We haven’t reviewed hard cider in a few years so we grabbed a Fox Barrel from Viking Liquor up in Reedsburg. I was intrigued by the label since it declared that it was flavored similarly to a Belgian ale. Fermented by Belgian Wit yeast which is fed honey, Fox Barrel is also mixed with orange peel and coriander for complexity.
The pour is a pale yellow and noses a bit of yeast and a bit of honey, but mostly pear. I was expecting a sweet pear flavor, which I got upfront, but was surprised on the heavy tide of coriander on the finish. Honey is present throughout, although the finish almost makes Fox Barrel savory. The orange peel bitterness is lost; in fact, there isn’t much pf a trace of orange in it at all, which isn't a detriment since the lack of bitterness and acid allows for summer day-drinking last all day long without gut rot.
Now, it looks like Fox Barrel themselves are no longer. They have sold out to Crispin, so to try their version of this pear hard cider, you have to look for Lion Belge pear cider under the Crispin label.
As for a cocktail using this pear cider, try a shandy made with your favorite lager 1 to 1 with pear cider (known as a Snakebite). Or replace the pineapple juice with pear cider in a modified Pepper Pot. Recipe below.
5 ounces chilled pear hard cider
1 ounce amaretto
3-5 dashes Tabasco (or muddled Jalapeno)
splash freshly-squeezed lemon juice
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch curry powder
Pour all ingredients, except curry, into an iced highball glass. Stir gently. Top with curry if desired.