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)

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Joker Cider

If you follow my blog you might have read my last post about Slavnost Cideru 2017. I promised there to review the best cider of this cider festival next. The winner of the online voting for the best cider of Slavnost cideru 2017 is Joker Cider from the Czech Republic. Not only it won the festival, Joker Cider has received the majority of votes, leaving craft cider makers far behind. Not sure how to comment on this, as Joker cider is made from apple and pear juice concentrate. Inspired by modern cider in the UK,  but made from Czech apples and pears fermented with a selected white wine yeast strain with no funk typical for French cidre. This is what you can find on their website. Scroll down for my tasting notes and overall impression.

Picture below is courtesy of @SlavnostCideru.Company: Joker Cider
Place of Origin: Kostelec nah Orlicí, Czech Republic
Apples & pears: Czech apple varieties from concentrate
Sweetness as per label: semi-sweet
ABV: 5%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with no head. Lightly carbonated.

Aroma/Nose: smells of regular apple and pear juice with a hint typical for apple juice concentrate. This is all I am getting here.

Taste: Although they claim it’s semi-sweet, it starts very sweet, with a flavour typical for apple juice concentrate. The level of acidity is very low, which makes this cider tasting overly sweet. Most probably old apple varieties were used as there is a gentle astringency in the aftertaste along with apple and pear juice concentrate flavour. That’s it.

Overall: For my palate, Joker Cider tastes absolutely horrible. It’s a sickly sweet tasting industrial cider with flavours of apple & pear juice and terrible notes typical for apple and pear juice from concentrate. I’ve been really giving it some thought, why the majority of visitors of Slavnost Cideru 2017 could have found the Joker Cider most appealing. I see two possible explanations here. The first explanation is that the Joker Cider fits in a trend created by mass-market brands such as Somersby or Rekorderlig as the Joker Cider tastes sweet and appley with no funky flavours. Perhaps consumers look for products resembling what they already tried before. Furthermore, Joker Cider is made locally in the Czech Republic and doesn’t taste as watery, so could be considered as a local alternative to the Scandinavian mass-market brands. The second explanation is that online voting systems are often not reliable as they can be artificially manipulated. Those extremely large voting counts look slightly suspicious. Don’t you think? Anyway, if you are looking for real cider, you will not find it in a bottle of Joker Cider. 1/6 

Availability: many bars and restaurants in Prague, Brno, Liberec and other large cities in The Czech Republic.

Price: sampled at Slavnost Cideru 2017, 0.2L (25CZK =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!

Sigr z Jabka Polosuchy

Sigr z Jabka Polosuchy is one of the ciders that I sampled during Slavnost Cideru 2017, a Cider Festival held in Prague. I must say that Sigr was one of a few ciders I really enjoyed at this event. I wanted to have their cider again on Sunday (the last day of the festival), but they have already left leaving me with plenty of questions about them and their cider. Therefore, all I was able to find about them is that Sigr was founded only in 2016 in Jablonec nad Nisou, The Czech Republic.

Company: Sigr z jabka
Place of Origin: Jablonec nad Nisou, The Czech Republic
Apples: unknown
Sweetness as per label: semi-dry
ABV: 6%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with no head. Lightly carbonated.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose gentle vinegary flavour with funky notes of barnyard, leather and beeswax. Also, some red apples and fermented apples.

Taste: it starts slightly sweet with low to medium acetic-acidity and a solvent-like taste. On the mid-palate fermented apples with both green and red apples. Also, notes of barnyard, beeswax and leather perceivable. The finish is dry with gentle astringent and slightly bitter notes.

Overall: Sigr z Jabka polosuchy is a very drinkable and decent cider. It’s complex, only slightly sweet and despite funky and solvent-like flavours very smooth. Hence, it should appeal to almost everyone. As mentioned earlier, one of my favourites at the festival. My friend, who I shared Sigr with, was also delighted. Definitely worth a purchase! On a side note, I hope that I don’t have to wait another year for the next edition of Slavnost Cideru to drink Sigr again. 4.5/6 

Availability: online from Opily jabko. Every now and then available at InCider Bar in Prague. Also in La Kavarna and Q Burger in Jablonec nad Nisou.

Price: had it at Slavnost Cideru 2017, a cider festival in Prague (0.2L at 25 CZK – 1 EUR)