Alpenfire Cider Glow

Review of Alpenfire Cider’s Glow rosé cider, made from red-fleshed Hidden Rose apples.  I’ve tried a number of their ciders; see here.  They also make a Methode Champenoise version of this cider called Cinders, which is quite different; see my tasting notes on that cider here.

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Cider:  Glow
Cidery:  Alpenfire Cider
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  750 ml bottles
Style:  American craft single varietal cider from Hidden Rose red-fleshed apples

These are actually a dessert apple variety (rare for Alpenfire, as they use primarily cider and heirloom apple varieties).  Hidden Rose apples are rare in the U.S. as the majority are shipped to Japan, where they can fetch $12-$15 per apple!  They tried to grow these in the Alpenfire orchard, but they weren’t thriving in the cool climate, so now they source them from Oregon, where the variety was discovered in the 1960s.

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Availability:  Likely only in Western Washington.  This is part of their Burnt Branch Reserve, so it also isn’t as prevalent as some of their other varieties such as Pirate’s Plank.

Cider Description:  Glow is a single varietal rosé cider.  The color in this unique cider comes not from the skin like in a wine rosé, but from the bright red flesh of the Hidden Rose apple.  This incredible apple makes a cider with a crisp acidity and a tropical fruit flavor.

Cidery Description:  Alpenfire Organic Cider is made from our estate and locally grown organic apples. We planted our WSDA certified organic orchard in 2004 with over 800 trees and 10 varieties of English, French & Early American cider specific apples. These apples have been used for hundreds of years for the unique qualities they bring to cider production. Namely the tannins and bitters not found in dessert style apples. While the juice, much less the fruit, of many of these apples would be hard to enjoy by the glass they become amazing with a little fermentation. One of our favorites, the “Muscadet de Dieppe”, has a viscous, winey, yes, even musky juice. It takes months of slow, cool fermentation for that to develop the subtle aroma and flavor you will find in our bone-dry cider. We augment our juice and mellow the flavors with organic apples from other local orchards.

Price:  $28
Where Bought:  the Alpenfire cidery (although it is available near me in the Seattle area)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I was there for a tasting (my first time trying Glow).  See my post here.

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First Impression:  Beautiful deep rosé hue.  Smells sweet & apple forward (reminds me of ice cider) and fruity (strawberries & watermelon).  Almost no carbonation upon pouring.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Moderate to high tartness when I first opened it, but after sitting overnight it was down to mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  A hint of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness.  Still.  Medium bodied.  Notes of sweet apple, cherry, strawberry, and watermelon.  The flavor starts tart and finishes sweet.  Moderate finish length.  Moderate to strong apple influence.  Low to moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I love how unique, flavorful, and fruity this is.  However, I like it better when it is lower tartness (I think the complexity can better shine through).  So, when I have this again, I’ll let it breathe first.

Most Similar to:  The only other rosé red-fleshed apple cider I’ve had is Snowdrift Red.  That one is closer to $20 and has greater distribution, but isn’t a single varietal.  I find Snowdrift Red to be slightly drier and much higher carbonated.  Both cider are fairly tart and very fruity.

Closing Notes:   Another winner from Alpenfire.  This is one of my favorites from them.  I think my absolute favorite however is Smoke.  I love that they make such a wide range of ciders, and have a real commitment to being a small artisan cidery who produces outstanding ciders (and vinegars).

Have you tried Alpenfire Glow?  What did you think?