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?

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Cidrerie Daufresne Poire

Review of Cidrerie Daufresne’s Poire, a French perry.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had several other poires.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Winesellers, Ltd.  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:  Poire
Cidery:  Cidrerie Daufresne
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  Norman French poire (perry)

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Availability:  Semi wide release in the U.S. through Winesellers, Ltd.  Their cider portfolio also includes Manoir de Grandouet, Domaine de la Minotiere, & Le Brun from France, Dunkertons from England, and Sidra Asturiana Mayador from Spain.

Cider Description:  A perry pear is gritty, tannic and acidic, which makes it somewhat similar to acider apple. But that is where the similarities end. Perry pear tannins tend to be rounder than those found in cider apples, and the pears used for perry have less malic acid than cider apples, resulting in a beverage that is less tart and more delicate. The Daufresne Poiré offers clear, sparkling and persistent effervescence and aromas. Tastes of fresh pear fruit, hints of melon and citrus, natural sediments in glass, rustic with a clean pure sweetness, balanced by refreshing acidity.

Cidery Description:  Located in the heart of the Pays d’Auge, at the gates of Lisieux, we can discover the area of ​​5 D, with its cider house at the foot of the orchards hills, formerly called the Pré des Vignes, in reference to the vines formerly exploited on this parcel.  It is this beautiful south-facing exhibition that prompted Philippe Daufresne to plant his orchard in the 60s, instead of the old vines, for the production of his cider and calvados.  For 4 years, retirement requires, the domain was taken over by Ghislaine Davy, who is resolutely committed to a quality and elegance approach.  To develop the different cider products, 150 tons of apples are brewed each year on the estate.

The apples come from the orchards of the cider house but also from the different orchards around, which multiplies all the varieties used: Germaine, Blangy cemetery, red binet, bisquet, St Martin, Christmas fields, President descourt, windmill, mettais, rambault, and many others…  In order to give each product a balanced aromatic bouquet, the varieties are carefully selected to find the right balance between the freshness of tart apples, the delicacy of sweet apples, and the corpus of bitter apples.  The Daufrresne cider is a must at the tables of the Côte Fleurie. Well known to the Parisian resort clientele, he is regularly awarded at the Paris General Competition, with this latest gold medal at the Paris 2017 general competition.

Price:  n/a (retails for $12)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer contacted me

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow.  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells of canned pear, sulfur, and funk.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low funk.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of canned pear, dried pear, green apple, and pineapple.  Moderate length finish.  High pear flavor and sessionability.  Moderate complexity and flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Very juicy and fizzy.  The scent was off-putting at first, but it dissipated, and didn’t transfer to the flavor.

Most Similar to:  Christian Drouin Poire, as it is of similar sweetness and flavor notes (although it is cleaner than Cidrerie Daufresne’s Poire, which has some funk).

Closing Notes:  I also have a cider from Cidrerie Daufresne to try.

Have you tried French poire?  What did you think?

Le Brun Poire

Review of Le Brun Poire, a French perry.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had Le Brun’s Brut and Organic cidres (and several other poires).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Winesellers, Ltd.  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:  Poire
Cidery:  Le Brun
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  Breton French poire (perry)

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Availability:  Semi wide release in the U.S. through Winesellers, Ltd (new to their portfolio as of October 2017).  Their cider portfolio also includes Manoir de Grandouet, Domaine de la Minotiere, & Cidrerie Daufresne from France, Dunkertons from England, and Sidra Asturiana Mayador from Spain.

Description:  LeBrun Cidres have been produced in Brittany, France since 1955.  Cidres are made using the traditional method of natural fermentation of pure pressed juices from handpicked pears. It all starts with the fruit. The cidery selects superior quality pears.

The orchards are carefully looked after until maturation of the fruits. The pears are picked by hand in order to prevent any damage. Preparing the fruit before cider making is always a process. The pears are collected and aged in special wooden cases for about 3 weeks in order to enable the fruit to slightly dehydrate and concentrate its aromas. The pears are then ready to be mashed. Once this is done, the result (pulp plus juice) is left to rest in a tank. This helps balance the taste profile of the future perry by sweetening possible harsh overtones. The pulp/juice is pressed again to get pure juice.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $10)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer/distributor contacted me

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of candied dried pear and lemon.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  A hint of tannins.  Notes of dried pear, candied pear, lemongrass, green apple, and honey.  Moderate length finish with lingering lemon.  Moderate pear flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Great!  I was surprised with the dryness, lightness, and sharpness, as I was expecting something that was sweeter, fuller bodied, and lower acidity, like the others I’ve tried.  Perries are usually on the sweeter end as pear juice has unfermentable sugars (sorbitol).  I liked it however, especially the complexity.  This would be especially nice in summer, at only 4% ABV (and its really affordable too).

Most Similar to:  Not anything I’ve tried.  The other poires I can remember trying were semi-sweet, such as from Christian DrouinDan Armor (the sweetest of these), Domaine Pacory, and Eric Bordelet (the driest of these).

Closing Notes:  This is a great addition to Le Brun’s U.S. lineup, which already has “Brut” and “Organic” varieties of cider.  Winesellers also offers a French perry / poire from Daufresne, which I will be trying soon.

Have you tried Poire?  What did you think?

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?

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?