Pear UP Raspeary

Review of Pear UP’s Raspeary, a raspberry-flavored pear cider (technically a perry, as no apples were used, only pears, but many consumers wouldn’t recognize that term).  Note that Pear UP had previously gone by the name Neigel Vintners or NV Cider.  I previously sampled this at Cider Rite of Spring in Portland OR (see here).  I’ve also tried their Pear Essentials, Half Past PrudentCherry PerryWatermelon Perry, and Watermelon Raspberry Perry.

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Cider:  Raspeary
Cidery:  Pear UP Cider
Cidery Location:  East Wenatchee WA
ABV:  5.3%
How Supplied:  500ml green Aluminum bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft perry from dessert pears with raspberry extract

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Availability:  Washington and Oregon; see here.

Cider Description:  (none given; this appears to be one of their newer varieties, and isn’t listed on the website)

Cidery Description:  Neigel Vintners is a family affair.  Our cider company is run on our family property.  Some of the first pears we press each year come off of remnants of the first pears planted by the family.  Over 100 years old, these trees have had their heart-wood rot out and survived. There are several places a person can reach through the center of the tree with a hand. These trees have been a staple of the property for generations.

Price:  $4.63
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Cider tasting events, such as Cider Summit and Cider Rite of Spring

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow with a hint of pink.  Low carbonation.  Smells of syrupy sweet pear and raspberry.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of pear juice, dried pear, and raspberry extract.  High sessionability.  Moderate to high pear flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  This was a nice sessionable summer beverage.  However,  it was a bit syrupy and the raspberry was fake tasting (they use extract, which is actually quite common, even in craft cider).  I think a bit more carbonation and tartness could have helped balance those two things.  This is one of the few ciders I think wouldn’t be bad over ice, although I didn’t try that, as the bottle didn’t last very long and I was indoors.

Most Similar to:  Pear UP’s watermelon and raspberry-watermelon perries.

Closing Notes:  I enjoyed this less when I tried it previously (which may have been on draft?).  However, they make some tasty easy drinking perries for a reasonable cost.  I think they would do even better in this area with a multipack of cans, as that is the current trend, although not my personal preference.  I have heard that they are moving from 16.9oz to 12oz bottles, some sold individually (Aluminum) and some sold in multipacks (glass).

Have you tried Pear UP perries?  What did you think?

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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

Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidré Poire

Review of Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidré Poire, a French perry (made entirely from pears, no apples).  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve previously tried Dan Armor’s cidre.  I’ve also sampled some other French poires:  Christian Drouin PoireDomaine Pacory Poire Domfront, and Eric Bordelet Poire Authentique (plus an American French-style poire,  E.Z. Orchards Poire).

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Cider:  Poire
Cidery:  Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidré
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  French Poire (perry)

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Availability:  wide release at Trader Joe’s, since early 2017 (imported by Lattitude Wines, Danville CA)

Cider Description:  Cider made from fresh pears grown in the northwest of France, slowly fermented to create refreshing aromas and sweet flavors.  No sugar was added to this well-balanced cider and it is gluten-free.

Price:  $4.99
Where Bought:  Trader Joe’s
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had previously tried Dan Armor’s cider, and saw this for the first time.  At $5 it was an easy buy.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of syrupy sweet pear.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet (15g sugar / 8oz).  Medium to full bodied, with a smooth, creamy, and fizzy texture.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of canned pear, dried pear, and hints of pineapple & floral.  High pear flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this.  However, it was definitely on the commercial and easy to drink side, with less complexity than the other poires I’ve had (which admittedly have been from top cidermakers and high end prices to match).

Most Similar to:  Christian Drouin Poire (also semi-sweet and very pear-forward, but slightly more refined tasting and complex)

Closing Notes / random thoughts:   (1) Perry has significant unfermentable sugars, so even if completely fermented, it remains significant residual sugar (vs. cider, which with the right yeast will ferment to zero residual sugar).  Therefore you won’t see a dry perry.  Most are semi-sweet.  (2) Here in the U.S., typically the word perry should only be used if the beverage is only made from pears, and the term pear cider if it is an apple cider with pear juice.  However, often pear ciders are mistakenly called perries.  (3) I typically prefer French-style Poire to American perry.  Probably as many of the American perries I’ve had have been funky, and poire often has a really nice texture and complexity while remaining clean.  There have been a handful of American perries I have enjoyed though, like Locust Seckel Perry, Snowdrift Seckel Perry, and fruity perries from Pear UP (formerly NV Cider).

Have you tried French perry (poire)?  What did you think?

Dunkertons Organic Perry

Review of Dunkertons Organic Perry from England.  Perry is only made from pears (no apples).  I previously tried their Dry Organic cider.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Dunkertons.  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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Product:  Organic Perry
Cidery:  Dunkertons
Location:  Pembridge, Leominster, United Kingdom
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  Organic English perry

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Availability:  Dunkertons is just becoming available in the U.S. for the first time, so its probably not in stores quite yet, but look for it at finer bottle shops in the future (distributed through Winesellers, Ltd.).

Product Description:  A delicious sparkling Perry made from organically grown, Perry pears. Though relatively uncommon, the trees are easily identified in Herefordshire’s orchard landscape by their great height and cascading white blossom; some are over 300 years old. These mature trees can very often produce over a ton of Pears. Using a traditional press and mill (circa 1930) the cider is carefully made using time honored methods. Each variety of cider pear is fermented separately, stored and then blended a year after pressing.

It pours golden and slightly hazy with very gentle bubbles. The nose has over-ripe pear evanescence. The taste is buttery & biscuity with notes of peaches plus a touch of farmyard. A creamy mouthfeel with a good balance between initial sweetness and the dryness of the finish.

Pear Varieties:  Merrylegs, Red Horse, Moorecroft, Painted Lady, and Thorn

Cidery Description:  We make premium award winning organic cider and perry at our Cider Mill in Herefordshire.  Our success is down to our unique blending method using traditional varieties of organic cider apples and pears grown in our own orchards. We started making our ciders and perry in 1980.  We only ever use the finest tasting traditional varieties of certified organic apples and pears. It is this careful selection of fruit that gives our drinks the delicate and aromatic characteristics required to be award winning.

Price:  $9 retail
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow, slightly hazy.  Low carbonation.  Smells of sour citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied, slightly syrupy.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate sourness.  Low bitterness, funk, and tannins.  Notes of citrus (lemon and grapefruit), mineral, white grape, pear, and floral.  Long warming sour finish.  Moderate sessionability, pear flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  Well crafted and a good value.  It wasn’t to my personal tastes though due to the slight sourness.  However, I shared it with a few friends who tends towards liking sour ciders and they really enjoyed it.

Fun Facts:  Its often said to plant pears for your heirs, as it can take decades for a pear tree to bear fruit.  Also, perries don’t ferment fully dry like ciders can, as pears have unfermentable sugars (such as sorbitol), contributing to a higher residual sweetness.  More info on perry here.

Most Similar to:  WildCraft Cider Works Pioneer Perry, although more sweet and less sourness.  It had a subtle complexity similar to E.Z. Orchards Poire and Nashi Orchards Chojuro Blend.

Closing Notes:   Next up, Dunkertons Black Fox.

Have you tried Dunkertons Perry?  What did you think?

Portland Cider Company Strawperry

Review of Portland Cider Company’s Strawperry, a perry (made from 100% pears, no apples) with strawberries.  This is a summer seasonal for them (2nd year).  I’ve previously tried a number of their ciders; see here.

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>>This is a review of a sample provided to Cider Says by the Portland Cider Company.  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:  Strawperry
Cidery:  Portland Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  5.4%
How Supplied:  draft only
Style:  American craft perry (made from 100% pears) with fresh strawberries

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Availability:  Summer seasonal, limited release, draft only.  In general, their ciders are available in Oregon, Washington, California, and Colorado (see here), but this draft-only cider likely has less availability then their bottled varieties.

