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)!