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!


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