Pirate’s Plank is a scrumpy-style cider, meaning it’s made with “traditional methods” (to wit: raw and unfiltered in this case) usually in smaller batches, and often tannic whether dry or sweet.
Living up to its name and scrumpy style, it does actually taste a bit like drinking a plank of wood, if one could achieve such a feat without splinters in really unfortunate places.
I’m not complaining; it’s pretty much the cider that comes to mind in a positive way when I think of very dry ciders. It’s a cloudy gold and really fizzy — pours several inches or so of head out of the bottle. The flavor and aroma are consistent with each other: slightly musty, lightly spicy, definitely bone dry and woody but not too bitter, lingering in the nooks and crannies of your mouth.
Pirate’s Plank uses mainly cider apples — Kingston Black, Vilberie, Dabinett, Yarlington Mill — with only Granny Smith represented from the dessert apple category, and it comes in at a respectable 6.9% ABV.
Alpenfire has pretty solidly positioned themselves as a higher-end brand, running more expensive than many other ciders but with a higher quality expectation to match. I imagine in part it’s simply because most (all?) of their stuff is organic.
I’ve never had a bad cider from them, though, and their packaging is always classy, with bottles wax-dipped or given other design treatments that manage not to cross over into being ostentatious.
Locate some Pirate’s Plank or another Alpenfire product to try for yourself here!