package type: 500ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a small, immediately dissipating white fizz. Medium and artificial carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose has dominating notes of caramel and toffee with yellow apples, but no pears.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet and light buttery with a light sourness of malic acid. On the mid-palate some smokiness with low astringency and a watery taste. The aftertaste has hints of caramelised sugar, a bitter note and a hint of banana. 

Overall: briefly,  it tastes like a liquid caramel candy with some butterscotch and some sour taste to it. Although sometimes the increase of acidity admittedly may contribute to perry’s taste, the addition of malic acid to this particular perry doesn’t help much. You can actually taste that this acidity simply doesn’t belong here. Also, it finishes relatively quick. Interestingly, it doesn’t have a taste of pears, only yellow apples. Nevertheless, I think that Hogan’s Perry can be appreciated by a wider audience. It’s not overly sweet, but also not too dry. So if you’re expecting a pleasant no-brainer, then this perry will meet your expectations. I think it can be likeable but it’s just not my style. 3/6 

Availability: from their online shop. In Germany exclusively from Cider Kultur.

Price: Hogan’s Vintage Perry 2014 was a sample provided by Cider Kultur, a recently opened webshop run by two cider aficionados offering a selection of great cider.

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Redbrook Perry Polosuchý

Pears used to make Redbrook’s Perry Polosuchý come from orchards established in 1994. However, the fruit growing tradition in Dřínov, Czech Republic stretches back to the second half of the twentieth century.  Today I give you Redbrook’s Perry Polosuchý.Company: Redbrook Cider
Place of Origin: Dřínov, Central Bohemian Region, Czech Republic
Pears: a blend of Czech pears from Jiří Hubáček’s orchards
Sweetness as per label: semi-dry
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with light faint amber hues and a white foam reducing to a ring. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is sweetish and lightly vinous with notes of pear juice and ripe juicy pears, red apples and a light woody touch of stems.

Taste: my first taste is a bit sweeter than semi-sweet with no acidity. Then it gets creamy, almost like vanilla ice cream with notes of ripe juicy pear, woody notes of stems, light banana, gentle vinous note and very distant astringent taste. Towards the finish, I get a distant bitter and earthy note with a lingering note of stems.

Overall: Redbrook’s Perry tastes more interesting than the previously sampled Original Polosuchy as it has more depth and a richer set of flavours. I think it’s drinkable and I liked its almost ice-cream-like creaminess and complementing woody notes of stems. But still, it lacks qualities of a great perry. In my opinion, it can be likeable, especially by those who like sweet stuff. Also, I think that the Redbrook’s Perry could go well with desserts such as ice-cream or sweet pancakes. 3.5/6

Availability: only in the Czech Republic through Pochutnejsi and Sklizeno. Also, available in many bars and restaurants around the Czech Republic.

Price: Perry Polosuchý was a sample provided by Redbrook Cider.

5th Manchester Beer & Cider Festival 2018: visit recap

When I learned about the 5th Manchester Beer & Cider Festival taking place in January 2018 from Eric West’s list of international cider festivals and events I realised that I’ve never been neither to Manchester nor to a cider festival in the UK before. So I thought that I might as well kill two birds with one stone. The decision was made, I’m going to Manchester to get a taste of English cider from the North.

For the record, Manchester Beer & Cider Festival is the biggest festival in the northern part of the United Kingdom gathering once a year brewers and cider makers, not to mention beer and cider lovers from the UK and abroad. In 2018, the festival took place on 25-27 January.

LOCATION

The venue is located within a 10-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly in Manchester Central Convention Complex, which is the former Manchester Central railway station built in 1880. It is a beautiful, giant exhibition. In my opinion, Manchester Central is a perfect place for an event like this. The organisers have picked up a really beautiful location.

There were three beer bars in the back and a few more in the centre and international beer bars to the right from the entrance. The cider & perry bar was located to the left from the entrance. Food vendors had their stall just opposite the cider & perry bar on the left side. All around the exhibition hall, there were countless banquet tables and chairs around them creating a large sitting area for visitors. Only, it was actually quite chilly inside the hall. 

