Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Very Perry May Pt 5: E. Z. Orchards, Original Sin, and Blake's

Good morning, cider, (or should I say perry?) fans! Are you getting tired of my pear based explorations yet? I'm certainly not. I think that each week I've been covering flavors and styles that I've never tasted before, and this week is no exception. Welcome to the last week of Very Perry May.

E.Z. Orchards Poire

My only previous review of something by E. Z. Orchards is their 2011 Willamette Valley Cidre: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/10/cider-review-e-z-orchards-williamette.html

You can visit the website http://www.ezorchards.com/

Official Description: "EZ Orchards Poire is a blend of Forelle, Comice, and Bosc pears grown in our orchard. The complex structure of this winter pear blend is enhanced by a slow, cold ferment. Semi-dry with a natural effervescent finish. Serve chilled in a stemmed glass, tall cordial, or pilsner glass." 5.9% ABV

Appearance: hazy, candied lemon peel color, lots and lots of bubbles

You can hear it ambiently sizzling in effervescence.

Aroma: cooked fruit, lemon, farmy

The Poire reminds me immediately of French ciders and perries in its farmy yet fruity aromas. The keeving fermentation process can create soe reductive notes in the aromas like fallen leaves, warm wet wood, and farmy scents. This is rather like that whole style.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-dry

Sweet and distinctly like fermented fruit sweetness, nothing artificial, nor like table fruit.

Flavors and drinking experience: leather, cooked fruit, bubbles

The first impression I get from drinking the Poire comes from the fun bubbles that pop, practically bursting into your nose

This perry is very cold and clean tasting, which wasn't necessarily what I was expecting. The flavor has a round bubble-ness; plenty fruity with a little sweetness that quickly gives way and winds up a bit dryer than most perries. I get some tannins and medium low acid the Poire. There's lots of leather and cooked fruit in the taste, and maybe a little oxidation. The flavors themselves owe a lot to the fermentation—you can really taste the process here. Definitely light and low-alcohol. Works nicely in big sips. This perry is the real deal and I absolutely love it, even though usually I'd not go for something sweet.

Original Sin Pear

There's plenty of information on the Original Sine website: http://origsin.com
Here's a list of my preview reviews of Original Sin ciders.

I reviewed their flagship cider in one of Ithaca's most missed bars, the Chapterhouse Pub: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/02/cider-review-original-sin-hard-ciders.html

In the first year of the blog, I got to try a bottle of the Elderberry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/09/cider-review-original-sin-elderberry.html

Official description: "Original Sin Pear Cider was developed in line with the company’s mission to produce traditional cider leaving out artificial flavors and additives. Original Sin Pear is light and refreshing with a clean, dry finish."

This ABV at 4.8% is a bit on the low side. Something to note is that this is a cider backsweetened with pear juice rather than a true perry. The Process and Taste section of the page says,"Two parts pear, one part magic. A Dry cider fermented with champagne yeast"

Appearance: transparent, straw, bubbly

I'd call the Original Sin Pear transparent rather than brilliant. Its easy to see a fair number of bubbles in the glass. The color strikes me as medium straw. If anything this yellow is a bit more emphatic and cool in tone than many.

Aromas: pear, stone, candy

This pear cider smells like rock candy: the sort I could only buy at state park lodges or other special unusual places. It also smells very much like fresh pear, but somehow more intense. Lastly, I do get some dusty stony notes that definitely happen more often with cider than perry.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet to sweet

I'd call this cider sweet, but I think some folks would consider it more a semi-sweet. The quality of the sweetness is very crystalline and straightforward.

Flavors and drinking experience: tropical fruit, pear, pineapple

I found this a nice level of bubble, but one of my co-tasters wanted yet more. Usually that's my refrain, but not this time. The acidity is medium-high but not too sharp or tart.

What really makes the impression for this pear cider is tropical fruit. I can taste pineapple, mango, banana, a very tiki-esque medley of tropical notes. There's also some bright pink bubblegum flavors floating around. 

This pear cider has no tannins, no edge of bitterness, just lots of fun approachable fruit. Its a bit sweet for me, personally, but when I shared with a couple of co-tasters the response was tremendously positive. The pear plus apple combo and the bright tropical flavors elicited many oohs and ahhs! We had the Original Sin Pear with pizza and brainstorming, two of my favorite things.

Blake's Hard Cider Grizzly Pear

I'm finishing up with my review with something a little outside of the box, Blake's Hard Cider's Grizzly Pear; this Michigan pear cider is pear, prickly pear cactus, and elderflower.

You can find out all about the company and their beverages on the website: http://www.blakeshardcider.com

This is my third review of a cider by Blake's, please find my previous pleasant encounters below.

Their El Chavo with pepper and mango: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/11/cider-review-blakes-hard-cider-companys.html

The official description reads, "Our first pear hard cider, Grizzly melds soft notes of pear & prickly pear cactus balanced with a sharp apple finish with a hint of elderflower. No bears were harmed in the making of this product." The ABV is listed online as 5%.

Appearance: hazy, corn kernel yellow, lots of bubbles

Apologies that I don't have a more glamorous photo of this pear cider, but this is how I tasted it. I was lucky enough to be travelling to Louisville and I found out that a Liquor Barn had it on draft, so I stopped by to taste it. The appearance was hazy, corn kernel yellow, lots of visible bubbles.

Aroma: tropical fruit

There wasn't a very strong aroma, but everything I could smell was all about tropical fruits. 

Sweetness/dryness: semi sweet

This is a semi-sweet pear cider and all of the sweetness is very fruity and easy going.

Flavors and drinking experience: Extremely tropical, juicy, medium acid

This pear cider has a lot of unusual tropical fruit flavor; it reminds me of mango, pineapple and banana. The Grizzly bear also reminded me of of beverages with  prickly pear cactus. The other flavor elements I noticed were a strong floral element with a backbone that tasted like peach to me.

Definitely different and fun.