Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Very Perry May: 2 Towns Ciderhouse's Pearadise and Wildcraft Cider Works Hard Cider



Welcome to the last week of this year’s Very Perry May. I hope this continued exploration of perry, pear cider, and pear blends has been as fun to read as it has been to taste. I have one last pear blend and a cider to share this week, both of which come from Oregon. Also, I want to point folks once again to the GLINTCAP page to learn the full medal results of this year’s competition. 

Let’s start with the Pearadise by 2 Towns Ciderhouse out of Oregon.

I’ve written about a fair number of 2 Towns ciders and shared some background in these prior entries. Just to give a quick bit of background. 2 Towns Ciderhouse is based in Corvallis Oregon since 2010. Now they have a tap room and two production facilities. It is Oregon’s largest craft cider outfit. They make several differnt lines of ciders including seasonals, limited releases, collaborations, their flagship ciders and a line called traditions.

Some of my previous 2 Towns Ciderhouse reviews include the following:





Find out more online: https://2townsciderhouse.com/


Here’s the Pearadise’s Official description: 

Imperial Getaway. Fruity and complex, Pearadise is found in this distinctly Northwest libation. Fresh-pressed pears are fermented together with local apples, then finished by blending in a touch of white wine, resulting in a sophisticated imperial style with plenty of panache. 8.6% ABV, which explains the Imperial tagline.

On the same page it say, “Made with D’Anjou pears and Muscat grapes.”

Thank you for the fruit detail. That’s always something I appreciate. Also, this cider is a revamp of a 2012 limited edition cider, tweaked up the aromas and structure. This bottle was shared with me as a review sample.


Appearance: brilliant, deep straw, some bubble

This cider looks very appealing. I appreciate its brilliance and deep color. The color would most often be called straw but its deep and a hint warmer than some ciders that receive the term.

Aromas: ripe apples, pears, grapes, all dusted in sugar

Oh la la! These aromas are striking and different. I can smell sugar-dusted fruits, primarily ripe red apples, but also pears and grapes. I also get the impression of tropical fruits. There’s also a creamy note going on in the Pearadise. I get some salivary response for certain to all this excitement.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

This is one sweet and fruity cider.

Flavors and drinking experience: fruity, sweet, boozy

This is definitely influence by the pear juice in flavor, but it feels much more tropical than that. I can taste pineapple and citrus as well. The fruity notes play together nicely in concert. The initial hit of flavor is distinctly sweet but it shows some maturation as the flavor builds and develops. There’s even the briefest glimpse of astringency in the mid-palate, but it vanishes quickly. 

What I do notice is that the booziness impacts the mouthfeel and the finish. It feels a little hot. I enjoy this cider’s tartness, even as sweetness eventually dominates. This is a complex beverage with a lot going on. I had mine with a very summery plate of corn, baked beans, and new potatoes. It worked well with those simple foods because this beverage has enough flare on its own!


Wildcraft Cider Works Hard Cider

Now for a cider from Oregon: Wildcraft Ciderworks Hard Cider. This is my first writing about anything by Wildcraft Ciderworks. They are based in Eugene, Oregon and have this to say about themselves, 

At WildCraft Cider Works, we pride ourselves on developing innovative, artisanal dry ciders inspired by traditional and wild methodology. We insist on whole fruit and botanicals grown in Oregon to create pure ciders without artificial flavorings, sulfites or added sweeteners. WildCraft cider is uniquely dry cider unpasteurized & bottle conditioned. We consider ourselves stewards of the outdoors and always act consciously to ensure that our ingredients are regional.

These concepts of local fruit, wild fermentation, minimal additives is a distinct style of low-intervention cidermaking. Looking at the website makes me very curious to try the other styles the cidery makes, including several dry fruit-blended ciders. I got this bottle entirely by chance in the Portland, Oregon airport on my last trip there.  

I’m starting with the flagship hard cider. Here’s its official description

Hard Cider6.9%  ABV  |  500mlOur flagship Dry Cider, made entirely from Oregon apples is locally sourced and pressed. This is a classic dry session cider with enough complexity to enjoy year round, all the time. Unpasteurized & bottle conditioned.