I have been able to determine it is currently on tap at least at the following places:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA, Portland Cider House (Hawthorne Portland OR), Portland Cider Company Taproom (Clackamas Portland OR),  Liberty Tapworks (Dalles OR), Oly Taproom (Olympia WA), and The Growlerie (Beaverton OR).

Cider Description:  With a base of our award-winning 100% pear juice Perry, we have blended NW strawberries to create a delicate, delightful cider for the summer.

Cidery Description:  Drink it, it’s good!  Portland Cider Company was started in the fall of 2012 by an Oregonian and a family of British expats with the mission of bringing handcrafted cider in the English tradition to the northwest. We don’t use concentrates, flavorings, colorings, or anything you wouldn’t want in your cider.  We just use the finest Northwest grown fruit. Always gluten free.

Price:  n/a
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Light pink-orange hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, fruity and tart.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry, kiwi, and honey.  Quick finish.  Low pear flavor.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  This is a great summer cider…fruity and sessionable (low ABV and easy to drink).

Most Similar to:  I’ve had two strawberry ciders, from Bull Run (Strawberry Fields) and Cider Brothers (William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Strawberry).  I find this similar to the Bull Run Strawberry Fields, except Strawberry Fields had a more intense flavor, and Strawperry is more complex.  I also find Strawperry similar to Atlas Dragonfruit, which also had strawberry & kiwi notes (but also a weird bitterness).

Random Side Note:  This cider holds the record as my most unique sample so far…I received it in a recycled swing-top bottle (its draft only so they didn’t have a typical capped & labeled bottle) and picked it up locally.

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I got a chance to try Strawperry–its a unique summer sipper.  I think this is one of my favorite Portland Cider Company ciders so far, along with their London Dry Gin.

Have you tried Portland Cider Strawperry?  What did you think?

NV Cider Watermelon Hard Pear Cider (Perry)

Review of NV Cider’s Watermelon Hard Pear Cider.  Its actually a perry as no apples were used, but I imagine they called it a pear cider as a lot of folks don’t know what perry is.  I’ve tried a few varieties from them before; see here.

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Cider:  Watermelon Hard Pear Cider
Cidery:  NV Cider (Neigel Vintners)
Cidery Location:  East Wenatchee WA
ABV:  5.3%
How Supplied:  500ml green Aluminum bottle
Style:  American craft perry with watermelon extract

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Availability:  WA and OR; see here.

Cider Description:  This is a perry made using native pear varieties from East Wenatchee, with watermelon extract.  Note that they refer to it as a pear cider, but that is typically reserved for beverages made from both apples and pears, often fermented apple juice with pear juice added afterwards.

Cidery Description:  Neigel Vintners is a family affair.  Our cider company is run on our family property.  Some of the first pears we press each year come off of remnants of the first pears planted by the family.  Over 100 years old, these trees have had their heart-wood rot out and survived. There are several places a person can reach through the center of the tree with a hand. These trees have been a staple of the property for generations.

Price:  $5
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Pale straw yellow with hints of pink.  Low carbonation.  Smells of fresh sweet watermelon, pear, and white grape.  The watermelon scent is quite strong at first but quickly dissipates.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low carbonation.  Low tartness but it has some bite.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pear, watermelon, white grape, strawberry, and rhubarb.  Quick finish.  Low pear flavor.  High sessionability.  Low flavor intensity/fruitiness.

My Opinion:  This was tasty, but it left me wanting more watermelon flavor.  Right after opening it had an awesome strong watermelon scent, but that diminished.  I know that watermelon juice isn’t very flavorful, but I think this would have been a great cider to leave fairly unfiltered, which likely would have made it easier to get the watermelon flavor.

