Angry Orchard Pear Cider

Review of Angry Orchard’s Pear Cider.  This is a new release.  See the press release here.  Note that this isn’t perry as it is made from both pears and apples.  I’ve previously sampled their Crisp AppleTraditional Dry, Elderflower, Summer HoneyThe MuseIcemanStone DryThe Old Fashioned, Knotty Pear, Walden HollowEasy AppleUnderstood in Motion 01, Tapped Maple, Spiced Apple, Maple Wooden Sleeper, and Understood in Motion 02.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Angry Orchard.  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.<<

Cider:  Pear Cider
Cidery:  Angry Orchard
Cidery Location:  Walden NY (their R&D facility)
Cider Production Locations:  Cincinnati OH & Breingsville PA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial pear cider made from dessert apples & pears

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Availability:  wide release, year round, since October 2017 (they have a Cider Finder)

Cider Description:  Angry Orchard Pear Cider is delicately crafted to highlight the mellow sweetness of pears. Using apples and pears grown in the US, this hard cider blends ripe pear taste with crisp apple notes for a well-rounded and smooth drink.

Made from pear varieties including Bartlett, D’Anjou, and Bosc, and apple varieties including Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith.

Ingredients:  hard cider, water, cane sugar, malic acid, pear juice from concentrate, natural flavor, carbon dioxide, and sulfites

Price:  n/a (retails for $7.99-9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  a cidery rep contacted me

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of pear juice and apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pear, pineapple, green apple, and mango.  Long tart finish.  Low to moderate pear flavor and complexity.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  The finish was really surprising though, as the tartness lingered much more than I’d expect (maybe the malic acid?).  It was easy to drink and it didn’t bore me, although tasted a bit commercial.

Most Similar to:  Crispin Pacific Pear.  Or, for a craft choice, Longdrop Tanager Pear Cider.  Or in between, Flatbed Pear Cider.

Closing Notes:  I was told that they will also still continue to make their Orchard’s Edge Knotty Pear (a pear cider with cardamom and oak barrel aging).

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

Wyder’s Pear Cider

Review of Wyder’s Pear cider (previously “Dry Pear”).  I’ve tried this before, but pre-blog.  I’ve also had their Reposado Pear, Raspberry, and Prickly Pineapple ciders.  They sent me a nice sampler of three ciders (plus a cool tote bag!), featuring new labels/packaging.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Wyder’s.  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:  Pear
Cidery:  Wyder’s Cider (part of Vermont Cider Co.)
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT (at the Woodchuck cidery)
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles (and 22oz bottles)
Style:  American commercial apple cider with pear juice

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Availability:  wide release (in 40 states), year round (they have a locator here)

Cider Description:  This light, crisp cider presents a tangy aroma while offering a distinct pear taste, and ends with a lively mouth feel that tickles the tongue.

Cidery Description:  We have specialized in eclectic fruit-forward ciders for more than two decades. It’s a pretty hyper-connected world out there, grab a Wyder’s when you’re ready to unplug. Wyder’s wants to be a part of you finding the good in life and your Happy Place. We hope you enjoy, and bring us along!

Price:  n/a (although it runs ~$9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Initially, browsing, although this time it just showed up.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of candied pear and pineapple.

Tasting Notes: Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, bitterness, or tannins.  Notes of pear, pineapple, and green apple.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate pear flavor.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, and can definitely see why it is popular.  Its easy to drink and refreshing.  This would be a nice summer BBQ type cider.  It doesn’t really have any complexity though, and is slightly commercial tasting.

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck Pear, Crispin Pacific Pear, Spire Mountain Sparkling Pear, Fox Barrel Pacific Pear, Pear UP Pear Essentials, Rambling Route PearScandi Cider Pear, Flatbed Cider Pear, and Finnriver Pear, and Steelhead Peargatory.

Closing Notes:  I’m glad to see they dropped the “Dry”, as it isn’t.  I think my favorite Wyder’s cider is the Reposado Pear (tequila barrel aged), which is one of the few ciders that pairs well with Mexican food.  Hopefully they continue making that one (it wasn’t included in this sample box).

Have you tried Wyder’s cider?  What did you think?

Scandi Cider Pear

Review of Scandi Cider’s Pear variety, from Estonia (in Northern Europe, on the Baltic Sea).  I’ve previously tried their Apple and Green Apple ciders.

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Nice looking bottles!

