Monday, July 31, 2023

Perry Review: Independent Perry Company's Original Dry

As I write tonight, I’m in my new favorite place. After almost three years, we have a screened in porch again. Not a lot could make me happier on long summer evenings like these. I can sit with a cat, book, cider or meal and enjoy the scents and sounds of my neighborhood without bugs! My very large and independent cat Braeburn can enjoy the outdoors without having to wear a cat harness! What could be more blissful?

I’m sharing my notes on Independent Perry Company’s Original Dry. This is my first ever cider by this perry-maker. The company is based out of Washington and entirely focused on fermenting pears into perry. Here’s some background information quote from the perry company’s website that contextualizes the perry sourcing and processing.

Sourced from orchards in the foothills of the Wenatchee Mountains, Independent crafts modern perries from fresh pressed D’Anjou Pears fermented cold and minimally processed. Using ingredients from local farms and retailers, our aim is to create unique and expressive libations to complement any special occasion.

I purchased and consumed this cider a while ago. I got it as part of my Northwest Cider Club. It's a wonderfully varied cider subscription. More information is available here:

 Because this is no longer a current release by the Independent Perry Co. I wasn’t able to find a lot of information about this perry, but it is described as, “Crisp, clean & citrusy” with a 5.8% ABV. I think the closest of the current lineup would be the Sno Gem Dry, but I haven’t had the pleasure of trying the newer perries.

Here’s how to find out more about the Independent Perry Company; visit the website:

Appearance: hazy, pearly, light pink, loads of bubbles

I was so surprised and delighted by this cider’s color; it’s gently hazy with a pearly pink hue. It’s also very bubbly!

Aromas: pears, minerals, powdered sugar, green apples and bananas

This perry smells like pears, minerals, powdered sugar, green apples and bananas. It’s all a primarily fruity and summery blend of vibrant fresh aromas.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet

The perry tastes semi-sweet, but that can always be deceiving. This is dryer than many modern perries, but I do still perceive some sweetness.  

Flavors and drinking experience: astringent, floral, pear, tart, mildly sharp

Fun! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect based on the super saturated fruity aromas, but this has some tasty and surprising facets. I was most surprised to experience some astringence in this perry. They didn’t come without lots of accompaniment though. The perry tastes  floral, like fresh ripe pear, and still plenty tart. The perry finishes mildly sharp, and the whole experience is just lofted high with many many bubbles. 

And now back to porch relaxing. I do look forward to trying more things by the Independent Perry Company!

Monday, July 24, 2023

Cider Review: Stormalong Cider's Massive Appeal

This morning I woke to the first premonition of Fall. The color of the light leaned grayer and the drizzle felt relaxed and autumnal. After the brief rain, we didn’t get the tropical steam bath feeling that has followed many recent rainstorms. It’s a bittersweet moment, but today it feels like relief as much as anything. Summer’s not done with us yet; it may even be back in full force by afternoon. The variety gives shape to the days and weeks, so I’m grateful. This weekend, it felt like the perfect time to pull out Stormalong’s Massive Appeal.

The kind folks at Stormalong sent this from Massachusetts along with the Berry Perry to me for review in May. I have no shortage of previous reviews of Stormalong’s ciders. Here’s the full list. I give a lot more background on the cidery. 

Berry Perry:

IPC Collaboration with Exhibit A Brewing:

Pearman Quince(my #10 cider of last year):


White Mountain Magic:

Bittersweet Symphonie:

Wicked Little Wickson:


Happy Holidays:

Esopus Spitzenburg:

Ashmead’s Kernel:


Legendary Dry:

Kingston Black:

Light of the Sun:

Mass Appeal:

Boston Heirloom:

Visit Stormalong Cider’s website to learn about the current lineup and what else this Massachusetts cidery has going:

Here’s the official description for the Massive Appeal. 

An imperial cider that has a similar taste profile as Mass Appeal, but with a higher ABV at 8.2%. It's juicy, crisp and apple forward.

FLAVOR Juicy, Crisp & Apple Forward

APPLES Golden Delicious and McIntosh

Appearance: brilliant, warm straw, fine bubbles

Shiny! The Massive Appeal sure does look fabulous. This cider is truly brilliant with lots of lovely bubbles and a ripe hay color.

Aromas: ripe apples, fresh sweet cream, baking spices

Mouthwateringly, this cider smells like fresh ripe apples and a bit like custard cream. This is just so friendly and yummy in aroma!

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

The Massive Appeal is a sweet cider with lots of fun flavors. 

Flavors and drinking experience: apple, cinnamon, petillant, bittersweet finish

I wasn’t sure quite what to expect from an imperial cider like this. Ciders vary tremendously in ABV and some releases highlight that like an imperial release while others do not. I was curious to see if the booziness would make a prominent impression.

