WildCraft Cider Works Pioneer Perry

Review of WildCraft Cider Works’ Pioneer 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.

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>>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.<<

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Cider:  Pioneer Perry
Cidery:  WildCraft Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Eugene OR
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottle

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

Cider Description:  Our 2014 Pioneer Perry is layered with the complex flavors of hazelnut, fresh shortbread & orange blossom honey. The exquisite qualities of pre-prohibition planted American Pear varietals were allowed to reach their fullest potential. Harvested and handpicked from the founding farmlands of Lane County, this is an experience that provides unprecedented, homegrown quality. Unpasteurized & bottle conditioned.

Made from Red Bartlet 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 straw yellow with a few large bubbles at the edge of the glass.  Slightly funky, dry, sour, tart, yeasty, vanilla apple scent.

Opinion:  Completely dry.  Moderate to high acidity.  Mild to moderate sourness.  Mild bitterness, funk, astringency, and tartness.  Light bodied.  Still (no carbonation).  Moderate length finish.  I picked up mild pear, citrus, vanilla, oak, and honey notes.  This was a nice light perry which would be great during summer.  It was my favorite of the six WildCraft selections I’ve had, likely as it was a bit less sour & funky.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I have tried.  Although I’ve drank a number of perries, none was this dry and complex.  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 and more likeable than the others I tried, but it wasn’t really to my taste.  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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