Monday, 24 January 2011

2011 - The Year of Perry

All that sampling of perrys on Friday gave me a bit of a thirst. As luck would have it, it was a thirst for more Perry!

One of the great advantages of making your own perry, is that should you get a craving for a glass, there's usually a bottle or two to hand. Good quality cider is now easier to find than ever (albeit mostly over-sweetened and overly commercial in style), but good perry is still as rare as hens teeth outside of its homeland of the Three Counties and Welsh Borders. The supermarket offerings are generally very poor, mostly Pear Ciders as opposed to anything truly Perry-ish. Waitrose Stores are probably your best bet for finding decent perry. They usually have the reliable, half decent, Westons Perry (and the Pear Cider too for some reason!), as well as their own-brand Waitrose Perry (which is probably also by Westons). But if you're really lucky, you'll find the truly excellent Dunkertons Organic Perry, and of course many of our local Waitrose stores are now selling the very fine Hogans Vintage Perry. Allan Hogan has now started to export his ciders and perry to the USA. I just hope our transatlantic cousins don't get too much of a taste for his perry, there's only so much to go round!

Which brings me to our own dwindling stocks of perry. We ran out of our delicate and delicious Blakeney Red Perry way back in the Summer (note to self: must bottle more Blakeney this year), and the rather nice 'Mystery Perry' is long gone (there's really no mystery where that went!). Which leaves us with a small cache of Malvern Hills, bottled and maturing nicely in the ciderhouse, and the last couple of bottles of Green Horse Perry.

Dusty from the pantry, the Green Horse poured with the same opaque, pearly colouring it had when it went in the bottle. Green Horse is one of those pear varieties that produce a naturally hazy perry, resolutely refusing to clear, not for me, not for anyone. For my taste, we really can't make enough of this perry. It's a real Summer refresher. Sharper than the other perrys, with a delicious juicy citrus flavour. Perhaps a little too thin for a true Single Variety perry, but distinctive and delicious nevertheless. It also goes very well with food.

I'll be taking some of this along to an East Midlands cider and perry tasting which I'm running for members of Rutland CAMRA. The last of the draught Malvern Hills will be making an appearance at the forthcoming Hucknall, and Leicester beer festivals (details on the right), and from there on in, our new-season perrys will be available throughout the Summer.

I'm on a mission to sample as many delicious perrys as I can find this year. It's too rare and special not to, so why not join me, and make 2011 your 'Year of Perry' too.

No comments: