Perry Tasting Notes

There was recently a perry tasting at my house (thanks Sarah, Merce, and Kevin from Cider Log for sharing!).  I took a few tasting notes.  Note that perry is similar to cider, but made from pears, no apples.  [In contrast to pear cider, which in the U.S. is often an apple cider with some pear juice/flavor added.]

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We didn’t end up opening every bottle, so we’ll need to have a perry tasting part 2!  Our dinner pairing was pizza, which worked surprisingly well.

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Dragon’s Head (Vashon Island WA) Methode Champenoise Perry (6.3% ABV), $29 / 750ml:  This is a special release of Dragon’s Head’s Perry, which was made in Methode Champenoise, a labor-intensive traditional way of making a naturally sparkling cider.  It was made from Taylor’s Gold and heirloom seedling Vashon Island pears .  High carbonation.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  Notes of pear juice & skin, floral, and honey.  I enjoyed it, although it was very mildly flavored.  It would be a nice champagne alternative, albeit pricey (this was by far the most expensive bottle we opened).

Oliver’s (Herefordshire England) Herefordshire Perry (6.9% ABV), price unknown:  This is an English bottle-conditioned perry made from perry pears.  Smells very funky.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low sourness.  Moderate funk.  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  Pear-forward and floral.  I enjoyed it.

Hogan’s (Alcester, England) Vintage Perry 2010 (5.4% ABV), ~$10 / 500ml:  This is another English perry made from perry pears.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Hints of sourness, funk, tannins & bitterness.  Low tartness & acidity.  Pear-forward, rich, and nutty.  I really enjoyed it.

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Mission Trail (Bradley CA) Perry (6.0% ABV), price unknown:  This perry was made from Bartlett pears, and claims to be the only true perry (not pear cider) made in California.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness & acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pear, stone fruit, and honey.  I liked it, but this was the most “commercial” / pear cider type tasting of the group.

Viuda de Angelon (Asturias Spain) Sidra de Pera (5.2% ABV), $4 / 11.2oz:  This is a Spanish perry.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied, frothy.  Hints of sourness & funk (less so than most Spanish ciders).  Low to moderate tartness & acidity.  Pear-forward with notes of apricot.  I liked it.

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Sea Cider (Saanichton B.C. Canada) Perry (6.5% ABV), $18 / 750ml:  This is a Canadian perry made from perry pears.  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Very light kinda weird flavor, more floral & herbal than pear.  I think this was a bit of an off bottle though, as it was infected with scobies.  I’ll have to give it another try sometime.

AEppelTreow (Burlington WI) Perry (7.5% ABV), $12 / 750ml:  This is a Methode Champenoise perry made from Comice, Bosc, and Bartlett pears.  Semi-sweet.  Moderate carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness & tannins.  Tastes exactly like champagne, no pear, but juicy, plus notes of stone fruit and honey.  I enjoyed it, although it was not what we were expecting.  Also a nice champagne alternative, and an excellent value for Methode Champenoise.

The day after the group tasting I opened up my bottle of Samuel Smith’s perry, as it was already in the fridge.

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Samuel Smith’s (Tadcaster, England) Organic Perry (5.0 ABV), $3 / 12oz:  This is another English perry, and Organic, but the most commercial (ingredient list included water, pear extract, malic acid, etc).  Semi-sweet.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  No pear flavor, but notes of apple, apricot & other stone fruit, and honey (if I tasted it blind I’d call it cider, not perry).  I liked this, although it was definitely commercial tasting, and the sweetest option.

Our favorite was the Hogan’s (also an excellent value, under $10 I believe).  Our least favorite was the Sea Cider.  The most surprising was the AEppeltreow, as it was the least perry-like.

