From the website: “NORTHWEST BREWING NEWS “2010 BEST CIDER” Walk the plank with this Port Townsend special Cider! Bold • Brash • Tannic. No Apologies Cider! It’ll rob you of your misconceptions. Unfiltered, bottle conditioned, raw-unpasteurized & gluten free. Kingston Black, Vilberie, Dabinett, Yarlington Mill, Granny Smith”
- Appearance: Golden, Cloudy
- Aroma: Cidery
- Taste: Cidery, Tart, Acidic, Dry
Background: Alpenfire is from Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula and is Washington’s first Organic cider. They grow a combination of traditional English and French cider apples as well as American heritage apples and 5 types of perry pears. Aplenfire ciders are produced with traditional European techniques like unfiltering, unpasteurizing, bottle conditioning, not sulfiting, and in the case of their Organic Flame Brute the Champagne Method.
First Taste is: This is amazing cider! When you first sip this cider it hits the inside of your mouth with a bit of a bubble explosion similar but slightly less than the French ciders I’ve had. As you hold the cider in your mouth it allows you the time to take in the full delicious flavours; farmhouse funk, cidery, woody, winey and lemon. This cloudy scrumpy style dry cider starts naturally effervescent with a slightly acidic middle and finishes with luscious bold tannins. I did notice a slight Granny Smith apple note as an after-taste which was a perfect complement to the more traditional tannic cider apples. I am honestly blown away…
What’s in it? Apples. No Sulfites, No Sobate, No Carbonation, No Sucrose…just Apples.
Overall: Really Amazed! I had a tough time pinning this down as a completely English styled Cider. It had some French elements, notably the bubbly mouth feel. Everything else is very English; the scrumpy-style cloudiness, the farmhouse funk, the smokey-woody notes and even the apples (less the Vilberie which is French) are traditional English varieties. I was really blown away with this cider. This is the type of cider that gives me hope for the future of North American Cider… I think Christopher Lehault from Serious Eats said it best, “this makes you think about how cider would have been in North America 200 years ago”. Unpasteurized, unfiltered, bottle conditioned and without the addition of sulphites really let’s this cider shine. If you like yours dry and full of tannins or if you want to try something that is very authentic search this one out today!
Would I buy it again? Absolutely. The two I really want to try next are the Organic Flame Brut made with in a Methode Traditionelle (Champagne) style and the Ember Bittersweet which is a late harvest cider from apples grown in low nitrogen soil…awesome!
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
X-factor: Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and unfreaking believable! I’m upset I didn’t pick up more of Alpenfire’s cider while I was in the US. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more of their ciders in the future. This is a cider house to keep your eye out for…
Full Disclosure: My wife wasn’t a big fan of this cider, and went happily back to her Woodchuck Amber and American Idol…I guess her good taste only goes as far as men…