WildCraft Cider Works Elderberry Perry

Review of WildCraft Cider Works’ Elderberry Perry.  Perries are made entirely using pears.  In contrast, pear ciders are often an apple base with pear juice added, and cider is of course entirely made from apples.  WildCraft opened in Eugene Oregon in November 2014.  They were nice enough to send me a box full of their cider (which is especially awesome as they aren’t yet available in WA), so I have a number of varieties from them to review in the coming weeks.

wildcraft elderberry perry
(I somehow forgot to take a full photo of this lovely
wax-topped bottle, so a stock photo will have to do)

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by WildCraft Cider Works.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

2015-11-19 17.02.08

Cider:  Elderberry Perry
Cidery:  WildCraft Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Eugene OR
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottle

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Availability:  Year round, but currently only in Eugene, Portland, and Medford Oregon.

Cider Description:  These elderberries were wildcrafted in the mountains of Cottage Grove, hand destemmed and fermented whole in a red Bartlett perry. Floral, vinous, fruit-forward berries hail from the rugged Oregon wilderness into a rich & full bodied pear complexity. Unpasteurized & bottle conditioned.

Made from Red Bartlet and Comice pears.

Cidery Description:  At WildCraft Cider Works, we pride ourselves on developing innovative, artisanal dry ciders inspired by traditional and wild methodology. Insisting 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; always acting consciously to ensure that our ingredients are regional.

WildCraft sets themselves apart from most other cideries by using mostly fruit from old homesteads that would otherwise go unused, plus unwanted fruit from community drives.  All their fruit is Oregon-grown and pressed at the cidery.  In addition to ciders, they also have a line of perries (made from pears).  They avoid the use of sulfites in their ciders, which is quite rare and can be difficult to pull off.

WildCraft has a tap house at their Eugene OR cidery with 10 of their ciders & perries on tap at a time, plus they have a full bar (including cider cocktails), and a full farm to table restaurant!  This article from Feb 2015 has a nice writeup on them.

Price:  n/a (but retails for $16.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Facebook and word of mouth

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First Impression:  Light elderberry-grape type hue with a few large bubbles at the edge of the glass.  Slightly funky, dry, sour, and tart apple-berry scent.  This one had the most funky scent of the six I’ve tried from WildCraft.

Opinion:  Completely dry.  Moderate acidity, sourness, tartness, astringency, and funk.  No bitterness.  Light bodied.  Moderate carbonation.  Relative quick finish.  The elderberry influence remained quite mild, but added a nice fruitiness and a bit of tannins.  This was a crowd favorite at my cider tasting, but my least favorite, as it was a bit more funky than the others.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I have tried.  Although I’ve had a number of berry ciders and a handful of perries, none was this dry, and I haven’t had a berry perry.  This is more approachable than some ciders of a similar style (Millstone comes to mind), but may still be a big step for someone used to approachable sweet commercial cider.

Closing Notes:   This was quite an interesting perry, but it wasn’t really to my liking.  Without the sourness & funk and with a bit more residual sugar, I think I would have found it more enjoyable.  I also tend to like more of a full-flavored beverage.  I think they are doing some great things at WildCraft though, and are very reasonably priced.  I think folks looking for a unique perry on the dry end of the spectrum which aren’t opposed to some sourness and funk should give this a try.  I look forward to trying the rest of the ciders that came in my sample box!

Have you tried any WildCraft ciders?  What did you think?

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