TICKETS

There were two ways to purchase your entry ticket to the festival. Either at the door or online. Knowing that tickets can sell out quickly at similar events in the UK, I’ve decided to purchase my ticket online for Thursday, 25th January at 7.63 GBP as I wanted to avoid the crowds. Tickets for 26th and 27th were slightly more expensive to my knowledge. Also, CAMRA members would get a ticket at a discounted price.

I thought it was an excellent idea that a festival glass was already included in the ticket price. In addition, you could get to choose between either a regular pint glass or a tasting glass lined at the third or half pint measures if you wanted to sample more. Also, glass washing devices were available if you needed to clean your glass. I loved it that you could even swap a glass at any time for a clean one at the glass stand. To be honest, it’s the first time I experienced festival glasses being washed in a dishwasher at the spot. Brilliant! At the end of the festival, you could either return the glass to the glass stall and collect 3 GBP or take your glass home as a souvenir.

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Festival programme was not included in the ticket price and was available for purchase at 1 GBP. I had the impression that the festival programme was dedicated almost entirely to beer. Each beer would get a short description, whereas cider and perry were just mentioned by name of the cider makers and cider name. In the end, out of 66 pages, only 6 were dedicated to cider. Don’t cider & perry deserve a proper description?img_9177CIDER MAKERS

Overall, 77 ciders and 25 different and perrys coming from 63 different English producers were available over the three days. Meaning, some of the ciders and perrys that I was eager to taste on Thursday were simply not available. So if you thought you’d be able to try selected ciders and perrys on one day you’d be disappointed as it was in my case. There was no list of cider and perry available that day at the bar so literally, no one was able to prepare a list of ciders to try. Not sure what sense does it make, as in the end of the day you don’t want to stay with all these full or half-empty bag-in-boxes. Usually, vendors want to leave with as little products as possible. I’m afraid I couldn’t get the logic behind not making all ciders available at the same time. Also, as you can see I was a bit frustrated because my list of ciders to try that I prepared before the event had to undergo massive changes.img_9178

Since taste description for cider and perry was not provided in the festival programme, you could rely only on a taste guide with the level of sweetness (see the picture) or ask staff behind the bar for a recommendation or a sample.

Interestingly, cider at the bar was poured only from bag-in-boxes, different to what I’ve seen at other festivals in Europe. Where did the tradition of serving cider from bag-in-boxes actually come from? Also, both cider & perry were still and served at room temperature. I wonder whether the surrounding temperature and bag-in-box might have led to the observed changes in the flavour profile of cider and perry sampled at the festival.

As I just mentioned in the beginning of this section, I was really looking forward to getting a taste of cider and perry from the North of England. Sadly, only cider & perry from 15 various producers from North and West Yorkshire, Cheshire Lancashire or Greater Manchester were on sale at the Cider & Perry bar. To be honest, I expected cider makers from the North to make up most of the cider & perry selection, not less than half! But Phil of Pulp Craft Cider, who I met up with at the festival explained to me that in the North the climate is not good enough for growing cider apples, thus there are not so many cider makers around here. Judging by the number of present producers from the North I guess it must be true then. For the full list of cider & perry available at the festival click the link.

FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT
Since the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival is advertised as the largest festival in the img_9069North I expected many visitors. Indeed, there were lots of beer and cider drinkers around already on Thursday, the first day of the festival. But to my surprise, the number of food vendors was rather limited compared to the number of visitors as there were perhaps only 5 stalls offering the choice of Polish pierogi, burgers, Mexican food, cheese toasts and Caribbean cuisine. Despite the relatively high number of visitors, the lines to each food vendors were not very long so you could get a set of pierogi in relatively low time. I found it very interesting, as in Berlin you have to wait sometimes in very long line for your burger from a food truck. Once I had to wait over an hour! But here I got my burger in less than 5 minutes. I guess people in the UK don’t eat and drink at the same time.

Moreover, I was hoping to listen to any kind of music, but at least on Thursday, there was no such entertainment. The whole afternoon and evening were filled with voices of visitors and vendors, sounds of poured beer and cider but sadly no music. I think that music creates a great drinking atmosphere. So music is something that was simply missing that day in my opinion. Did anyone attend the festival on Friday or Saturday and can tell me if there was any music?