Appearance: Hazy, lemon curd, bubbly

This cider looks hazy and very bubbly in the glass. The color reminds me of lemon curd.

Aromas: yeasty, lemon, hay, phenolic

The cider smells like good clean bakery yeast in a good way. I surmised that it might have been fermented with a nonstandard yeast based on the aroma before reading about the cider. Other aroma notes include lemon and hay. Something about it also smells phenolic and a bit cottony.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

Whoa. Yeah. This is a dry cider

Flavors and drinking experience: lemon, tannic, grapefruit, high acid

Lots of what came through in the aromas of this cider remain present in its flavors also. This dry cider tastes very lemony and somewhat phenolic. There’s a tiny sweet note that appaers and then disappears almost instantly. The tannins, astringency, and bubbles all conspire to rise fast and cancel out the sweetness.They then flourish brightly before a relatively clean finish.

What a fascinating cider! I found it super refreshing. This cider tastes best in big sips. I love that nice grapefruit-peel flavor that causes such salivary action. Some of the wild fermentation comes across in grainy notes flavor notes. Overall this cider is fun and super tart and dry. I had mine with a version of Cobb Salad (radishes and veggie bacon, yay!) and homemade multi-grain bread. That was utterly fantastic. 


The last thing I’d like to share today is the full GLINTCAP results. There are so many ciders here I’ve never tried! And so much sounds delicious. This would be a great list to shop from, just find your favorite style and start tracking down the golds (and silvers and bronzes)!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Very Perry May: Tieton Cider Works Sparkling Perry, Stem Ciders Perry and GlINTCAP Best in Class

I’m back from GLINTCAP, and I’m still not tired of cider. I guess that means I’m living my best life because I’ve been in cider world hard core for most of last week Now, it’s time for week 3 of Very Perry May and I used my travel and my cellar to have two perries instead of one this week!

I’m starting with Tieton Cider Works Sparkling Perry. I couldn't resist picking this up on my way home from GLINTCAP. I don't see Tieton Cider Works beverages everywhere, but when I do, it's exciting. This company tries so many adventurous styles but also has access to some really good fruit and juice.

Visit Tieton online at https://tietonciderworks.com/

Or keep up with what's happening on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tietonciderworks/

Here are all of my previous Tieton Cider Works reviews.

Yakima Valley Dry Hopped: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/07/cider-review-tieton-ciderworks-yakima.html

Tieton Cider Works Spice Route: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/11/cider-review-tieton-ciderworks-spice.html

Tieton Cider Works Smoked Pumpkin: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/10/cider-review-tieton-ciderworks-smoked.html

The Tieton Cider Works Perry's Official description reads, “Sparkling Perry is a beverage akin to champagne; dry and brilliant. Our Estate Sparkling Perry is made exclusively from traditional Perry pears grown in our Washington orchards. 5.5% ABV.”

What I think is really interesting is that the bottle has a sticker that calls this cider semi-sweet, an the label calls it dry. That might be contributable to the sorbitol that occurs naturally in pears. Because that sugar cannot be fermented, a perry fermented to dryness can still taste more or less sweet.

Appearance: Amber, hazy, few bubbles

First off, I am so sorry I don'thave any pictures of the poured perry! I was distracted by good company. When I poured this perry, I knew it had to include perry pears from the intensity of color. Most perrys are very light straw, to light green, or even translucent. This is decidedly a more rich amber hue with a bit of haze and a few bubbles.

Aromas: Ripe pear, caramel, banana

I can smell the texture and freshness of pear flesh in this cider. Something about the actual granular texture of ripe pears comes across through smell alone. I also get notes of caramel and banana that could hint at some mild, oxidization. All of the aromas present are gentle and in good balance.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

Sorbitol or no, this cider perceives to me (and to others I was tasting with) as semi-sweet. The sweetness does feel very fruity, warm, and natural.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, medium high tannins, nutty

The high acid keeps this semi-sweet perry from pushing into fully sweet territory. As do the medium high tannins. This perry definitely uses real perry pears. It tastes so nutty. The Sparklingly Perry speaks primarily with bright acid bouncing in contrast with friendly brown sugar notes—but without any sort of a burnt sugar flavor.

