From juicy delicious pear to perry? Science or art? Is it similar to making apple cider? Are you curious? We were! Sharing what we learned in our investigation of this process with you.
There is a Difference …
“Two types of perries are on the market — modern and heritage — according to the United States Association of Cider Makers, a national trade association. Modern perry is made with dessert fruit — pears like Bosc, d’Anjou and Bartlett or others you would buy to eat — while heritage perries are made with pears specifically selected for their astringent, bitter and tannic qualities.”from Perry is the Cider Lover’s Drink You’ve Never Heard of by Samantha Bakall for the Oregonian
Samantha Bakall’s article goes on to say that it is difficult to find “heritage” producers here in the United States because the best pears for making it are not easy to find here. In fact, it requires special types of pears and they grow for 4-5 years before being able to produce a sufficient crop to support these production efforts.
Many refer to the process of crafting perry as a fickle one that is definitely worth the effort. The few Pacific Northwest heritage perry producers find their efforts rewarded by increasing demand for their tasty creations.
Art or Science?
Perry is a light refreshing beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries. Therefore, it has been made for centuries, right? Still, modern manufacturing has seemingly touched everything. So, the correct answer is both.
Some folks and smaller manufacturers still craft perry the “tried and true” labor intensive way. While modern perry producers typically rely on standardized yeast and blending to create their expected signature flavors repeatedly.
Is it crafted like apple cider? Yes, the process is similar; however, there are distinct differences because of the fruits differences. For example as Old Scrump’s Cider House of the United Kingdom says on their website, it is much more critical to allow pears to ripen naturally prior to beginning the perry making process than it is with apples intended to make cider. This natural ripening procedural step allows the pear flavor to be imparted to the perry. Without this pause for ripening, you would have a much less flavorful or enjoyable drink. Truly this is where experience and learning from a skilled maker would be beneficial.
Pears vs. Apples
Pears and apples are similar fruits in most people’s minds; however, they are different fruits with different chemical compositions. Old Scrump’s Cider House sums up the difference succinctly with “perry pears tend to have a high sugar content than cider apples.” Even though the pears’ sugar content is greater, it doesn’t all ferment as it does in apple cider. There is a proportion of sorbitol that will remain in perry that yields a fuller flavor and lasting sweetness.
Tannins in apples give the cider made from them a touch of sourness or bitterness. Pears intended for perry making can also have citric acid in them. This can make the resulting taste sharper or brighter than with cider.
Additionally, these differences can highlight the level of craft utilized in creating the beverage with the resulting aroma. Ciders have a much stronger smell. The aroma of delicious pear beverage is more delicate and telling of faults in its creation. Modern blending can be used to enhance or to cover some of these flaws.
As mentioned, Old Scrump’s Cider House has a terrific article outlining in greater detail the perry making process. We recommend you read it if you would like more of the science behind this delicious beverage being created.
Want to Try This at Home?
If you feel up to the task of creating your own perry at home, there are resources to help you. Please share how your efforts turn out with us. We wish you luck!
Also, we recommend you read:
If you are interested in importing American made pear ciders or perry, contact us. We have some terrific producers in our portfolio who create both pear and apple ciders. We would be glad to supply you with some.