I’ve also previously tried these perries: Dan Armor Poire, Pear UP Half Past Prudent, Pear UP Cherry Perry, Pear UP Watermelon Perry, Pear UP Watermelon Raspberry Perry, Pear UP Raspberry PerryDomaine Pacory Poire Domfront, Dunkertons Organic Perry, Eaglemount Perry, Locust Seckel PerryNashi Orchards Asian Pear Chojuro Blend PerryNashi Orchards Island Harvest Perry, Portland Cider Pearfect Perry, Snowdrift Perry, Snowdrift Seckel Perry, Tieton Sparkling Perry, WildCraft Pioneer Perry, WildCraft Elderberry Perry, and William’s Sir Perry

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Schilling Cider House – Cider Tasting Notes

This is Part 2 of a trip report on the Schilling Cider House, covering the 18 ciders I tasted (of the 32 on tap).  Pretty impressive, right?  See Part 1 here, which covered the Cider House itself.  I tried to take a photo of each cider, but some of them didn’t turn out, so I’ve only included photos of some of the ciders with interesting hues.  Thankfully though, I took notes!  I had two flights of six ciders (3oz) each, and six tastes from our bartender.

Schilling’s Ciders

Chaider, 6.5% ABV, Semi-Sweet:
This is one of their most popular ciders, and is available bottled (22oz) in the winter.  It smelled of cinnamon and definitely had a Chai tea-like taste.  Definitely not my thing, but it was my husband’s favorite taste of the day.

Chaider (Nitro), 6.5% ABV, Semi-Sweet:
This is the same cider as above except on Nitro, which added some additional smoothness.  It was quite foamy from the tap from the nitrogenation, and needed a couple minutes to calm down.

Ginger, 6.5% ABV, Semi-Dry (noted Semi-Sweet):
I’m not a ginger fan, but this was handed to me, so I tried it!  It had a much milder initial ginger taste than smell, but had more of a ginger aftertaste.  I think Ginger fans would really like this one.  Its not too overwhelming with Ginger.

Hopped, 6.5% ABV, Semi-Dry:
Hopped ciders aren’t my thing, but my husband wanted this, and thought it was pretty decent.  I had one sip and it is definitely hoppy, but way less than Reverend Nat’s Envy / Hopland #5.  Otherwise I can’t really comment on it.

Sriracha Lime, 6.7% ABV, Semi-Dry (noted Dry):
This cider seemed intriguing, I like Sriracha & Lime, and there was some chatter online of folks liking it, so why not?  It definitely smelled of Sriracha & Lime, but all I picked up in the taste was the Sriracha (no Lime).  Definitely spicy!  I don’t think I like spicy ciders.  I can tolerate spicy food, but the spiciness seemed to overwhelm the cider here.  I think this would have been better to do with a sweet citrus/lime cider with only a hint of Sriracha.

(I’ve also previously tried Schilling Oak Aged, Gold, & Grapefruit)

Other Ciders

101 Ciderhouse Cactus Red, 6.5% ABV, Los Angeles CA, Dry:
I tried this on a whim as it sounded unique/odd.  I picked up a citrus scent and it had a lovely pink color, similar to grapefruit juice.  It was definitely dry, and very very tart!  I unfortunately couldn’t take more than two sips of this one.

Elemental Cherry, 6.5% ABV, Woodinville WA, Semi-Dry:
Pretty rosé color.  Smelled like cherries.  However, I barely picked up any cherry flavor when tasting it.  Folks who like drier ciders but want a fruity cider may like this, as many fruit infused ciders tend to be sweeter.

Finnriver Habenero, 6.9% ABV, Chimacum WA, Semi-Sweet:
Another cider handed to me from the bartender, who was trying it for the first time as they just tapped it.  It didn’t smell spicy, but it was!  The bite hit my sinuses about 10 seconds after drinking it.  Again, the spice was overwhelming.  I wasn’t a fan, but my husband didn’t mind it.

Finnriver Lavender Black Currant (Nitro), 6.5% ABV, Chimacum WA, Sweet:
Very dark & vibrant hue.  Extra smooth taste (from the nitrogenation).  I’ve tried their Black Currant flavor, and I honestly couldn’t pick up the added Lavender in this one.  However, my husband did.  In addition to the black current, I picked up some cherry notes.  This was much better than the bottled Black Currant I had of their’s (which was also quite good).  I imagine tap + Nitro did it.  Excellent!