Cider:  Scandi Cider Pear
Cidery:  Vohu Vein AS
Cidery Location:  Vohu village, Estonia, in the south Baltic Sea shore
ABV:  5.4%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12.7oz corked champagne bottles
Style:  Norman-style cider made with Baltic apple & pear varieties in Estonia

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Availability:  semi wide release

Ingredients:  fermented apple juice, fermented pear juice, carbonated water, sugar, malic acid, citric acid, sulfites 

(Note that the addition of water typically means they use apple juice concentrate, which allows them to produce cider year round even though they only harvest once a year.  However, there are different types of concentrate processes, some very commercial and some more craft, and I’ve heard its the norm in Europe.)

Cider Description:  What makes Scandinavian cider a unique one?  Special North Europe apples blend. Three basic elements create a structure for cider – acid, tannin, and sweetness. We use our specific mix of Baltic varieties of apples, including (but not limited to) – Tellisaare “,” Alwa “,” Suislepp “,” Liivi Kuldrenett “,” Krugeri tuvioun “,” Talvenauding “, and this gives a unique combination of acid, tannin, and sweetness. The cider professionals came to conclusion that the apples for the production of the specific type of cider must grow precisely in the climate and on the soil where cider will be produced.

Cidery Description:  Vohu winery, the producer of Scandinavian Cider, was built in 1967 in Laane-Virumaa county, Vohu village, Estonia, located in the south Baltic Sea shore. Variety of apples grown on the Baltic Sea shores, added to the Nordic traditions of cider producing, make Nordic ciders unique. Almost 50 years of experience gained by Vohu winery makes sure that the Scandinavian cider is consistent with both traditional recipes and modern requirements of the European Union.

Price:  ~$4 / single bottle
Where Bought:  Whole Foods
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I enjoyed Scandi Cider’s other two varieties and it is available in a relatively affordable (but small) single bottle, so it was an easy purchase to make.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of sweet pineapple and pear.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium bodied with a frothy mouthfeel.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of pear, pineapple, green apple, and lemon.  Quick finish.  Moderate pear flavor.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  This was a tasty dessert cider.  Definitely sweeter than their other two offerings, but pear ciders often are.  It tasted a bit on the commercial side though, and I could definitely tell that sugar was added.  I really enjoy the texture of their ciders, as well as the higher carbonation, which isn’t found too often here in the U.S.  This pear cider varies from most as they fermented the pear juice in addition to the apple juice.  It is more common to add unfermented pear juice to the fermented apple juice.  However, it is not a perry as apple juice was added.

Most Similar to:  This had some of the sweet pear-forward flavor of ciders such as Crispin Pacific Pear, NV Cider Pear Essentials, Flatbed Pear Cider, Wyder’s Dry Pear, Steelhead PeargatoryAngry Orchard Knotty Pear, and Bull Run Pear Ice Wine.  However, the texture and level of carbonation was completely different.

Closing Notes:  I’ve enjoyed all three of their ciders, but the Apple was my favorite.  I believe they only make those three varieties.

Interesting Tidbit:  Oddly enough this cider appears to be made in Estonia exclusively for export to the U.S.  Probably a smart business choice as if I had to guess, cider would fetch a higher price in the U.S. than Estonia, even considering the high costs of shipping and such.

Have you tried Scandi Cider?  What did you think?

Angry Orchard – Orchard’s Edge – Knotty Pear

Review of Knotty Pear, one of two new releases from Angry Orchard, part of their new Orchard’s Edge series, an “innovative line of ciders developed at the orchard”.  The series also includes The Old Fashioned, which I reviewed here.  This is their latest release since Stone Dry, part of their Core selection, which I reviewed here.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by  Angry Orchard.  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.<<

Cider:  Orchard’s Edge Knotty Pear
Cidery:  Angry Orchard
Cidery Location:  Walden NY (their R&D facility)
Cider Production Locations:  Cincinnati OH & Breingsville PA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples with pear juice & cardamom, oak aged

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Availability:  Year round, nationwide, released in late February

Cider Description:  Knotty Pear’s main ingredient is juice from American apples, and also features pear juice, which adds a new dimension to the cider, creating a pleasantly dry flavor. Cardamom imparts a slight spicy flavor. With subtle notes of citrus and mint.  This cider and showcases fresh acidity, lasting tannin, and a pleasantly dry finish from oak aging.

Apple Varieties:  Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith

Pear Varieties:  Bartlett, Doyenne de Comice, Bosc, D’Anjou

Ingredients:  Hard cider, water, cane sugar, pear juice from concentrate, malic acid, natural flavor, cardamom, carbon dioxide, sulfites

Price:  n/a (suggested retail of $10.99-$11.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Angry Orchard sent me two bottles of Knotty Pear and two bottles of The Old Fashioned (and my favorite, large quantities of bubble wrap!).  Oddly enough this was a couple weeks after I started seeing info about these online from folks trying it.  Things do take awhile to get to me in Seattle all the way from the East coast though.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow.  Nearly still.  Smells mild, of sweet apples & pears with a hint of herbal spice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, tannins, or funk.  Medium bodied.  Notes of sweet baked apples & pears, spice, citrus, and mint.  Moderate length finish.  Very low oak influence.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  The cardamom in this one is interesting.  It adds some complexity, but I’m not really a fan of the base pear cider, which is a bit fake/syrupy tasting.

Most Similar to:  The slight mint notes remind me of Jester & Judge Columbia Belle, although the flavor besides apple with that one is peach, not pear.  The base pear cider is rather similar to most commercial pear ciders I’ve had.

Closing Notes:   I think Angry Orchard is making an attempt at stepping up their game.  However, I’ll take them more seriously when the ingredient list doesn’t include water, sugar, and natural flavor.  I liked their The Old Fashioned better than this one.

Have you tried Angry Orchard Knotty Pear?  What did you think?

Original Sin Pear

Review of the Pear variety from Original Sin.  Note that this is pear cider (apple cider with pear juice added), not perry (made from 100% pear juice).

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Cider:  Pear
Cidery:  Original Sin
Cidery Location:  New York NY
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles

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Availability:  year round, in over 30 U.S. states, the UK, and Japan

Cider Description:  Two parts pear, one part magic.  A Dry cider fermented with champagne yeast.  Original Sin Pear Cider was developed in line with the company’s mission to produce traditional cider leaving out artificial flavors and additives. Original Sin Pear is light and refreshing with a clean, dry finish.

Cidery Description:  20th-century American ciders were sweet, syrupy – a far cry from the dry, crisp, revolution-inciting ciders of our country’s past.  Gidon Coll wanted to reconnect America to its roots by creating a traditional cider with the complexity to satisfy today’s discriminating palates.  But where to begin?  Coll immersed himself in the history and the craft of cider. He experimented. He brewed batch after batch in a small upstate New York winery. He sought counsel from a local wine expert and from the owners, bartenders and patrons of bars he frequented in New York City’s Lower East Side and East Village. He collected feedback from everyone he knew, adjusting and tinkering with his cider’s flavor until it was clean, crisp, and practically perfect.  Then he enlisted friends to painstakingly hand-label bottle after bottle. He lugged cases and cases in and out of NYC’s subways, delivering bottles to establishments of Manhattan and Brooklyn.  And it wasn’t long before Original Sin began receiving wide acclaim from sources as diverse as The New York Times, New York Post, Paper Magazine and Market Watch.  Today, you can find  Original Sin’s unique, award-winning ciders in over 30 states, as well as overseas in the U.K. and Japan. But it all started here in the U.S. — inspired by our country’s past: a clean, crisp, DEVILISHLY DELICIOUS cider for our future.  [founded in 1997]

Price:  ~$2 for a single bottle (runs $10 for a six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’d been wanting to review an Original Sin cider, and hadn’t tried this one.

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First Impression:  Almost clear, with a slightly yellow tint.  Smells of apples, pears, and citrus.  Highly carbonated.

Opinion:  Semi-dry.  Very fizzy and champagne-like.  However, the flavor is much more tart & tangy green apple with citrus than pear.  No bitterness.  Moderate acidity.  Light bodied.  No funk.  Some yeasty flavor.  I agree it is “light and refreshing with a clean, dry finish”, but I prefer a more boldly flavored cider.  I liked the carbonation level and the dryness though.

Most Similar to:  Portland Cider Pearfect Perry, which I tried on tap at the Schilling Cider House.  It was also rather mild with almost no pear flavor, but fizzy and refreshing.  That one however was a true perry (100% pear juice, Bartlett and D’Anjou), unlike Original Sin Pear.

Closing Notes:   Refreshing, but on the bland side and unimpressive.  Original Sin currently offers Apple, Apricot, Pear, Elderberry, Cherry Tree, Northern Spy, and Newtown Pippin varieties.  I’ve also tried the Elderberry and Cherry Tree, and would say they were also pretty average.  Original Sin’s ciders tend to be on the drier side of the 6 pack cider offerings.  They are an affordable and widely available craft cider option however, which is something to be commended.

Have you tried Original Sin Pear?  What did you think?

Neigel Vintners (NV) Half Past Prudent

Here is a review of a perry from Nieigel Vintners (NV) Cider, Half Past Prudent.

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Cider:  Half Past Prudent
Cidery:  Neigel Vintners (NV) Cider
Cidery Location:  Wenatchee, WA
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 250ml metal canisters
Availability:  very limited, likely only in WA (they started up in Feb 2014)

Description:  This was our first cider.  We originally created it to be a light cider we could drink all summer long.  Wanting to eschew the sugary summer beer alternatives, we created this for its simplicity.  The name comes from our first trial runs before the idea of a company was even formed.  Our 1902 press would produce this cider.  We would crank the press until we heard it start to creak and pop…a prudent place to end the press.  We would then crank it around one more half turn.  We take our virtues with a grain of salt.