What I found is a cider that tastes sweetly like cinnamon and apple. The Massive Appeal is petillant more than strongly sparkling. It doesn’t taste hot or even particularly boozy. 

The cider is well balanced with a delicious bittersweet edge on the finish. It’s got nice mellow maturity- the cider reminds me of fallen leaves and wood. 

Overall the Massive Appeal comes across as roasty toasty and darkly sweet. Sip after sip, this cider remains intensely appley. Rather than boozy, it’s friendly and almost too drinkable for an 8.2% ABV! 

We enjoyed this summer with a grilled meal of corn on the cob, zucchini and yellow squash, and BBQ chicken or tofu. I like pairing barbeque entrees with sweeter ciders as the sweet and spicy combination is usually particularly harmonious. This was no exception!

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Cider Review: Alde Cider from Hardanger

Yesterday, I weeded in the garden. The rain has encouraged a riot of grasses, glovers, and other garden invaders of plant and animal varieties. Even after my work, it’s still a mess. But the same conditions that created all this work have also surprised me with a beautiful cucumber. I waded through the excessive tomato foliage to get to the kale and brushing up against the greenery caused that beautiful warm tomato leaf scent to surround me. It’s beautiful even when it's sticky, messy, or overgrown. I think I’ll try to take that thought as my reassurance for the week. 

I’m sharing the last of the ciders I brought home from Norway this week. This is Alde Cider from Hardanger. When looking up this cider maker, I found just a little bit of info in English, so I’ll quote it directly from this page about Hardanger Fjord. 

Surrounded by steep mountains, the Hardangerfjord and the Folgefonna glacier, Alde Sider is idyllically located on Bleie farm in Sørfjorden. The juice and cider producer, which in 2018 was awarded the best in Norway, sells the noble drops from both the farm and Vinmonopolet (alcoholic beverage retailer).

Alde’s website is here with beautiful picture and plenty of information (in Norwegian):

Here’s what I translated from the website about this cider using Google Translate and a few human touches. I’m sure that there are plenty of infelicities and inaccuracies, and for those I apologize!

75 cl 6.9% alc

Dry and sparkling apple cider

Summerred, Discovery, Aroma and Gravenstein

Acid g/l: 7 Sugar g/l: 10

Allergen: sulfite

When the days become short and the yellow color comes into the field, the apples are ready for harvesting. Here on the farm I have Summerred, Gravenstein, Discovery and Aroma. These varieties are perfectly suited to sides and each contribute their own character. I carefully pick them down when they are sweet enough and press them into applesauce. I fill the must in steel tanks in layers with a tank of sugar and yeast.

When the fermentation has started well, I lower the temperature and wait anxiously. This allows the cider to develop slowly but surely, while retaining the fresh apple aroma. When the cider tanks are fermented, I call together good friends and taste a mixture that is balanced between acid and sweetness, fruitiness and fresh anger. I added a little carbonic acid to make it sparkling and then bottle it.

You can get Alde Sider at Vinmonopolet and in the farm shop.

Appearance: brilliant, few visible bubbles, warm sunflower yellow

This is a lovely cider. I see just a few small bubbles in an otherwise brilliant cider. The color is warm and rich; it reminds me of sunflowers.

Aromas: Smells minerals, dust and pears

The Alde Cider smells first of minerals, dust and pears. One of my co-tasters got hints of concord grape and powdered sugar as well.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi dry

What a beautiful sense of balance. I really enjoy how this cider is sweet enough to be fun, immediate, and fruity, but not so sweet as to be heavy, cloying or sticky.

Flavors and drinking experience: pear like, high acid, fine bubble, sessionable

I find this Norwegian cider very pear-like with with higher acid than most actual perries. It offers many fine tiny bubbles. The cider tastes tropical and creamy; I’m reminded of pineapple. It’s soft but strong with clean fermentation. 

I appreciate the powerful acids, both in high, spritzy regions and low, round ones that elide into woody notes. Overall, I get full flavor and mouthfeel with a sweeter finish. It’s so refreshing and sessionable.

I enjoyed this cider with a Moosewood salad recipe that I adapted into a veggie bowl over rice: sautéed asparagus, roasted red pepper, and chickpeas but with ginger teriyaki vinaigrette over rice. It was a nice summer supper and a fun easy pairing. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Cider Review: Awestruck Cider's Apples & Pears

The only constant is change. I’m saying it, because I need to continue internalizing this truth. All seasons are seasons of change, even the high peak days of Summer. Now is the time to slow down and appreciate where we are at this moment and know that the world around us will continue to change. We will change. Fruit will ripen. Even the long summer evenings that feel endless will not be with us forever. All the more reason to appreciate the now. Here’s what I smelled and tasted when I took my time with Awestruck Cider’s Apples and Pears.