Finnriver Oak & Apple, 6.5% ABV, Chimacum WA, Semi-Dry:
The bartender said this was very similar to Schilling’s Oak Aged (which was surprisingly absent from the tap list).  I’m a huge fan of barrel aged ciders, so I was anxious to try it.  This is a milder barrel aged cider, and quite tasty.  I think I give the slight edge to Schilling’s Oak Aged though.  And, overall, my favorite barrel aged ciders so far are Woodchuck Winter Chill (which also has some vanilla flavor) and Thistly Cross Whisky Cask (very smooth), both of which are significantly sweeter than Schilling’s & Finnriver’s oak aged selections, but I do enjoy Schilling Oak Aged.  Yum!

Locust Sweet & Dark Cherry, 6.5% ABV, Woodinville WA, Semi-Sweet:
For a cherry cider, I was expecting more flavor, but it was quite mild, and there was little cherry scent or flavor.  This has a sweeter start and more tart finish.  This was pretty similar to the Elemental Cherry (which also had a mild cherry flavor), except a bit sweeter.

Moonlight Meadery How do you Like them Little Apples?, 6.0% ABV, Londonderry NH, Sweet:
Hard cider blended with honey & brown sugar, fermented, then barrel aged (draft only release).  Honey smell (duh).  Quite sweet.  Very smooth.  Tastes like it would be a higher ABV than it is (but I wouldn’t call the taste boozy).  I wouldn’t have guessed it was barrel aged.  Awesome!

Portland Cider Passion Fruit, 6.5% ABV, Portland OR, Semi-Sweet:
I was excited to try this one.  The passion fruit smell was amazing!  However, the passion fruit taste was quite mild, and it had a bit of a tart & bitter finish, which I wasn’t expecting.  It is however a refreshing and easy-drinking cider.

Portland Cider Pearfect Perry, 6.5% ABV, Portland OR, Semi-Dry (noted Semi-Sweet):
This was a very mild Perry; I could barely pick up any pear flavor.  It was however pretty tasty and smooth.

Reverend Nat’s Newtown Pippin, 6.9% ABV, Portland OR, Semi-Dry:
One of Rev Nat’s regular release ciders.  This was a mild & crisp cider which I found to have a fairly bitter finish.  Pretty boring for my tastes.

Viuda de Angelon Sidra Brut, 6.5% ABV, Spain, Dry:
A refreshing & smooth Spanish cider.  I can’t really put the flavor into words, but it is one of those ciders which has a flavor profile which seems sweeter than it really is.  It was Schilling’s most expensive offering by the way, at $11/pint, but only $2 for a 3oz taste.  This makes me want to try more Spanish ciders!

Wandering Aengus Wanderlust, 6.5%, Salem OR, Dry (noted Semi-Dry):
Fairly plain, and I found it tart & bitter.  Taste profile was in-line with the two Wandering Aengus and two Anthem (also made by them) ciders I’ve tried.  Also fairly boring for my tastes.

Whitewood Summer Switchel, 4.6% ABV, Olympia WA, Semi-Sweet:
This is a mild & refreshing cider with a hint of ginger.  The bartender said he picks up almost a salty flavor, which after hearing that, I agreed somewhat.

Photos

cactus
101 Ciderhouse Cactus Red

elemental cherry
Elemental Cherry

Finnriver Lavendar Black Currant
Finnriver Lavender Black Currant

Locust cherry
Locust Cherry

mead
Moonlight Meadery How do you like them Little Apples

Closing Notes

My favorites from this tasting were the Moonlight Meadery “How do you Like them Little Apples?”, Finnriver Oak & Apple, Finnriver Lavender Black Currant, and Viuda de Angelon Sidra Brut.  Quite an interesting combination, right?

I also learned that in addition to hopped, ginger, and overly dry ciders, I definitely don’t like spicy ciders!

I look forward to returning to the Schilling Cider House to try more ciders, as their selections change all the time.  Stay tuned for reviews of the five ciders I picked up from their bottle shop (shown in Part 1).