However, I’ve learned that there are quite interesting English pub games. I must say I found some of them quite amusing and spent some time watching folks playing various games that I can’t even name.img_9167CIDER & PERRY COMPETITION 2018  

The festival was not only about sampling real cider and perry but also about a  competition. Cider and perry were entered to be judged by the festival’s jury. Interestingly, festival attendees could also vote their favourite cider and perry during the festival with a voting card.

And here are the results of the Cider & Perry Competition 2018 judged at the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival on 26th January 2018. La Cantina’s Yesterday’s Dreams was the winner, whereas the Waterloo Sunset from Udders Orchard was the Runner-Up in the perry category. As for cider, Hedgehoggers’ Old Aged Pig was the winner, and the Traditional Still from Ampleforth Abbey was the Runner-Up.

Festival attendees had a slightly different opinion about their favourite cider and perry as Cleeve Orchard Dry was voted the best cider and Hecks Perry won in the perry category.

Sadly, I’ve managed to sample only the Traditional Still from Ampleforth Abbey. It was actually quite ok. For my detailed tasting notes scroll down.

TASTING NOTES

Ampleforth Abbey Traditional (ABV 6.5%)

Appearance: slightly cloudy, golden, still, low body. Aroma: weak, red and yellow apples, acetic, hints of funk. Taste: low sweetness, low lemon-like acidity, crisp yellow apple, yellow apple flesh, a hint of alcohol, lightly watery, very light astringent taste. Overall: it tasted quite alright. Nice an easy drinking pour. 4/6

Blackmore Vale Sweet (ABV unknown)

Appearance: clear, golden with orange hues, still, low body. Aroma: polyfloral honey, burnt caramel, acetic. Taste: moderately sweetness with low lemon-like acidity, yellow apple, polyfloral honey, burnt caramel, fresh apple, light bitterness, light astringent taste, beeswax, lightly watery. Overall: a beautiful apple forward taste with notes of beeswax and honey. 4.5/6

Grumpy Johns Dry (ABV 6%)

Appearance: clear, golden, still, low body. Aroma: beeswax, caramel, fermented apples, vinegar. Taste: low sweetness with low to medium lemon-like acidity, beeswax, leather, funk, lightly watery, light bitterness, but not disturbing. Overall: tasted pretty average, but drinkable. 3.5/6

Hartland Perry (ABV unknown)

Appearance: cloudy, golden, still, low body. Aroma: nail polish and vinegar. Taste: low to medium sweetness with low vinegar and lemon-like acidity, blood orange, pear, light bitterness, a sweetener-like aftertaste. Overall: quite dry for a perry. Rich with a nice palate and pleasant tannins to it. 4/6

Madhatters Farting Dog (ABV 6.5%)

Appearance: almost clear, golden, still, low body. Aroma: nail polish and vinegar, pear, sweetener. Taste: low sweetness with low to medium vinegar-like acidity, citrusy, yellow apples, sweetener, medium to high astringent taste. Overall: Tastes quite ok. Rich, but not overwhelming. 3.5/6

Newtons Thorn Perry (ABV 6%)

Appearance: clear, dark golden, still, low body. Aroma: pear, ripe pear, vinegar. Taste: low sweetness with low to medium vinegar and lemon-like acidity, citrusy, green and yellow pear, unripe pear, lightly watery, low to medium astringent taste. Overall: a decent nearly dry perry. One of the best I had recently. 4.5/6

Oliver’s Medium Dry (ABV 6%)

Appearance: cloudy, pale amber, still, low body. Aroma: leather, red apples, beeswax,  vinegar. Taste: moderate sweetness with low vinegar-like acidity, citrusy, sweetener, grapefruit, red apples, light apple-seed bitterness, blood orange, medium astringent taste, lingering acidity. Overall: very rich palate, with good levels of tannins. I guess you can’t go wrong with Oliver’s cider. Can you? 4.5/6

Thornborough Dry (ABV 6%)

Appearance: cloudy, golden, still, low body. Aroma: yellow apples, lemon, vinegar. Taste: bone dry with light to medium lemon and vinegar-like acidity, yellow apples, barnyard, low to medium astringent taste, light bitterness, beeswax. Overall: beautifully dry with lovely tannins and a pleasant finish. For those who like their cider dry. 4.5/6

