Alpenfire Tempest New England Style

Review of Alpenfire Tempest, a newish special release, New England Style (with raisins & brown sugar, high ABV, aged).  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve had other New England Style ciders, and tried most of Alpenfire’s line-up (see here).

Photo Mar 16, 5 05 26 PM

Cider:  Tempest
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  10%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American artisan New England Style cider (4 week fermentation, tank aged 5 months, bottle conditioned)

Photo Mar 16, 5 05 34 PM Photo Mar 16, 5 05 54 PM

Availability:  special release in fall 2017 (55 cases), likely only available in Western WA, although they have online sales (but I didn’t see this one at the time of review)

Cider Description:  Alpenfire’s Tempest, a new release from the 2016 harvest. Phenolic and spiritous, rounded and warming. A proper fall cider, estate apples refermented with raisins and brown sugar. Create your own tempest in a tea cup with this winter warmer.

Apple Varieties:  Muscadet de dieppe, Kingston Black, Liberty, Republican, Democrat, plus many more

Cidery Description:  Alpenfire Cider, the West’s first certified organic cidery, growing traditional cider apples since 2003.  Family owned and operated.

Price:  $15
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium pumpkin orange amber.  Still.  Smells of bittersweet & heirloom apples with a hint of funk.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Low funk and tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  Notes of bittersweet apple, apple pomace, must, orange, and leather.  Long finish with a hint of sourness and an herbal quality.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high flavor intensity and complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  This really reminded me of English cider, with the cider apple flavor, slightly higher sweetness, and funk.  I loved the flavor and style.  It really had all my favorites qualities all in one package, which is rare (rich, complex, flavorful, mid level sweetness, cider apples, and higher ABV).  I’m also a fan of the 500ml bottles, as I’m more likely to buy them (plus it probably reduced the price of this cider from ~$20 to $15).

Most Similar to:  New England style cider isn’t too common so I’ve only tried four others that I can remember, but this is my favorite by far, likely due to its similarity to English cider.  Otherwise, Alpenfire Tempest was similar to Cockrell’s Colonial Winter, more flavorful & complex than Seattle Cider’s New England Style, less sour than Reverend Nat’s Providence, and more traditional than Tilted Shed’s Barred Rock.

Closing Notes:  I am really excited to try more of Alpenfire’s new releases, which have been very plentiful of late, as they are are my favorite Washington cidery.

Have you tried New England Style cider?  What did you think?

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Cockrell Colonial Winter

Review of Cockrell Brewing’s Colonial Winter, a New England style cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve previously had their Valley RedOriginalEdgewood HeirloomPub CiderJohanna StarCall Me Dusty, and Raspberry Habanero.

Photo Dec 17, 5 11 15 PM

Cider:  Colonial Winter
Cidery:  Cockrell Brewing
Cidery Location:  Puyallup WA
ABV:  9.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft New England style cider (fermented with brown sugar and raisins)

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Availability:  seasonably, in winter, likely only in WA (in general their ciders are sold at locations such as these)

Cider Description:  This traditional New England cider is produced with brown sugar and raisins for a full bodied winter warmer.  Think of our forefathers and enjoy!

Cidery Description:  Hand crafted Hard Apple Cider from our farm to your table.
They have a tasting room on their farm in Puyallup WA.  Also, here is an article on their opening in 2014.

Price:  ~ $11 ?
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA

Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, last year (this year’s release is available now).

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First Impression:  Moderate caramel amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells rich and sweet, of caramel, brown sugar, and raisins.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry (but I’m guessing it would measure higher and the acidity is balancing some of the sugar).  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of caramel, brown sugar, baked apple, raisins, orange, and a hint of oak.  Long warming acidic finish.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity and apple flavor.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  The flavor was especially awesome.  My only note would be that I would have preferred less tartness, but I think then the perceived sweetness would have ticked up.

Most Similar to:  Seattle Cider’s New England style cider, although that one wasn’t as intensely flavorful.  Also, Reverend Nat’s Winter Abbey Spice, although it had a bit of an odd sourness.  Or, for a much drier, modern, and subtle example of the style, Tilted Shed’s Barred Rock Barrel Aged.

Closing Notes:  This was a great cider choice for winter, and an excellent value too.  The next New England style cider I’d like to try is Alpenfire’s new release, “Tempest”.

Have you tried a New England style cider?  What did you think?