Before diving into the review, Awestruck Cider comes to us from Sydney, New York. I’m not entirely sure, but I’d call that the Southern Tier region. I’ve reviewed a few Awestruck Ciders over the course of the blog. Here’s the full list. You can find more background information on the cidery in these earlier entries. 

Sugar and Spice:


Viking Sahti:

Dry Apple + Oak:

Hometown Homicider:

Hibiscus Ginger: This cider made my 2015 top ten!

Here’s where to find Awestruck Cider online:

And this is how the folks at Awestruck Cider describe the Apples & Pears.


Two orchard besties, handpicked and pressed into one enticing refreshment. 5.5% ABV

Appearance: Shining bright warm gold, bubbly, brilliant

The color of this cider is intense. It reminds me of a shade of gold somewhere in between ripe corn and peach flesh. It’s brilliant, bubbly, and active in the glass. 

Aromas: fresh bread, baking spice, cooked apples

As someone who bakes regularly, I’m reminded of baking immediately when a cider smells like bread. This one does, cleanly and beautifully. The aromas are fermented, spicy, and fruity. I get plenty of apple, pear, and baking spices in addition to the lovely bready qualities.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet!

This apple pear blend tastes aggressively sweet, but it’s so pleasant in that style.

Flavors and drinking experience: full mouthfeel, dark caramel, fruity, petillant

The Apples and Pears cider tastes complex in that there are plenty of flavors happening but ultimately it’s approachable, sweet, and easy to drink. It’s fruity, high acid, and mildly bubbly, more petillant than sparkling, with a satisfying full mouthfeel. The cider finishes with a swerve into dark caramel but back out into bright nectarine.

Overall, this is a nice sessionable cider for fans of sweet ciders and a pleasant sip of something different even for many usually dry drinkers. Awestruck has made something lovely for sitting back with a little treat tray of cheese and salty snacks and good company.

Monday, July 3, 2023

#DryCiderJuly Cider Review: Albemarle Ciderworks' Wickson

It’s gone from dry and smoky to nearly flooded here in the finger lakes in the past few weeks. I love seeing how green everything is. At the same time, I do miss the sun. I won’t complain much though, I’d rather too much rain than too little! I did take an evening recently to open up a bottle of cider that I was most excited about and enjoy it with good cheese, good company, and the sound of rain falling outside. It was great.

I wanted to share this review to start of #DryCiderJuly! There are so many wonderful dry ciders out there, and the American Cider Association is taking the month of July to celebrate them. I'm happy to join in and share all of the myriad of flavors I can find in a dry cider. Here's a link to a Dry Cider Finder:,

The kind folks at Albemarle Cider shared a bottle of the Wickson cider with me along with a few other bottles that are also tremendously tempting. More reviews will appear along and along. Check out my earlier reviews of this Virginia cidery to learn more background about the company and its cider making!

Brut D’Albemarle Harrison:


Ragged Mountain:

Royal Pippin:

Pomme Mary:

Albemarle can be found online here:

I was so eager to open up Albemarle Ciderworks’ Wickson, because I frequently love ciders made with Wickson apples. Here’s a link to a bit of information about this delicious crab:

Here’s how Albemarle describes this cider on its label, “ Dry single varietal of the Wickson Crab apple. Bright and tart. Fruity and floral aromas lead to pineapple and passionfruit on the palette. Alcohol 9.40%”

Appearance: brilliant, intense, buttercup yellow, bubbly

This is a beautiful cider. The color reminds me of so many summer yellow flowers; it’s an intense sunny yellow. The Wickson is alive in the glass with active bubbles. 

Aromas: ripe apple, strawberry, orange, and lemon, so fruity! 

The Wickson smells impressively fresh and fruity. I get so many distinct fruit notes like ripe apple, peach, orange, lemon, and strawberry. It’s all tart zest and freshness. Love it!

Dryness/Sweetness: Dry and yet totally fruity 

This is a dry cider but it could certainly fool you if you’re just looking at whether or not the Wickson is

fruity. It’s redolent with vivid fruit and yet dry. It’s possible, and it's delicious. 

Taste: zingy, subtly bitter, creamy, fruity and mouthwatering

Astonishing. This cider is a keeper. I find it powerfully and yet invitingly tart with a bitter and

mouthwatering edge. The Wickson is delightfully  bubble and yet creamy. The flavors that keep

bouncing across my palate are citrus and tart cream- like the most luxurious whole milk lemon yogurt

imaginable or lemon curd. Secondarily, I notice loads of minerals. Repeated sips keep delighting me

with how juicy and vivid they taste.

I paired mine with cheese, conversation and the sound of rain. What a treat.