I am struck with how clean and fruity the finish is while still evoking minerals somehow. I had this with homemade vegetarian Indian food: Aloo Gobi and Palak Paneer. The sweetness and spiciness were perfect together. Wow!

Next Up: Stem Cider Perry

My second perry for the week comes from out west, from Colorado cider and perry maker Stem Ciders. The company sent me this review sample last year, but it didn’t arrive in time for Very Perry May, so I’ve been sitting on these notes for a little while now. The company was started about five years ago, by Eric Foster and Phil Kao. Stem Ciders is based out of Lafayette, Colorado. The company makes a range of ciders from perennially available styles to limited releases and collaborations.

Read plenty more and see some great pictures at: https://stemciders.com

The page I recommend checking out the most is the Philosophy section: https://stemciders.com/philosophy/

My only previous review of a Stem cider is the Pear Apple Cider as part of the #PickCider series: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/06/pickcider-review-stem-ciders-pear-apple.html

Appearance: pale yellow green, brilliant, no bubble

This perry is strikingly brilliant. Many contain a note of haze, but not this perry. The color is a pale yellow green, and it shows no bubbles.

Aromas: pear flesh, bubble gum, mint

Oh, what fresh smells! I think this perry smells tremendously appealing: sweet and juicy like fresh and ripe pear flesh. Other notes include bubblegum and mint. It’s all so fruity and springy. I can also detect the tiniest hint of metallic and dust that lead me to expect high acidity. I find the combination of aromas mouthwatering and powerful. The ntoes keep coming every time I lift the glass.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-dry

This is a mild and friendly semi-dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: bubbly, twiggy, mild, creamy

This cider pours with bubbles. Nice, I wasn’t sure based on its first appearance. I can taste sugar down the middle of my tongue. The primary notes I’m tasting are twiggy and green but not under-ripe. There’s just a bit of tannins—chalky but kinda nice. I think this perry tastes super approachable and good, but not quite as wowsers as it smells. All of the flavors are mild. There’s

a great aura of cream soda or birch beer. It's herbal but not bitter or very astringent. Definitely a keeper.

I had mine with corn on the cob, veggie nuggets, and a very tomato-y salad. Yum.

This last week, I travelled to Grand Rapids with my illustrious partner and co-taster Alex for GLINTCAP! We tasted through 7 rounds, including 2 Best in Class rounds. It was wonderful inspiring work. We also go to see some awesome cider makers, cellar hands, wine sellers, fellow writers, and cider nerds of all ilks. I love Grand Rapids, and I love GLINTCAP. I feel like I learn things every year from this crazy grueling celebration of cider. Many thanks to Eric West and all the volunteers who make this fantastic event happen.

And I’d like to send all interested parties (that means everyone!) over to the GLINTCAP site to get a peek at the Best in Class Awards. Congratulations to all of those winners!

http://glintcap.org/

I look forward to seeing the full results which should be up before the end of May!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Very Perry May: Review of Woodchuck’s Pear Ginger, Sundstrom Cider's Liminal and Countdown to GLINTCAP


This week, I exist as a ball of anticipation. That’s entirely due to GLINTCAP coming up soon. For anyone who doesn’t know, GLINTCAP is the world’s largest cider and perry competition. And it’s the direct inspiration for my starting Very Perry May so that I could up my knowledge of perries and pear ciders. That tradition continues this week with a ginger pear cider and a heritage cider from the Hudson Valley region of NY state.

Starting with Woodchuck’s Ginger Pear means returning to the company I have reviewed as much as any in the blog’s history. Here are a few favorites.