Price:  $2.75 for a single bottle (the store split up the 4 pack)
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown (Seattle)
How Found: Browsing, noticing it after having tried their Pear Essentials variety
Where Drank:  home

First Impression: This cider is fairly pale, slightly cloudy with a small amount of sediment.  I pick up a citrus and mild pear scent.  My first taste is tart and fairly dry.

Opinion:  This is an interesting perry;  It breaks the mold of the fairly sweet varieties that are more common and that I’ve tried previously (Crispin Pacific Pear, Fox Barrel Pacific Pear, Spire Mountain Pear, Woodchuck Pear, Wyder’s Dry Pear, and even NV Cider Pear Essentials).  I think the main difference is that this is 100% fermented pear juice, no apple juice, and no back sweetening, which is what is typically offered.  This is more semi-sweet than sweet.  I don’t notice any carbonation.  I pick up an earthy lemony green apple champagney taste.  It is very smooth, but a bit too tart, dry, and even slightly bitter for my taste.  I really like the idea of it though, as I often like a slightly earthy & champagney cider.  I think it is mostly the tartness?

I first tried their perry at Snohomish on the Rocks, where I had Pear Essentials, which I prefer.  So, I guess I am not a cider traditionalist, as I often like the added flavor & sweetness from back sweetening done right (I don’t like ciders that tend towards syrupy).  If you are looking for a sweet but not too sweet very pear-like perry, than I’d recommend Pear Essentials.  Hopefully I can find that variety again.  I bought a large clear glass bottle of their Pear Essentials variety at the event, but this time their product was sold in a small metal canister (less than 9 oz).  Their newer packaging is pretty sweet looking, where the canister is more bottle-shaped…likely very eye catching in the sea of bottles & cans on the shelves!

Closing Notes: NV Cider offers five types of perry:  Half Past Prudent, Cider Baron, Pear Essentials, Pearfect Pie, and Forgotten Virtue.  Here is an interesting profile piece on NV Cider in Cider Craft Magazine.  Have you tried any perry from NV Cider?  What did you think?

Crispin Venus Reigns

I drank this interesting cider two weeks ago:

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Cider:  Venus Reigns
Cidery:  Crispin
Cidery Location:  Colfax CA
ABV: 6.9%
How Supplied:  22oz brown glass bottle

Description on Bottle:  The gift of the Golden Pear. To distract the gods while he stole fire for mortal man, Prometheus threw a Golden Pear into the courtyard of Olympus with the inscription, “For the most beautiful goddess”. This coveted pear was awarded to Venus, goddess of love, sensuality, and beauty. A goddess of nature, revered at springtime, the bringer of joy to gods and mortals. Venus Reigns caresses your lips with purity and charm. A soaring achievement of elegance and simplicity. Colfax golden pear wine aged to full maturity in specially selected red wine casks, finished with a gentle kiss of honey. Before pouring, give a solid bottoms-up tilt and swirl to disperse sediment evenly and best enjoy the complex aroma and bouquet. Best enjoyed at cellar temperature, 50/55F. With or without 1or 2 ice cubes.

Price:  about $9
Where Bought:  Total Wine
How Found: Hubby actually found this at the supermarket and texted to ask if I wanted it, but I said no because I don’t like red wine.  I’m surprised it was there as this is a limited release.  Later in the week we were browsing Total Wine and I saw it, did some research on my phone about the flavor profile, and thought, why not?
Where Drank:  home

Opinion:  This is the first barrel-aged pear cider I’ve seen, as well as the first wine barrel aged cider I’ve seen.  Quite the interesting combination.  Even though I don’t like red wine, I pushed myself to try it, as it sounded really interesting.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed it.  I really didn’t pick up too much wine flavor, although my wine drinking hubby did.  It did however have a considerable amount of sediment from the wine.  I think a lot of what we pick up in cider flavors is a matter of perception.  I was surprised to read this was aged 26 months–wow!

I picked up a lot of fruit/berry flavor, and could taste that it was a perry (pear cider) and was barrel aged (although I wouldn’t have guessed for so long).  I’d recommend it for wine lovers and folks just wanting something different.  As with many of these special release ciders, I’m glad I tried it, but don’t see a reason to buy it again.  I’ve had quite a number of other Crispin ciders, including their regular release Original, Pear, & Blackberry Pear, and special releases such as Honeycrisp, Bohemian, The Saint, & Steeltown.