Ventons Medium (ABV unknown)

Appearance: cloudy, golden, still, low body. Aroma: vinegar, beeswax, honey, barnyard. Taste: moderately sweet, with medium lemon and vinegar-like acidity, barnyard, fermented apples, red apples, medium astringent taste. Overall: Lovely drop. I enjoyed it. Goes down easily. 4.5/6

Yorkshire Scrumpy Still cider (ABV 6.5%)

Appearance: clear, golden, still, low body. Aroma: red and yellow apples, tannic, a hint of an apple juice from concentrate. Taste: slightly sweet, with low medium lemon-like acidity, yellow apples, light astringent taste. Overall: It lacks depth and I didn’t enjoy having it. I suspect it might be made from concentrate. 2/6

FINAL REMARKS

If you made it through my tasting notes you might have noticed that almost every cider or perry I’ve sampled had at least a light acetic note. It wouldn’t be suspicious if only a few tasted of vinegar, but all of them, including Oliver’s, which I used as a benchmark here? Since some of the tasted ciders had a very strong acetic note I basically felt like at a Spanish sidra festival, not an English Cider Festival. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the vinegary note and I do enjoy Spanish sidra natural. Also, I had bottled English ciders  that had a vinegary note before. Also, I agree that the acetic note can make the palate richer but I was completely perplexed with ALL English ciders and perrys I sampled that day to taste like this.

I was trying to understand why would each cider develop this note. The only culprit I can think of is the bag-in-box itself. Bag-in-box is basically a plastic bag in a carton box. Since the bag is made of plastic it lets some air through, thus leading to oxidation of ethanol to vinegar. If bag-in-box is the reason for the development of the vinegary taste I really don’t understand why would English cider-makers rely on a bag-in-box for cider. My understanding is that a bottle can preserve the actual cider flavour just like the cider maker intended it to taste like at blending because it doesn’t let much air come in. But cider poured from bag-in-box would already have a different palate, other than at the moment of blending by the cider maker.

This leads to a further question, why would a cider festival prefer bag-in-boxes instead of kegs? Are kegs not suitable for cider? Does any of you have a similar experience with the acetic note accompanying cider served from in bag-in-boxes? Perhaps there is something I’m missing.

Another observation I made was that beer was internationally represented at the festival, including Irish, Belgian, German or Spanish brewers or beers, while cider & perry were available only from English cider-makers coming from all around the UK. Like there were no international ciders to try. If you need an introduction to cidre/sidra/sidro/siider/siideri/cydr/Apfelwein I can help you with that.

Furthermore, I think I got spoiled by cider and craft beer festivals in Germany and Czech Republic as usually, the producer would be present at the festival promoting its own product. But not here, at the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival 2018 only the product, cider & perry were available. As I found later when talking to Phil of Pulp Cider, cider makers in the UK usually don’t attend cider festivals. They arrange for the shipment of their cider to the festival and that would be it. Given the fact, that there is a cider festival every day in the UK (on the next day I visited Liverpool and discovered a Winter Ale Festival in the beautiful St George’s Hall) it is difficult to expect them visiting every festival. But still, I was a bit disappointed.

SUMMARY

Summarizing, my expectations towards the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival 2018, my first cider festival in the UK, were high. I was really excited at first. But I must admit that I feel now slightly disappointed. No music, no cider makers to meet and chat with (thank you, Phil, that you were there to talk to!), decent and pleasant ciders and perrys but all with a vinegary note, all in a beautiful environment. I must stress that I enjoyed Slavnost Cideru 2017 (read my visit recap here) in Prague much better in that sense. This is why I’ve decided to attend the cider festival in Prague also this year.

Ramborn Perry

Most of you, including myself, were probably not aware until now that Luxembourg is famous for its unique pear varieties, which are very rich in tannins and have an exquisite fruity taste. These features make them perfectly suitable for the production of perry. Therefore, this is not really a surprise that Ramborn Cider Co, the only cider maker in the whole Luxembourg created a perry from fruits coming from very old traditional perry orchards.
Company:
Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Pears: traditional pear varieties including Mostbirne and Nelchesbirne
ABV: 5.8%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a large short-lived white foam. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: smells dry and surprisingly sweet at the same time, with notes of a sweet juicy pear,  white wine notes, wood and distant herbal notes.

