Friday, July 5, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different...Fox Barrel Pacific Pear

 I got a lovely sampler box from Crispin Ciders a few weeks ago, and I'm making my way through it slowly. It is my first box of free cider for reviewing after all. Tonight though I wanted to try something light and refreshing, cooling if I could get. it. So I decided to pick up one of the perries they sent from Fox Barrel. Fox Barrel calls them pear ciders but makes a point to emphasize that they come completely from pears. In my mind, that makes them perries. I know that perry is not a familiar term in the United States, but I'm a bit of a stickler for words. A mildly alcoholic beverage made from pressed pears is a perry. Anyhow, I'm curious to try one. I've not had more than a sample pour of a perry in quite a few years.

The specific beverage in question is Fox Barrel's Pacific Pear. Here's what Fox Barrel says about their Pacific Pear: "Naturally fermented using 100% pear juice, not from pear juice concentrate or pear-flavored hard apple cider. Filtered cold for extra purity, and smoothed with pear juice. With no added colorants, sugar, sorbate or benzoate preservatives. No added malt, spirit, grape or apple alcohols. Naturally elegant and refreshingly adult with a sparkling clean natural pear finish, and a subtle woody complexity, completed by an intense fresh pear bouquet." The alcohol content is relatively low at 4.5% ABV. It comes in 12oz bottles. You can find out some additional information on their website: http://www.foxbarrel.com. I honestly don't know enough to make any educated guesses about what's coming. Let's find out.

Color and Appearance: brilliant, jasmine or straw

Pours beautifully. In the glass, I was surprised by the level of brilliance. The color is somewhere between Jasmine and Straw. I just learned about the "Shades of Yellow" Wikipedia entry, and it is quite useful for color distinctions. I tend to get a bit fuzzy and associative on my own. While I don't want to abandon that, I also like to check in with real color words regularly.

Aromas: Ripe PEAR, banana, ginger

Oh my gracious! This isn't cider. I suppose it is only natural and good that it smells this much like pears. The smell is emphatically ripe pear with a secondary fruit note of banana and a teensy bite of ginger.

Sweetness: sweet!

The Pacific Pear offers fruity and floral sweetness. It stays light and lively on the tongue. The sweetness is so intrinsic to the pear fruitiness of the cider; I'd not actually ask it to be drier. That said, folks who cannot abide a sweet drink will not find this as enjoy able as I did.

Flavors: pear, candied orange peel, lemon

The foremost flavor cannot be mistaken for anything but pear. The Pacific Pear tastes like pears. I can also note some citrus and almost a ghost of spice but mostly pear and sweet citrus.

Drinking Experience: refreshing, light, easy

This perry is much lighter than many ciders. It is also extremely refreshing. The Pacific Pear suits my goal for a cool beverage. The level of carbonation is understated and delicate.

Lately, New York has been beastly hot. So warm, that taking a cool shower has been the highlight of some days. This drink was completely lovely and appropriate for this hot July night. I'm not going to become a perry person. It just isn't as absolutely appealing and enjoyable and perfect as cider. I'm sorry. But it is delightful for conditions like we've been having. Survive the summer with a cool cool perry, along with the usual cider regimen of course. Whether alone or with friends, just stay cool.

I want to end with a quick shout out to one of my cider friends. Congrats to Patrick of Crafty and The Beast for his new job with Great Shoals Winery! What a great time to love cider.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the shout out. I am new to pear ciders and Perries as well. Great Shoals makes an awesome bosc Bartlett bottle conditioned. I will se3nd you that next time.

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  2. Agreed that hot weather is the best for this perry -- it's been ghastly hot here in Austin, TX this summer, and while I generally enjoy a variety of English ales (Old Peculier, Fuller's ESB, Hobgoblin, Samuel Smith's line, etc.), in the summertime I often just want something more refreshing. Had been partaking of Angry Orchard's Crisp Apple for awhile, but found it a bit too sweet for my palate (23g of sugar!).

    Enter Fox Barrel's Pacific Pear. I agree with most all of your notes, particularly the catch of the slight banana behind the front-loaded pear flavours. This one is striking because it has a fairly sweet taste to it, and yet has only 9g sugar for the entire 12 oz bottle. Comparable sugar levels in a hard cider such as the excellent ACE Perry (has pear flavouring but is an apple cider) result in a much drier drink. For that reason alone I'm probably more of a fan of ACE Perry for regular drinking, but the Fox Barrel is terrific when I feel like being inundated with fresh pear flavour. It is, after all, made purely from pear juice as you noted.

    Quite tasty, and I'll definitely be getting it again -- but won't overthrow ACE Perry as the go-to.

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