Batlow Cider have a couple of tasty little ciders out at the moment. So recently, at the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular, I made a beeline over to the Batlow stand. Out of tap number 3 with a new cider. The Batlow OPA, for those of you playing along at home, it’s not just a terrible play on the IPA, the juggernaut sweeping across craft beer world. In fact, it stands for Oaked Pear & Apple. The guys gave a midi of the OPA. “Worthy of closer inspection”, I said.

Rich Coombes of Batlow Cider gave me a bottle of the OPA to take home to sample.  In the interests of full disclosure as soon as I got home I dropped that big 500ml bottle. You have never seen a bigger cider explosion all over the kitchen floor. I swear a month later I’m still finding shards of brown glass. Luckily my local pub had a bottle, a single bottle, apparently it has been selling rather quickly. I had to pounce on it.

Batlow OPA side label

Presumably apart from magnets that repelled the first bottle away from my hand, you’ll want to be knowing what goes into the Batlow OPA. 70% of this Batlow Cider is apple juice from the Batlow region. It features all the classic eating apples you’d expect to see in any good Australian green grocer. Namely Royal Gala, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Fuji and the Red Delicious. The pears that make up the other 30% are sourced from all around New South Wales and south of the border in Victoria.

The “O” in OPA of course stands for Oak. The team at Batlow managed to source a pair of large oak barrels from a winery near Canberra. The apple and pear juice spends all of the production time inside these oak barrels. The cider-in-waiting and the wooden walls of the barrel interact leaving oaky tannins in the OPA. As the barrels are second-hand the oak may have mellowed a little, but there is only one way to find out.

The Nose

Not a lot to say. There isn’t much going on. You can just pick up the scent of the pears. I was hoping for a little more oak.

The Taste

Ok there is the oak, and its properly woody.

Batlow OPA is pretty dry, only a little sweetness is provided with pear juice.  The back-end is long and lingering with plenty of green apples, most likely Granny Smiths. The real story here is marriage between the oak and the dry apple. The oak gives a nice creamy mouth feel and a few tannins, while the green apple cuts any trace of sticky pear juice.

With just over a mouthful left in my pint, it falls off the table. Seriously is why does the OPA keep running away from me?

Final Thoughts on the Batlow OPA

What the OPA lacks in the scent it more that makes up for it in the taste. I could easily settle into 2 or 3 of these.  It does what it says on the bottle. Strong Oaky tannins, some gentle sweetness from the pears, all chased down with some green apple tang. I like this style of cider, it’s well suited to an avro with the boys watching the match. The Batlow OPA is a seriously sessionable cider. If you can hold onto it.

Product Batlow OPA Oaked Pear & Apple
Company Batlow
Sweetness Medium Dry
Alc/Vol  4.8%
Website batlowcider.com.au
Country of Origin Australia
Region Batlow, New South Wales