Taste: the first taste is moderately sweet with no acidity to it. Subsequently, you get a strong tannic kick, where tannins coat the whole mouth. Interestingly, the tannins here are not aggressive like sometimes those in cider, but still very strong. Just different. After the initial kick, the taste gets more fruity thanks to notes of an overripe sweet and juicy pear with a touch of wood. The aftertaste has a lingering astringency and a chalky touch.

Overall: Wow! I don’t think I have ever tried such an astringent perry so far. It’s very tannic, but as mentioned earlier the tannins are strong, not aggressive. The taste of pear tannins differs from those found in cider and is really special. What I also enjoyed was the fruity taste of pear, which is really pleasant. As for the level of sweetness, it’s just right, not too sweet. However, in my opinion, a touch of acidity would definitely round up the taste. Taken together, I enjoyed Ramborn’s Perry as it is really very unique and one of a kind. But due to high tannins, not everyone might enjoy it. I did! 4/6

Availability: In Luxembourg at their farm, at the LiquidLe Bisdorff Hotel & Restaurant, Brasserie um Tennis. In Germany from The Hop Shop in Trier and online from Ciderei. In Switzerland from Ciderhouse.ch. In Italy through Sidro & Cider. In the UK from Crafty Nectar.

Price: Perry was sent to me by Ramborn Cider Co for testing.

Opre’ Perry

The idea of making cider from Slovak apples was born, when Gabriel Oprendek returned from one of his trips and brought a bottle of cider with him. At the time nobody produced cider in Slovakia. Cider was exotic to everyone. This inspired his younger brother Radoslav, who has a background in biology, to experiment with cider made from locally grown apples. After one year of experimenting the recipe was developed and Opre’ Cider could hit the shelves in Slovakia, Czech Republic and other countries. I tried their Perry at Slavnost Cideru 2017.Company: Opre’ Cider
Place of Origin: Budimir, Slovakia
Pears: locally grown pears
Sweetness as per label: sweet
ABV: 3.1%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or flute

Appearance: pours a slightly pale golden/pale amber with no head. Medium carbonation. Body is medium as well.

Aroma/Nose: The nose is rich and has overripe pears and apples along with pear skins, raisin-like sweetness and a touch vinegar.

Taste: it tastes very sweet with low acetic-acidity. The mid-palate has notes of ripe juicy pears and pear juice with a note of baked apples. Also, I’m getting green notes with a light bitter taste and a touch of bubble gum flavour. The finish is sweet and has ripe pear notes.

Overall: When you sip Opre’s Perry you are not quite certain, whether you are drinking a pear juice or a perry. It’s very sweet with dominating flavours typical for pear juice. However, some flavours such as of vinegar or light bitterness remind you that it is actually a perry that you are drinking. Opera’s Perry is a pleasant and pretty decent summer beverage for those having a sweet tooth. To me, this perry was way too sweet. But again, if you don’t mind the sweetness Opre’s Perry can be your thing. 4/6 

Availability: widely available across Slovakia and in restaurants, bars, cafes in the Czech Republic, Austria and Estonia. Online from Drinkshop, Since recently available through Ciderlab.nl in the Netherlands.

Price: had 0.2L at Slavnost Cideru 2017 at 25 CZK (1 EUR)

Slavnost Cideru 2017: visit recap

Beautiful architecture, great food or breathtaking views are not only reasons to visit Prague. Since 2016 there is one more reason called Slavnost Cideru, which means Cider Festival or Cider Feast in Czech. Cider festivals are still rare in Central and Eastern Europe so when I saw Prague on a list of cider festivals compiled by Cider Guide-Eric West, I knew I had to take part in it. This years’ event took place on June 16-18 2017.

