[NAFEX] Herefordshire Apples

David.Maxwell at dal.ca David.Maxwell at dal.ca
Wed Nov 26 09:28:35 EST 2008


<SNIP>
> Perry is basically hard cider made from apples. I tried some while I was there but it 
> wasn't really to my taste. I'm more a fan of the clearer ciders like Ace. I'm not a fan of bitter 
> tastes, which I why I don't like beer. 
> Does anyone know whether perry has a history in the US? 

I suspect this was a mis-typing.  Perry is fermented pear juice, and in fact, to my taste, 
suffers precisely from a lack of tannin (and hence Spidra's "bitter taste"). I find it rather 
insipid.  Might Spidra be referirng to "scrumpy", which indeed is made from apples, and might 
best be described as "farmhouse cider"?  It is not carbonated, often rather turbid, and 
generally not very refined, often with a definite "bite".  What the Brits call cider is clear, 
pétillant, (that means sparkling), quite standardised and produced in large volumes by a few 
large companies, (rather like the way we brew brand-name beers in North America).
To answer Spidra directly, to my knowledge perry was never a significant product in America, 
and indeed was never more than a minor drink in Britain either.  Cider (or, as I prefer, 
"cyder", (to distinguish it from what is called cider here - ie. unfermented apple juice) was the 
workingman's drink, and in fact farm wages were frequently made up partially of a quantity of 
cider.  The cider industry in Britain was strongly encouraged during the wars between Britain 
and France, during which Britain was cut off from supplies of wine; cider was Britain's 
replacement.  And when the British settled North America they brought the taste for cuder 
with them.  Interestingly the early French settlers also brought with them a taste for cider, and 
planted apple orchards almost from the beginning (Samuel de Champlain, and Isaac de 
Rasilly both mention cider and apple trees for the production of cider in their writings, dating 
from the early 1600's).  Perry has never enjoyed the same status as the "standard" beverage, 
and has always been a minor beverage drunk in more refined circles.  This said, the 
production of perry has been taken sufficiently seriously that specific varieties of pears have 
been selected specifically for perry production, (just as a number of apple varieties are 
specific to the production of cyder, [and largely useless for any other purpose])

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