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They say a change is as good as a rest, and I’m sure they are right – whoever “they” might be, so last Sunday I swapped the glass of beer I usually enjoy with my dinner, for something a bit different.

Sunday’s choice was a bottle of vintage perry that I bought a few weeks ago in Waitrose. It was on special offer, otherwise I might not have bought it, but even if it hadn’t been reduced in price, it still represented value for money. More to the point, it turned out to be an excellent drink.

For some reason I’ve always been a little wary of both traditional cider and perry. It’s a lot to do with the strength of these drinks; perceived or actual, but my uneasiness goes back much further than that. I’ll explain exactly why in a subsequent post, but for the moment, I’m pleased to report that I really enjoyed my bottle of perry the other day.

Brewed in partnership with the renowned and long-standing cider maker, H. Weston & Sons, Waitrose’s No. 1 English Vintage Perry is produced with 100% freshly pressed pear juice obtained from a single year’s harvest – hence the name “vintage.” The juice is then matured in old oak vats, to bring out all the complex pear flavours. The result, a refreshing and lightly sparkling perry which, despite weighing in at 8% abv, is a very quaffable and easy to drink beverage and just the right accompaniment for a roast pork dinner.

Now I have had the odd glass of perry before, but from memory it was rather dry, cloudy and overall, on the rough side, so this Waitrose/Weston’s collaboration was quite an eye opener. I shall certainly be looking out for more and will be giving other brands of perry a try as well, especially as the drink is said to possess flavours that are typically more delicate than cider.

Perry is also reputed to be harder to make than cider, which might explain the relative rarity of traditional perry. Whatever the case, last weekend’s bottle certainly made an interesting change from my normal beer.
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