Happy May! Welcome to the second year of Very Perry May! We’ll see how many perries I can get my paws on to review this month. Last year, I reviewed three perries a week for five weeks. Some of these were not purely perries according to some definitions because they contained apples, quince, or other fruit elements. All were based on pears, and thus had things to teach me.
Here’s the quickest possible review of last year’s series.
Week 1 featuring Aeppeltreow, Cidrerie du Vulcain, and Crispin : http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-1-aeppeltreow.html
Week 2 featuring Woodchuck, Dunkertons, and Misson Trail:
Week 3 Featuring Wyders, Eve's Cidery, and Magner's: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt3-eves-cidery-wyders.html
Week 4 featuring Argus, Viuda De Angelon, Cidrerie Daufresne: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-4-argus-viuda-de.html
Week 5 featuring E. Z. Orchards, Original Sin, and Blake's : http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-5-e-z-orchards.html
Since the end of last May, I’ve been saving perries. Now I’m ready to continue this education. I know now to expect some possibility of residual sweetness, a huge variety in tannin level, and a higher than average chance of volatile acidity. These aren’t assurances, but they are possiblities more likely for perry than cider. Alrighty, enough preparation, let’s try some.
I want to start out with something wildly non-traditional by Greenwood Cider. This small cidery and meadery is based out of Seattle, Washington. I love how the company introduces itself on the very minimal website.
“We make cider the hard way. We source apples from unique, wild, and abandoned orchards, and wild-harvest seasonal ingredients including Cascade huckleberries and cedar tips from the bountiful forests of the Pacific Northwest. Our ciders are aged as long as necessary to produce the finest flavor possible. The result is a line of delicious dry ciders brimming with authentic taste and regional character.”
See for yourself at: http://www.greenwoodcider.com/
Or visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/greenwoodcider/
Today, I’m sharing a review of the Black Currant Asian Pear. I was able to find an official description which reads, “Chojuro and Misharasu asian pears are blended with dessert apples, then steeped with just enough black currants to give this cider a vibrant tartness and violet hue. Semi-dry and sharp, with currant fruitiness upfront and lingering notes of unripe melon.” 5.9%ABV
Appearance: hazy, deep blackberry color, few bubbles
This show only a few bubbles but it has glorious color. I do love deeply tinted ciders and this is no exception. The color is a dark red purple like fresh blackberry juice. Thought its dark the color is hazy.
Aromas: dried roses, Asian pear, grass, brown sugar.
Wow! What a range of smells. Though none of them are astoundingly potent, I smell dried roses, green grass, and brown sugar in this perry. When I hold right up to my nose, I can get some Asian pear notes as well.
I’d call this cider on the sweeter end of semi-dry, but mos of what’s interesting about it comes from other flavors.
Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, citrus,
I like this cider’s pleasant farmy-ness. It isn’t a fully clean fermentation, but none of the unexpected notes are strong or unpleasant. What’s very strong is the acidity of this cider! That high level of acid tartness, appears with some cirtusy blood orange notes.
Because of the black currants, this beverage has medium-low tannins, but some tannins are present. Tannins aren’t that often apparent in a cider or perry from this region. Even the description of the beverages describes the apples used as dessert apples.
The currant flavors are the primary warmth and body in this otherwise light and zesty drink. I particularly like how it leaves a lingering tree bark bitterness as part of the finish. It doesn’t offer everything but what is there is balanced and complex.
Angry Orchard Pear
Everyone who knows this blog knows I’ve reviewed a fair number of Angry Orchard ciders; I’ll go back and plug several previous reviews of Angry Orchard ciders but not all because there are too many to link back to all of them. Please consider these helpful context for today’s review:
The most relevant is probably Angry Orchard’s Knotty Pear is a blend pears and apples: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/06/cider-review-angry-orchards-knotty-pear.html
Angry Orchard has generate a lot of excitement recently for their Rose cider. Here’s my review: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-angry-orchard-rose-and.html
Probably the most interesting thing I’ve reviewed from them in a long while is the Walden Hollow from the Research and Development facility:
I appreciate that the Stone Dry is a consistent drier cider from their lineup: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/10/cider-review-angry-orchard-stone-dry.html
And last spring, I reviewed their Spiced Apple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/03/cider-review-angry-orchards-spiced-apple.html
As always, you can find out tons more at Angry Orchard's website: http://www.angryorchard.com/
But today I want to talk about Angry Orchard Pear
Let’s start with the official description, “Angry Orchard Pear Cider is delicately crafted to highlight the mellow sweetness of pears. Using apples and pears grown in the US, this hard cider blends ripe pear taste with crisp apple notes for a well-rounded and smooth drink.” 5% ABV.
And the cool thing is that the Angry Orchard website lists apples and pears used in this blend: Golden Delicious, Red Delcious, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Bosc, Bartlett, and D’anjou. Even when a cidery is using dessert varieties, I love knowing what is going into my drink.
Appearance: warm apricot, brilliant, no bubble
This apple pear blend looks totally brilliant in the glass with some nice deep apricot color. I saw no bubbles.
Aroma: intense, ripe pear, candy and dust
Wow! This has lots of aroma! I could smell it very clearly as soon as I started pouring from the bottle into a glass. And yes, I do recommend this. There’s very little way to smell anything out of those tiny necked bottles. The Pear also smells like candy powder at the bottom of the package, stone dust, but most of all like fresh ripe pears. I get a strong salivary reaction when I smell this.
Unlike many Angry Orchard beverages, I’d call the Pear semi-sweet. Perhaps that's my expectations of perry showing through though?
Flavors and drinking experience: mouthfeel, balance, bubbles, fruit
This has lots of pear and pom fruit flavor. It doesn’t taste only like unfermented fruit though. There’s also an element of stone and dust that reminds me of a cool rocky path surrounded by greenery. The level of acidity is medium, as is the level of bubble.
This is a good entry-level drink for someone who wants to begin their exploration of pear ciders and perry. It is balanced and approachable. I do like the thicker mouthfeel. Pears are really good at creating delightful mouthfeel.
I had mine with a small flatbread pizza and weekend work. It was relaxing and enjoyable.