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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Hogan’s Medium Cider

Review of Hogan’s Medium Cider, from the UK.  This is the first cider I’ve tried from them, although I’m a fan of English cider.

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Cider:  Medium Cider
Cidery:  Hogan’s Cider
Cidery Location:  Alcester, England
ABV:  5.4%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle
Style:  English craft medium dry cider

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Availability:  UK, U.S. (including at ShipCider.com), Russia, Hong Kong, Finland, Australia, Ireland, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, and Germany.

Cider Description:  Hogan’s Bottled Cider is fermented from only 100% fresh pressed English cider apples. Our cider tastes so good because we do not use apple concentrate and we do not add any sugars prior to fermentation. Containing more than 85% cider apple juice our premium bottled cider is made only from fresh pressed cider fruit and precious little else. Hogan’s bottled cider brings you the authentic taste of the English orchard.

Hogan’s Medium Bottled Cider is golden, well balanced, slightly sparkling cider with caramel, butterscotch and dried fruit aromas.

Cidery Description:  Hogan’s ciders and perries are fermented from just fresh pressed English apples and pears, no sugars are added prior to fermentation and no apple or pear juice concentrate is used.

We think cider should be made only from fresh pressed apples.  What we do is source fruit in the Autumn from lots of apple orchards in the counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

Price:  $7.25
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’m a big English cider fan and hadn’t seen this one before.  Their Dry Cider can also be found in my area.

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First Impression:  Light pumpkin orange amber.  Ring of foam and large bubbles.  Smells of rich ripe apples, yeast, and tannins.

Tasting Notes:  Between semi-dry and semi-sweet.  Mild tannins.  Moderate acidity.  Mild tartness.  Hints of bitterness and sourness.  Still.  Medium bodied.  Slight richness with notes of caramel, brown sugar, and yeast.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  This was a bit disappointing; I’d call it average.  That slightest bit of sourness threw me off (I’ve never tasted that in English cider and I’m not a fan of sour in a cider at all).  I also found the depth of flavor just wasn’t there vs. other English craft ciders I’ve had.  I find it odd that they use sugar to back sweeten (vs. juice or stopping fermentation early) and list water as an ingredient (usually water is only required if a cidery uses concentrate, and they said only fresh pressed apple juice was used…so was it used to water down the cider to a certain ABV?).

Most Similar to:  Other English ciders, such as from Aspall and Sheppy’s, both of which so far I like better.

Closing Notes:  English ciders are one of my favorite categories.  Maybe I’ll have to give another variety from Hogan’s a try.

Have you tried Hogan’s Cider?  What did you think?