Monday, September 4, 2023

Cider Review: Albemarle Ciderworks Brut D'Albemarle Hewes Crab

We’re back to warm weather for this week, but it feels like a lingering goodbye rather than anything more lasting. I’m still moving slowly in a boot, but I’m managing more than I did last week. One evening this week, it felt right to pull something special out of the fridge and I chose Albemarle Ciderworks’ Brut D’Albemarle Hewes Crab. 

I may be a Wickson girl through and through, but my tall co-taster Alex feels almost as passionate about the Hewes Crab. He’s not wrong. This apple always brings some amazing flavor and intensity to a cider. Our expectations were high from the moment we got this cider as a gift from the kind folks at the cidery.

Here are my earlier reviews of Albemarle Ciderworks’ ciders. The newest ones are first. There’s more background information about this Virginia cidery in these, and you’ll find the most in the earliest reviews. 


Brut D’Albemarle Harrison:


Ragged Mountain:

Royal Pippin:

Pomme Mary (a Top Ten cider from 2013):

I recommend visiting the Albemarle Ciderworks website to learn more about the ciders and happenings at the cidery:

Here’s what I could find online about this cider!

A bottle conditioned cider that is very similar to an apple champagne. Great for that special celebration!

Alcohol 10.00%

And just a little more detail.

Notes from the CiderMaker: Brut d’Albemarle is a bottle conditioned cider made in a Champagne style. A single varietal of the Virginia Hewes Crab was fermented in stainless steel and bottled with a small dose of yeast and sugar. The resulting cider is more carbonated than our usual offerings making it a great bubbly beverage for special occasions and celebrations.

One last link. Here’s where to read what the cidery says about the Virginia Hewes Crab as an apple.

Appearance: Brilliant, warm goldenrod, bubbly

This cider is a spectacle! I am amazed by the gorgeous warm goldenrod color and its picture perfect brilliance. And there will be bubbles! Lovely.

Aromas: flowers, old books, ripe apples and peaches

I know to expect a dry cider, but the aromas on the Brut D'Albemarle Hewes Crab are redolent with crystalline floral sweetness. I get notes of ripe apples, peach and old books. It’s a lazy warm smell with hints of afternoon dust motes in the sunlight. I get a much more energetic salivary reaction though, so I know acid is on its way.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry, but not bone dry.

I love that the Brut D'Albemarle Hewes Crab tastes dry, but not bone dry. It feels structured and sophisticated but its also unfolding with lots of fruit and flavor. 

Flavors and drinking experience: Citrus, orange zest, stone fruit, fennel, acidic and bubbly

My high expectations are rewarded! The Brut D'Albemarle Hewes Crab is alive with flavor. This is the whole experience with acid and tannins but so fruity and bubbly! The first note I get from the cider is citrus, specifically orange zest followed by stone fruit and fennel.

It’s delightfully bubbly. I’m a big fan of strong sparkle, and this cider is a party! The bubble lifts, the tannins hold, the acids excite, and the ABV provides a substantial mouthfeel for all of the ciders many fruit flavors. All of the elements are working together to create a simply wonderful experience. This cider could be served with any number of dishes, from the simple to the elaborate. We served it with homemade summer pesto, homegrown tomatoes, pasta and zucchini. Not much could be better! Cheers.