LOCATION

Slavnost Cideru is situated in the heart of Prague at Smíchovská Náplavka, on the bank of the Vltava’s river. The location was absolutely perfect as you could sit on a wooden bench, enjoy the view and sip your cider in the sunshine. img_6958TICKETS

To enter the festival you had to purchase a ticket at 50 CZK (1.90 EUR), if bought at the entrance. The ticket was valid for the all three festival days. In addition, there was a 2-for-1 offer at selected cider spots in Prague and online through Cool Ticket app, if festival tickets were bought in advance. Unfortunately, the app seems to work only in the Czech Republic as I downloaded the app but couldn’t purchase the tickets. However, I liked the idea of discounted ticket prices when bought in advance as it made you visit a shop or a bar selling cider, and take advantage of this visit by purchasing cider. I bought my 2-for-1 tickets in the InCider Bar, a cider bar in Prague one day before Slavnost Cideru.

I really liked the idea that at the entrance everyone has received a brochure with a short introduction about participating cider makers.

50 CZK (1.90 EUR) is not much. But, I must make a comment here that at exactly the same time, but on the other side of the Vltava’s river, a craft beer festival was running and there was no entrance fee as such. However, if I’m not wrong you had to purchase a festival glass in order to buy beer there at all.


CIDER MAKERS

This year’s event hosted more cider makers than last year so you can see that the Czech cider scene is really blooming. Visitors were able to try a range of different ciders, mainly from Czech Republic and Slovakia. Hundreds of cider lovers could sample ciders from Opre’ Cider, Cider Magnetic Apple, Tatuv Sad, Sigelsberg, Carboy Cidre, A.K. Cider, Cider Bohemia, Cidre 99, Vinarstvi Mühlberger, Royal Dog Cider, Redbrook, Joker Cider, Divoké jablko, Kastler, Sigr z Jabka or Martin’s Cider. Additionally, you could purchase bottled F.H. Prager (perry) and BB Cidre or F.H. Prager (cider) and Rychnovsky on draught at Opily Jabko’s booth, an online cider shop, whereas InCider Bar had Pan Jablicko and Johannes Cyder on draught and bottled Cidre Kliment. I basically felt like in the largest Prague’s cider bar.
For those, who wanted to try cider from other countries than the Czech Republic and Slovakia, English cider, French cider or Spanish sidra from, respectively Aspall, Dunkertons, Louis Raison, Val de Rance, El Gaitero and The Good Cider were available.To my surprise, also commercial brands such as Strongbow, Somersby, Rekorderlig or local Kingswood were present. I get it, every festival needs a sponsor.

Drinkers could sip also other beverages than cider such as Czech beer, whisky from Tullamore Dew matured in cider casks. There was also a bar serving other alcoholic beverages. You could even get to try a freshly pressed apple juice at InCider Bar’s stand.BEST FESTIVAL’S CIDER

Cider drinkers could vote online for the best cider of the festival. To my surprise, it was Joker Cider that was voted the best cider of Slavnost Cideru 2017. I will try to explain, why I find this result surprising in my next blog post. So stay tuned.

Picture below is courtesy of Slavnost Cideru.

Here are my personal favorite ciders from Slavnost Cideru 2017:

A.K.Cider: Sweet Strong followed by Jadrnicka. Both naturally tasting and really delicious. In addition, their Medium-Sweet was my favourite cider at Slavnost Cideru 2016.   

Divoke Jablko: Demi-Sec followed by Brut. Brut had a light watery taste, whereas Demi-Sec tasted slightly sweeter, which rounded up the taste. I haven’t tried their Barrel Aged cider yet.

Sigr z Jabka: Polosuchy. I have reviewed this cider here. It’s strange that they disappeared on Sunday, which was the last day of the festival.

In general, most of the ciders that I tried tasted rather average, some of them even terrible. Since there were more cider makers than last year I expected also proportionally more decent cider. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Perhaps next year’s event will be better in terms of quality and taste of cider.

FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT

Every festival includes musical entertainment and food for purchase. Kaiser Franz, Mikro Farma, Angelato and many others served up burgers, cider steaks, hot dogs, ice cream and other goodies.

In terms of music, there was a DJ playing some club/house music. On the other side of the river, where the craft beer festival simultaneously was running, I saw that they build a stage and bands were performing. I’d prefer a live band performance to a DJ playing. I just think that listening to a band is more fun than listening to club music. In addition, bands create better cider drinking atmosphere.

