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).
Cidery Location: Port Townsend WA
How Supplied: 500ml bottles
Style: American artisan New England Style cider (4 week fermentation, tank aged 5 months, bottle conditioned)
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.
Where Bought: Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank: home
How Found: browsing
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?