Three Local Winter Seasonal Ciders Perfect for the Holidays

Photo courtesy of Snowdrift Cider

Although it’s already felt like it for months, winter is upon us. Just as assuredly as that means frosty weather and long nights, there’s something else synonymous with the season that we actually look forward to—winter beers. This time of year you’re probably used to seeing winter beer lists filled with robust porters, creamy stouts, and caramelly ales.

But what about the cider lovers out there? What do they have to look forward to? While not as common as their beer counterparts, winter ciders are slowly increasing in number. Here are three local offerings for cider drinkers to get excited about this winter.

Seattle Cider

Photo credit to BrewBound

The 4-month-old cidery’s second seasonal cider, New England Style, is a throwback to the days of the new world settlers. A blend of Granny Smith, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Gala apples fermented with brown sugar and raisins, the New England Style cider is mahogany in color and offers notes of vanilla, oak, and a clean toast. Combine that with a 9.5% ABV and you’ve got the perfect cider for the cold weather. You can find 22 oz. bottles of the New England Style cider at Seattle bottle shops and grocery stores, such as Chuck’s Hop Shop, Beer Junction, and Whole Foods.

Alpenfire Cider

Photo credit to Alpenfire Cider

Over on the peninsula, Alpenfire Cider’s Flame Brute cider is aged and matured for a full year and released just in time for the holiday celebrations. Made primarily with bittersharp Foxwhelp and bittersweet Muscadet de Dieppe apples, Flame is made in the “Methode Champenoise” tradition, utilizing the champagne-making process of a secondary fermentation in-bottle. This gives the cider a crackling carbonation with bright acidity and dryness.

For Alpenfire owners Nancy and Steve “Bear” Bishop, Flame’s earthiness and mineral finish bring back memories of skiing the Mount St. Helens backcountry, in the days when you could still drink water from an icy river full of glacial melt.

Even though Alpenfire Cider is located in Port Townsend, you can pick up Flame in bottle shops and specialty retailers around Seattle, including Downtown Spirits, Bottleworks, Full Throttle Bottles, and Capitol Cider. You’ve gotta be quick though—only 10 cases were released for the holidays. 7.25% ABV.

Snowdrift Cider

Photo credit to Snowdrift Cider

This year, Wenatchee’s Snowdrift Cider released their first ever winter seasonal, appropriately named Winter Red. Made entirely from red flesh apples, Winter Red is a crimson red cider with bright acidity and mild sweetness, packed with flavors of cranberries, watermelon, rhubarb, strawberries, kumquat and lime. In-bottle maturation in the “Methode Champenoise” process completes it with a delightful sparkle and additional layers of complexity.

Winter Red is still available on tap at a few locations around Seattle: Beveridge Place Pub, The Noble Fir and Capitol Cider, but it’s going quickly! 9.0% ABV.

Author: Jon Young

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