Review of Forte from Herb’s Cider, a keeved cider from golden russet apples. Keeving is a French cidermaking process which leaves the apple pulp and skin with the juice to start fermenting, creating a pectin gel layer which traps nitrogen, which in combination with low temperatures starves the juice of nutrients to completely ferment to dry, slowly creating a naturally sweet cider (see here for more info). I tried this at Cider Summit a couple weeks ago (see here), plus I’ve had their Triplet Special Reserve, Blue Note Heirloom Blueberry, 7/4 Traditional Bittersharp, Crescendo Cox Orange Pippin SV, and Cider Summit Fruit Challenge Plum Jerkum.
Cidery: Herb’s Cider
Cidery Location: Bellingham WA
How Supplied: 750ml bottles
Style: American organic craft keeved cider from Golden Russet heirloom apples
Availability: limited release, and probably only in Washington
Cider Description: A single varietal cider made from organic Golden Russet apples. Keeved using traditional methods to result in a naturally sweet cider and wild fermented at very low temperatures for several months. Aged in French oak puncheons.
Cidery Description: Herb’s Cider is a craft cider produced by world renowned drummer, Tim “Herb” Alexander and award-winning Cider Maker, Chris Weir. Herb’s is located in the heart of Bellingham, Washington. We use only 100% ORGANIC Pacific Northwest fruit for our sophisticated, bright, effervescent and flavorful ciders. We are dedicated to the craft of fine cider making and use only traditional methods. We do not add sugars (back-sweeten) or anything to flavor our end products. Tim and his wife, Shama, fermented their first batch of cider in their garage in the fall of 2016. It was a blend of Ambrosia / Gravenstein apples and Japanese Pears, leftover from their garden after a bumper crop. They couldn’t give enough apples away and didn’t want the apples to rot. Instead, Tim went out and rented an apple press. The rest is history….
Price: ~ $20
Where Bought: Cider Summit Seattle 2019
Where Drank: home
How Found: tasting
First Impression: Medium straw yellow hue. Low carbonation. Smells sweet, of pineapple.
Tasting Notes: On the sweeter side of semi-dry. Light bodied, with a fluffy texture. Moderate tartness and acidity. No bitterness, sourness, or funk. Hints of tannins. Notes of tart green & rich heirloom apple and tropical fruit, with a creamy mouthfeel. Moderate length finish, flavor intensity, complexity, sessionability, and apple flavor.
My Opinion: I really enjoyed it. Super unique, and the sweetest of all their offerings I’ve tried so far. I had no idea you could keeve non-bittersweet apples, so that’s pretty cool.
Most Similar to: This is sweeter than three Golden Russet single varietals I’ve tried, from Finnriver, Liberty, and Wandering Aengus, and was more tropical fruity than earthy/buttery/starchy.
Closing Notes: My husband smartly recommended I pick up 2 bottles, because whenever I buy 1 bottle of something I really liked at an event, I don’t want to open it, because then it’ll be gone. So, the good news is I still have another bottle left!
Have you tried keeved cider? What did you think?