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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AEppelTreow Kinglet Bitter

Review of AEppelTreow’s Kinglet Bitter Draft Cider, part of their Songbird line of estate ciders.  I’ve previously tried a few of their ciders; see here.

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Cider:  Kinglet Bitter Draft Cider
Cidery:  AEppelTreow
Cidery Location:  Burlington WI
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles and kegs
Style:  American craft cider made from English & French bittersweet apple varieties

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Availability:  At least in CA, DE, IA, IL, KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, NY, OR, PA, SD, WA, WI, and WA D.C.

Cider Description:  Kinglet Bitter is one of our proud ‘estate’ ciders.  It’s all grown at Brightonwoods, within sight of the Winery.   It’s more subtle and complex than Barn Swallow – being fermented from 100% bitter English and French cider apples.  It differs from an authentic European cider by being ‘immature’.  Kinglet has very little post-ferment changes made by wild Lactic Acid Bacteria.  Instead, we ferment it with a Sangiovese yeast that we think really brings out the tannin characters of the cider-specific cultivars.  These apples are rare, and not easy to grow.  When we get the question ‘Then why use them?’, we pour a glass of Kinglet.

Apple Varieties: Dabinette, Domaine, Frequin Rouge, White Jersey, Muscadet Deippe, and other English & French bittersweet cider apples.

Cidery Description:  ÆppelTreow Winery & Distillery is a producer of small batch cider, perry and spirits.  Cider and Perry?  We use the pre-Prohibition meaning of ‘cider’, so we’re talking about fermented or ‘hard’ cider. Perry is the pear analogue to cider.  We use lots of different kinds of apples and pears in our products.  Some modern.  Some heirloom – no longer grown for stores. We make a range of styles: sparkling, draft, still/table, and fortified/dessert.  Within a style, we lean to the dry end – but also have some medium-sweet offerings.

They have a tasting room in Burlington Wisconsin and opened in 2001.

Price:  $12
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve enjoyed a few of their ciders previously and am a fan of bittersweet ciders, so especially for only $12 I wanted to try it.

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow with copper hue.  Still.  Smells of apple juice with a slight bit of “farmhouse”.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Completely still (no carbonation), and tasted a bit flat (like it previously had carbonation but sat out).  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Moderate to strong bitterness.  Mild tannins.  A hint of funk.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet apples, apple juice, honey, apple pomace, caramel, and earthiness.  Moderate to long bitter finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  This was much too bitter and harsh for my liking.  Although “bitter” is in the name, many ciders made from bittersweet apples don’t have significant bitterness.  I think with some aging and a bit of tweaking it would have been more to my liking.  I didn’t really like the backsweetening (obvious apple juice flavor) of this cider, yet if anything, more sweetness would have helped balance the flavor.  I was surprised I didn’t detect more tannins.  Along Came a Cider also did a nice review of this cider (see here); it looks like Meredith found it more carbonated, more tannic, and less bitter than I did.  I imagine this is a different batch as her review was awhile ago.

UPDATE: The cidery noted this bottle may not have traveled well, as it is usually lightly carbonated and more astringent than bitter. Unless a bottle is obviously bad, its always tough to know whether what we are tasting was the intended product. Hopefully I get a chance to try this one again.

Most Similar to:  Ciders made from bittersweet apples, such as many English-style ciders.  The flavor in particular was similar to Colorado Cider Company Ol’ Stumpy (see my review here).  My favorite bittersweet ciders include those from Sea Cider (Bittersweet), Locust (Bittersweet Reserve), Finnriver (Fire Barrel), and Aspall (Imperial – Black Label).

Closing Notes:   Although I didn’t care for this cider, I look forward to continuing to try more ciders from AEppelTreow .  Their Appely Doux is my favorite so far–rich and bubbly (see my review here).

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

AEppelTreow Winery Appely Doux

Review of AEppelTreow Winery’s Appely Doux methode champenoise sparkling cider.  I’ve previously tried their Barn Swallow cider on draft.

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Cider:  Appely Doux
Cidery:  AEppelTreow Winery
Cidery Location:  Burlington WI
ABV:  8.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  American methode champenoise craft sparkling cider

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Availability:  At least in CA, DE, IA, IL, KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, NY, OR, PA, SD, WA, WI, and WA D.C.

Cider Description:  Appely Doux is semi-sweet, fruity and floral.  It is inspired by French Country Ciders, and crafted from a blend of modern and heirloom apple varieties.

Made from Red Delicious, Cortland, and “various old baking apples”.  My bottle was labeled 2012.140.1 and said 2,560 produced (which looks like it was made in 2012, so it may have sat around awhile before me buying it in August 2015).

Cidery Description:  ÆppelTreow Winery & Distillery is a producer of small batch cider, perry and spirits.  Cider and Perry?  We use the pre-Prohibition meaning of ‘cider’, so we’re talking about fermented or ‘hard’ cider. Perry is the pear analogue to cider.  We use lots of different kinds of apples and pears in our products.  Some modern.  Some heirloom – no longer grown for stores. We make a range of styles: sparkling, draft, still/table, and fortified/dessert.  Within a style, we lean to the dry end – but also have some medium-sweet offerings.

They have a tasting room in Burlington WI and opened in 2001.

Price:  ~$17
Where Bought:  Capitol Cider in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had heard of this cider (the Brut version) from Meredith at Along Came a Cider and it sounded like something I’d like.

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow.  High carbonation, tiny bubbles with foam.  Smells sweet, of rich ripe apples, yeast, and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Between semi-dry and semi-sweet.  Moderate to high acidity.  Low tartness.  Low tannins.  No bitterness or sourness.  Fizzy and frothy mouthfeel.  Notes of citrus, green apples, yeast, honey, and floral.  Slight richness.  Medium bodied.  Medium length finish.  Moderate to high apple influence.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Yum!  This is a tasty, unique, and complex well-balanced sparkling cider.

Most Similar to:  This reminds me some of ciders from Brittany France, although slightly lighter.  Its truly sparkling, which most ciders aren’t.

Closing Notes:   This cider was quite enjoyable, so I look forward to trying more from AEppelTreow.

Have you tried AEppelTreow Winery Appely Doux?  What did you think?