Most Similar to:  NV Cider’s Cherry Perry, which was also a fruity perry (see my tasting notes here).  That one had a nice unfiltered aspect to it though, which I think helped add to the complexity.  I like watermelon more than cherry, but I think the Cherry was pulled off better.  The Cherry Perry was also sweeter, so I think that helped make it seem more flavorful.

Closing Notes:   I’m a huge watermelon fan, and although the flavor intensity was a bit lacking, it was an enjoyable perry.  I look forward to seeing what else they come up with.

Have you tried any perries?  What did you think?

EZ Orchards Poire

Review of EZ Orchards’ Poire, a French-style perry.  Note that perry (made only from pears) varies from pear cider (made from apples & pears).  I’ve tried a few varieties from them–Semi Dry, Roman Beauty, Hawk Haus.

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Cider:  Poire
Cidery:  EZ Orchards
Cidery Location:  Rickreall OR
ABV:  5.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle
Style:  French-style perry made from heirloom & dessert pear varieties

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Availability:  As seasonally available / while supplies last, at least in OR, WA, IL, and NY.

Cider Description:  Poire is named from the French word for “pear”, and is completely appropriate, natural and perfect for this uniquely delicious drink. EZ Orchards Poire is made entirely from estate-grown Forelle, Comice and Bosc winter pears—no apples. The fruit is carefully cleaned, milled and pressed. No yeast is added to the juice and no sulfites are added. Naturally-occurring yeasts are allowed to ferment over months at low temperatures. Finally, when the sugars are depleted—or nearly so—Poire is bottled and allowed to mature and condition. Like all EZ Orchards cider and cidre, it is never released until it is ready.

Cidery Description:  The Pioneers who settled Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the 1850’s must have marveled at their good fortune. The soil was rich, the water plentiful, the winters mild, and summers ideal, crops seemed to burst from the ground. For more than 150 years small family farms have dominated the Willamette Valley – one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the world. The Zielinski Family and E.Z. Orchards are part of this history and ongoing commitment to the land.

E.Z. Orchards Willamette Valley Cidre is the culmination of 10 years effort to develop our orchard and refine our fermentation technique. We grow a selection of French, English, and Early American apple varieties. The fruit contain essential characteristics, necessary to impart structure and aroma in our Cidre.

They use traditional French cider making methods–pressing their apples in a rack and cloth press, fermenting with wild yeast in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 4-6 months, and bottling before fermentation is complete to allow secondary fermentation to take place in the glass.

Price:  ~$9
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I remembered that although I haven’t had much luck with enjoying American perries, I have liked a couple French poires, so I thought I’d give it a try.

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First Impression:  Pale straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation with tiny bubbles.  Smells of juicy pear, mango, pineapple, lemon, mineral, and vanilla.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Frothy and creamy texture.   Moderate carbonation (more than visibly apparent).  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  A hint of tannins.  A hint of bitterness.  No sourness.  No funk.  Notes of juicy pear, mango, pineapple, lemon, mineral, and vanilla.  Compared to the scent, the pear was less intense and the tropical & citrus were more intense.  Moderate length finish.  Mild pear intensity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Refreshing for summer, with subtle complexity, and wine-like qualities.  I liked it, as did my husband.  This is the first American perry I’ve truly enjoyed.  Oddly enough I tend more towards pear ciders, as they typically are more flavorful (although less complex), although neither perry or pear cider is a favorite of mine.

Most Similar to:  Nashi Orchards Chojuro Blend Asian Pear Perry (it was also complex, wine-like, and semi-dry, although it had some sourness & funk).  The style of Poire seemed in between that of the American and French perries I’ve tried…the American Snowdrift Perry for example had a low flavor intensity, less complexity, and some bitterness…the French perry Domaine Pacory Poire Domfront for example was sweeter, richer, and higher carbonation.  Although this perry remained fairly dry, it was complex.

Closing Notes:   This was enjoyable.  Roman Beauty (cider) remains my favorite from EZ Orchards though.  I look forward to trying more from them–I think the only variety I haven’t tried is their Dry.

Have you tried EZ Orchards Poire?  What did you think?