I want to point everyone to my own personal heartbreak, the discontinued nature of their June and Juice: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/10/cid10. er-review-woodchucks-june-and-juice.html

And the Local Nectar: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/07/cider-review-woodchucks-local-nectar.html

I also liked their pepper blended Hot Cha Cha Cha: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/03/cider-review-woodchucks-hot-cha-cha-cha.html

The start of the Gumption line: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/07/cider-review-woodchucks-gumption.html

In a super adventurous move, the Cellar Series Chocolate: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/06/cider-review-woodchuck-cellar-series.html

An earlier outdoor focused limited release, the Daychaser: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/05/cider-review-woodchucks-day-chaser.html

For fans of smoked ciders, this was a fun one, the Cellar Series Smoked Apple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/12/cider-review-woodchuck-cellar-series.html

And if you we do have any more unseasonably cold weather, the Barrel Select: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/01/cider-review-woodchucks-private-reserve.html

I visited them back in August 2016: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-3.html

As always, you can find out plenty online at the Woodchuck site: http://www.woodchuck.com/

This Launch of a new series in 2018 called the Tank Series, dedicated to innovation in cider making. This seems like an evolution of some of their previous limited-edition lines, but this one is focusing on cans. I’m reviewing a sample sent to me of the Pear Ginger.

Here’s how Woodchuck describes this one, “Pear Ginger is a cider that was released briefly in select markets in 2017 and won Gold at the World Cider Championships. Pear Ginger infuses both pear and ginger for a cider that is light and refreshing. Pear Ginger is the first of three new Tank Series available in 2018” 5% ABV. On their visual representation of dryness to sweetness this falls between semi-dry and semi-sweet. This is a cider base with pear and ginger added.

This cider is only available canned, because Woodchuck wants to aim this one for outdoor consumption. Cans do make that much easier.

This does seem very similar to their Summer Time Pear Ginger Cider from last year, which I reviewed here: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-2-woodchuck.html

Appearance: brilliant, straw, some bubbles

This pear cider has no haze and just a few bubbles. The color is pale straw.

Aroma: intense, mellow ginger, cola

Interesting! I think this smells like a ginger color or a tropical fruit soda. The intensity of aroma is real, but the aroma that appears in bountiful quality is mellow ginger, fruity, and just a hint spicy. Hence the seeming contradiction of intense and mellow.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet

I found it semi-sweet but not nearly as sweet as some Woodchuck options.

Flavors and drinking experience: Tart, super bubbly, fruity, tropical, gingery

What a fun cider! The Ginger Pear works well in a can, but I got even more out of it once I poured mine into a glass. I like aromas and big flavors too much to keep my perries or my ciders contained all the time!

The Pear Ginger tastes tart, astringent, bitter, and stony. It surprised me. But that’s not the whole picture. This pear cider offers up lots of extremely bright fruit that blooms and blooms. I noticed very high acid but not in an unpleasant way. The fruity and tropical flavors include pineapple, coconut, and a really nice floral undertone.

In terms of texture, there are not really any tannins. On the other hand, the Pear Ginger has extremely powerful bubbles. It’s not very pear or apple like but very gingery! It’s a fun one to have with mild cheesy and bready accompaniments. I liked it with a very fresh goat cheese and freshly baked bread.


Sundstrom Cider's Liminal


The second half of this review is my first review of anything by Sundstrom Cider. This Hudson Valley cider dates its first batch to late 2013. That was when I first had an abbreviated email exchange with founder Leif Sundstrom just after I left New York City for Ithaca.

Sundstrom focuses on heritage, crabs, wild, and cider varieties of apple, but most of all on making truly delicious and thoughtful ciders through choosing the right blend of apples for each bottling. Leif has great ambitions for his ciders and for Hudson Valley ciders. I picked up this bottle of Liminal from The Cellar D’Or in Ithaca (http://www.thecellardor.com/
) because their staff knows my taste in ciders amazingly. I took one look at the list of apples and I had to try a bottle of the Liminal. 



You can fine out more about them where I did in this great article: http://www.fishandgamequarterly.com/08-cider/

Or watch what they are up to on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sundstromcider/?hl=en

Here’s a description I found online for the Liminal, “Dry New York Cider. A blend of 10 different types of apple, made in the traditional method and using native yeasts. Only 876 bottles made! Liminal 9.8% ABV Hudson Valley” Check the label picture above for the full apple list.  Note also the wild fermentation and high ABV. This is really something out of the ordinary.