Besides the cider drinking, you could get creative by painting your own brown glass cider bottle. It also kept the kids busy. Also, you could take a picture in a sort of wooden frame and tag yourself on social media. I found this idea really cool!

Overall, I think the organizers took good care of the food and entertainment part. There were no very long queues to get the food. Also, everyone could find something that would satisfy hers/his taste buds.

FINAL REMARKS

Usually, when I attend a festival there are talks done about cider making, introduction to cider processes for beginners or current trends in the cider scene. This part was missing here. Even though I don’t speak Czech I think it could be interesting for other participants to learn how cider is made and what a challenge it is to make cider in this part of Europe. Big applause for InCider Bar as they at least presented how to press apple juice using apple press.

Furthermore, you could only drink cider from disposable plastic glasses. Don’t know how about you, but drinking anything from a plastic glass is a no-go for me. Especially, cider. Not to mention how it impacts the environment. I asked Vašek from InCider Bar about the reason for pouring cider into a plastic glass. Apparently, according to Czech Regulations, your booth has to be equipped with water supply for cleaning of glasses if you want to use glasses made of glass. Since it was not feasible to arrange for water supply, only disposable plastic glasses were allowed. Somehow the craft beer festival on the other side of the Vltava’s river has solved this problem. If there are financial reasons behind it, then perhaps it would be an idea for the next year to get an extra funding from the Government to reduce the plastic caps litter and use glass instead? An environmental friendly festival is also a way of promoting the event and getting sponsors on board.

What I found surprising, compared to other festivals I attended, is that the vast majority of cider makers, with an exception of Tatuv Sad and Redbrook, didn’t sell any T-shirts, glasses or other stuff. Tatuv Sad/Redbrook were the only cider makers offering such merchandise products. Why do I think it’s important? Firstly, it promotes cider culture and makes your brand recognisable. Secondly, it is an extra money for the company that can be used to invest in the production process, marketing, etc. T-Shirts or cider glasses don’t have an expiry date! If you don’t sell everything at this event there will be another picnic, brunch or food festival, hence, another occasion to sell it. I strongly encourage to consider this. As for now only Tatuv Sad/Redbrook understand the importance of brand promotion.

As for Tatuv Sad’s cider glass, I found the design really nice! The only reason why I didn’t buy it is that the glass didn’t have a volume marking. Meaning, I wouldn’t be able to bring it to another event as nobody would know how much cider to pour in.img_6966SUMMARY

Summarizing, Slavnost Cideru 2017 was an unforgettable experience and a great cider festival. I’ve sampled a number of delicious ciders in a very friendly atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. I have learned a lot about Czech cider as well. Also, Slavnost Cideru gave me an opportunity to meet cider makers and discuss cider with other cider aficionados like me. I’m looking forward to next year’s edition!

OVY Perrysuade

All I was able to find about Polskiego Cydru Fabryki, the company behind OVY Perrysuade, is that they are based near Warsaw close to the Kampinoski National Park and that they were established only in 2016.Company: Polskiego Cydru Fabryki
Place of Origin: Klaudyn, Masovia, Poland
Pears: unknown
Sweetness as per label: Semi-sweet
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a light hazy very pale straw. Carbonation is artificial. Some sediment in the bottle although this perry is supposed to be filtered as per information on the label.

Aroma/Nose: I can definitely smell pears and smoked cheese. There is also some sweetness on the nose along with floral notes.

Taste: It starts very sweet with no perceivable acidity, bitterness or funk. Notes of smoked cheese, some kind of salty flavour and sulphuric note. The aftertaste is just terrible and after taking two or three sips I was not able to continue drinking this perry.

Overall: After three sips the rest of the bottle landed in the sink. I’m sorry, but this perry is undrinkable. Even K cider or Heineken’s Apple Bandit tasted better. I’ve been thinking, whether I should publish this post at all. But, in the end, I came to the conclusion, that both good and bad reviews make you wanna try something out to make your own opinion. Moreover, perhaps this review can serve as a stimulus to the company behind it to improve the taste of this perry.  0.5/6

Availability: I would love to tell you but I was not able to find any shop that stores the Perrysuade.

Price: shared by a friend, who attended Warsaw Beer Festival 2017. (For the record, my friend didn’t enjoy the Persuade as well).