By Erin James
Ain’t nobody know organics like Alpenfire Cider. As the only certified cidery in the state of Washington, Alpenfire also has been growing their own organic fruit since 2005 and received certification on their processors in 2009—much of the orchard being French and English cider varieties to boot. For owners Steve “Bear” and Nancy Bishop, there was no other way than the organic way. The impact of outside products on their property was against their beliefs, thus making cider with organic fruit and without sulfites only encouraged them to live cleaner and more attentively. Although the couple has recently planted some early American varieties on the orchard and a few perry pear trees, traditional variety, slow-ferment, big, bold ciders will continue to be the end result.
A perfect example of their craft is the Pirate’s Plank Bone Dry, a “brash” ode to the maritime men of their home in Port Townsend, Washington. Using Kingston Black, Vilberie, Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and some Granny Smith apples, this cider is as advertised. Seriously dry with red apple and earthy aromas of hay, dusty skin, wax and citrus peel all reveal as the glass warms. Unfiltered and bottle-conditioned, the palate is rich, robust but dry, like biting on a piece of smoked applewood—in a good, tannic, English pirate-y way.
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