I asked Leif about availability, and this is what he had to say, "There are various retailers and restaurants in NYC and Brooklyn that still have the ciders. But I’ve been sold out since December."  He did suggest that Flatiron Wines in Manhattan would be a place to try. 


Appearance: bright gilt, active bubbles, transparent

The Liminal looks lovely in the glass. It’s transparent and deeply hued with gilt. The bubbles are active and fun to watch. It did get less transparent with each glass poured, which is not a surprise for a non-disgorged cider.

Aromas: Dusty, lemon, ginger

I know when I saw ginger in this post, the association will be with actual ginger, but this is more like a suggestion of ginger to the aroma along side many smells I associate with high tannin and high acid ciders: dust, stones, and tart lemon.

Sweetness/dryness: dry

This is a dry, high acid, cider! No doubt, all delicious.

Flavors and drinking experience: tannins, acid, pomme fruit, quince

Holy wow! This is an intense cider, and I really like it. The acids are high and pointed. It’s sharp and zesty. The aroma elements I noticed of dust and stone do translate into tannic presence. But I don’t want to imply that this cider is only austere. It’s also fruity in a dry and exciting way. I got piles of fruit aromatics and flavors including, lemon, quince, persimmon, and again that spicy presence of ginger.

This is a very exciting cider that happens to use some of my favorite apples, including Wickson Crab and Northern Spy. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I enjoyed my cider with picnic meal of strawberries, black berries, hard cheeses, hummus and hearty wheat crackers. It balanced well with these different flavors and textures, all in all, a totally delightful cider!


And now, I'm even closer to GLINTCAP than I was at the start of this post!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Very Perry May: Aeppeltreow's Orchard Oriole Perry and Big Fish Cider Co.'s Church Hill Blush


Welcome back to Very Perry May! This week, I want to share my thoughts on a more traditional perry, but also sample something else springy to stretch out my perry stores to last the rest of the month. It’s a beautiful time of the year right now, and I am so thrilled to spend it on this avenue of the cider world. 

This week’s perry is from Aeppeltreow winery and distillery out of Wisconsin. This small producer is one of my favorites because each beverage truly is its own beast, made from committedly interesting fruit choices and fermented with care. I received this bottle as a review sample after the cider maker saw last year’s Very Perry May.

Visit the website at: http://aeppeltreow.com/

Here are my previous review of Aeppeltreow ciders:

Most relevant is last year’s review of the Sparkling Perry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-1-aeppeltreow.html

Similarly sparkly, I do love the Appley Brut: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/09/cider-review-appeltreow-winerys-appley.html

My first review of anything by Aeppeltreow was the Barnswallow: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/03/cider-review-appeltreow-barnswallow.html

And my all time favorite of the bunch thus far, the Kinglet Bitter: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/09/cider-review-appletreow-kinglet-bitter.html

Official description of the Orchard Oriole Perry, “English traditional perry pears. Complex and tannic. Fermented to highlight cultivars and terroir. Subtle pear, different from Bartlett and not-so-subtle tannins, tart, slightly bubbly." 5.5% ABV

And some background,
Oriole Perry is our proud ‘estate’ perry.  It’s grown at Brightonwoods, within sight of the Winery.   It’s more subtle and complex than the Sparkling Perry- being fermented from 100% bitter perry pears.  We ferment it with a Sangiovese yeast that we think really brings out the tannin characters of the perry-specific cultivars.  These pears are exceedingly rare in the US, and not easy to grow.  When we get the question ‘Then why use them?’, we pour a glass of Oriole.  These are not mellow, easy-going French ‘butter pears’.  Perry pears think they are Cabernet – and have the tannins to back it up.


Appearance: deep topaz, brilliant, some bubbles

It took me much thinking and gesticulating to even approach this color with words. It’s a lovely tawny somber shade with some fire and clarity. Of course I think of semi-precious stones, and this one does remind me of my birthstone, topaz, in its dark yet brilliant form. I can see bubbles in the glass, and its there’s no hint of haze.

