Cider and Perry Tasting Part 1

Before I even begin I am going to have a short rant about the term “pear cider” which has become so popular of late.  I hate it.  There is already a term to describe a cider made from pears, it’s PERRY!!!!  The term perry seems to have got a bit of a bad reputation thanks to such classy beverages as Lambrini and Charlemange, but until the wonderful cider revival/revolution came along in the last few years cider didn’t have such a great reputation either (I’m thinking underage kids and white lightning…..).  Anyway I think this is what may be leading companies to go for “pear cider”.  I am aware that this new breed of “pear cider” aren’t really perry, there tends to be a lack of actual pears in the creation, with the drink being made form juice concentrate, but I still hate the term, it smacks of dumbing down, people only need to be told once that perry is like cider but from pears, I’m sure they could remember the term.  Btw – I’m drafting this post in Microsoft word and it won’t believe me that perry is a real word – argh.  Apologies, that wasn’t that short.

Rant over, onto the point of this post.  I like both Cider and Perry (and the other fruity derivatives of which more seem to arrive all the time), I’ve always enjoyed them and now, since my taste has managed to evolve from the half of strongbow and black of my skint student days to what I would now call real ciders (as in real ales, btw strongbow is not real cider, it’s a collection of chemicals and colours and doesn’t taste of apple, but thats another rant for another day), I thought I’d review some of the ciders and perrys available in the supermarkets these days (not strongbow!, although maybe another day…).

Onto the tasting and I thought I’d break up the full range tasted to try and not appear alcoholic so this round has 5 selections: 3 perry’s, a cider and a fruit/perry mix (not all consumed on the same night of courseJ).

St Helier Pear Cider – 5%vol, 500ml bottle, 2.5 units – Usually around £1.70 a bottle, bought from Lidl on offer at £1 a bottle (bargain!)

A pale yellow with a hint of orange this had a confusing mixture of sweet and bitter tastes at once with more than a hint of pear drops (not the most natural pear flavour I know) which was very unusual.  It was clean on the palate with no real aftertaste, making it extremely easy to drink, which combined with the curious pear drops flavour meant the bottle disappeared quite quickly as I tried to decide if I liked it.  By the end of the bottle I loved it and I’m going to get some more, I don’t think this would be one for everyone although but I do recommend you give it a go for the novelty at least 6/10

St Helier Raspberry and Lime Cider – 5%vol, 500ml bottle, 2.5 units – Again bought from Lidl on offer at £1 a bottle

This is a pear cider with “raspberry and lime flavour”, no mention of juice, and it has to be the scariest looking cider I have ever seen.  It’s florescent!  After pouring this into a glass and seeing the Barbie colour I was worried that this drink would match its taste to its colour and be disgusting, but to my surprise it was nice and actually not as sweet as the straight pear variety.  As with the pear the taste was clean and crisp and the sharpness of the raspberry and lime did come through, although if I was blind testing I think I would have a hard time identifying the flavours as such.  One to drink from the bottle I think! 7/10 provided you don’t have to use a glass (I’m a girl and even I would be embarrassed to be seen drinking a cider this pink!)

Kopparberg Pear – 4.5%, 500ml can, this usually costs about £2.10 a bottle (I found my can hiding somewhere from back when IKEA sold them and I know I didn’t pay that much!)

I remember first trying Kopparberg a few years ago at a local food fair before it became the hit drink it was now.  I liked it then (I had a sweet tooth when I was younger) but I have it say that trying this now for the first time in quite a while I found it sherbety (as in like sherbet!), I think the label is lying when it claims to be half dry!!!!  It’s not unpleasant, but I would say that it shares more with an alcopop than with perry or cider.  When you get it in a glass there is very little colour and almost no aftertaste.  Again, exceptionally easy to drink which probably goes some way to explaining its popularity.  For me, it’s a bit too sweet and very overpriced 5/10

Westons Premier Organic Pear Cider – 6%, 500ml bottle, 3.5 units, around £1.80 a bottle

This drink really was a medium dry and was a lovely straw colour.  Perry is naturally sweeter than cider and this still had a sweetness too it, but it was a lot more restrained and had a more natural taste than in drinks above, more of a fruitiness than a sugariness.   It felt quite grown up and had a clean dry finish 8/10

Thatchers Katy – 7.4%, 500ml bottle, 3.7 units, £1.67

Can I start by saying that I do not get units, I go by the percentage!  I’ve give the units when they appear on the bottle and I’ve just seen that for the bottle above at 6% the units were given as 3.5 and yet this is 1.4% stronger and only 3.7units – this does not make sense to me!   Units correct or not, at 7.4% and being a little lady myself this is not a bottle for a work night.  Unsurprisingly this had a bit of an alcohol bite to it.  Katy is one of Thatches single variety ciders, and is made from, surprise surprise, Katy apples.  It’s got a very deep golden colour and although it also claims to be a medium dry, it’s on the drier side of this description.  It’s smooth and crisp and as a nice fruity smell, but feels somehow that it is lacking on the taste in some way 7/10

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5 Responses to “Cider and Perry Tasting Part 1”

  1. andyroberts Says:

    I preferred the rant to the choice of ciders.

    http://www.ukcider.co.uk/

  2. Cider and Perry Tasting Part 1 (via Rhi’s Foodie World) « Cider Says:

    […] Before I even begin I am going to have a short rant about the term “pear cider” which has become so popular of late.  I hate it.  There is already a term to describe a cider made from pears, it’s PERRY!!!!  The term perry seems to have got a bit of a bad reputation thanks to such classy beverages as Lambrini and Charlemange, but until the wonderful cider revival/revolution came along in the last few years cider didn’t have such a great reputation … Read More […]

  3. Christine Storer Says:

    I totally agree with the “pear cider ” thing, I have been on about it for some time. Our branch of CAMRA hs a Cider & Perry festival in September and are constantly being asked by “novice” drinkers if they can try some of this non existant beverage! But we are there to educate, and so we do. After a few tasting samples and a chat, they go away a lot wiser and happier ( if not a little wobblier!) with a REAL perry of their choice.
    Another thing we have to do is put a notice on our Cider bar; “PLEASE DO NOT ASK FOR IT OVER ICE!!!”.

    • rhiannong Says:

      The ice thing is so frustrating, why would you want to dilute and dull the flavour! A fridge easily makes things cold enough and slightly warm cider is no bad thing. Whenever I order cider out they always give me funny looks when I refuse a glass full of ice….heathens

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