Aromas: Perry pears, tropical fruit, perfume

This perry smells distinctly like perry pears as opposed to dessert pears. Just like cider apples, perry pears are not enjoyable to eat  The aromas are intense and welcoming. I smell ripe tropical fruit, flowers, with a hint of concentrated sweetness. The overall impression is both perfume in its ethereal floral sense and also lush tropical immediacy.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-dry

It’s hard to describe this perry in terms of its sweetness, because it offers so much more. This does remind me of the unfermentable sugars in pear juice.

Flavors and drinking experience: high tannins

The Orchard Oriole Perry tastes immediately of high tannins from these special pears. The high tannins create strong drying action, but with a nice amount of sweetness still. The perry has very immediate pear flavor, but not not like Bartlett pears. The Orchard Oriole perry tastes fresh, with a pleasant high note of sourdough bread.

I’m grateful that the perry has a good amount of sparkle with small bubbles. That combination of mouthfeel features is a neat juxtaposition of cottony or astringent while also being scintillating and exciting. In terms of fruit flavors, there’s more than just pear going including a very round, lychee-ish taste. As I sip more, the tropical acidity lingers. The Orchard Oriole Perry is very beautifully  balanced and delicious to contemplate. Even if with all those tannins, it’s not thirst-quenching as such. 

I love that this perry is playful and enjoyable yet serious. It’s an unambiguous winner.


This is my first review of anything by Big Fish Cider Co., starting with the Church Hill Blush. This bottle is a review sample from Cider Con.

This Virginia cidery won a 2018 Good Food Award, and they’ve cleaned up at GLINTCAP, yet they launched in only 2015. Big Fish Cider Co. is based in Monteray, Virginia, where they have a tasting room. 

Read more about the company here: http://www.bigfishcider.com

The official description gives some nice context. 
Sparkling clear rose colored Medium Sweet cider, featuring locally grown heirloom apples and fermented with locally grown raspberries.  
Other than apples, I know of no other fruit that tops raspberries in the cellars and the hearts of cidermakers.  Church Hill Blush is made with raspberries from a local Highland County farm, Church Hill Produce. The color and the aroma are completely natural. This is a bright, festive drink that is poured for celebrations, big and small. 
The Raspberry comes through on the nose and at the beginning of the palate, with the sprightly apple flavors coming through to the finish. The sparkling character, the brightness of flavor, the beauty of the color, and the amazing aroma of this cider makes it a favorite for celebrations, weddings, anniversaries, and life’s celebrations. 
This cider also can pair well with just about any poultry dish, particularly crispy skin recipes. Also this can pair nicely with fruit salads.

Appearance: rose gold, brilliant

Rose colored ciders are just so lovely. I am not normally a fan of pink shades, but this rosegold is undeniably pretty. As the photo shows, it’s brilliant as well. 

Aromas: fresh raspberry, raspberry leaves, apple

Oooh! Such summery smells! This cider’s aromas has a backbone of apple, but fresh raspberry up front. I also get an almost tea like note of raspberry leaf. Very neat!

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

Though this cider is sweet and fruity, it is complex. 

Flavors and drinking experience: ripe raspberry, high acid, balanced

What’s most important to me in any fruit-blended cider, is the final balance between the added fruit and the cider flavors themselves, I never want to taste just berry or just spice. The Church Hill Blush does an excellent job in that it has a very good balance between apple and raspberry. 

The cider starts with a dark and almost bitter first note, but that quickly gives way to notably sweet mid palate. The flavor of ripe raspberry comes across clearly. I notice both medium sparkle and  medium high acidity, with just a bit of tannin. This cider’s sweetness lingers but doesn't cloy. I am so impressed by this presence of both raspberry and apple. It doesn’t hurt that these two fresh fruits happen to be two of my favorites.

Keep reading for more perries all month!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Very Perry May Review of Greenwood Cider's Black Currant Asian Pear & Angry Orchard Pear



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:

http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-2-woodchuck.html

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.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

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: 

http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/09/cider-review-angry-orchards-walden.html

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.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

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.