Have a question about cider, like how to serve it, what to serve it with, or proper tasting protocol? Find your answers here:
1. Where can I buy cider?
Visit our Tasting Room at 2545 Rural Ridge Lane, North Garden VA 22959, or stop by any of the retailers that stock our cider. You can find a store near you on our Where to Buy page. Have a favorite bottle shop in VA, MD, or DC that you'd like to find us in? Let us know!
2. Can I buy cider online?
Selling alcohol online is a complicated process with rules and regulations that vary from state to state. Right now we do not offer the ability to buy cider online, but we're working on it! In the meantime, check out the Where to Buy page to find stores that sell our cider, or call us directly and we'll help you out.
3. What temperature should I serve cider at?
We serve our ciders chilled to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. What foods pair best with your ciders?
Pork and apples are a classic pairing, so you can't go wrong pairing pork with cider. See our "Cider Varieties" pages for other specific recommendations.
5. How long can I store cider before opening it? How should I store my cider?
Your cider is ready to drink at the time of purchase, and we recommend consuming it within about 2 years from purchase date. Cider should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place, similar to white wine. Our ciders can be stored upright or on their sides.
6. Once I open a bottle, how long is it good for, and will it stay carbonated?
All of our ciders are sparkling, and once opened should be re-capped with a champagne-style topper, one that seals tightly against the inside of the bottle neck and does not allow for air exchange. With such a cap, your cider may remain carbonated for at least a couple of days after being opened- but the more often you reopen the bottle, the more carbonation will escape. Do not use a cap and pump system meant to pump air out of the bottle- your bubbles will be gone in no time! If or when your cider does "go flat," it can be drunk still, without bubbles, or used to great effect in cooking applications such as braising, glazing, as a dressing ingredient or added to soups- for more suggestions, see our "Recipes" pages.
7. How long does it take to make cider?
About 3-6 weeks; the apples are pressed and the juice is siphoned in to a stainless steel tank where a white wine yeast is added, and the whole tank is left to ferment until the yeast has converted all of the natural sugar in the juice in to alcohol. The variability in the amount of time it takes for this to happen is in part based on the natural level of sugar in the apples to start with, which fluctuates by season and variety.
8. How does one taste cider properly?
Cider was the "every-man's" drink in the early days of America, and as such was, and is now, a very approachable beverage for the newcomer. The proper glassware could be anything from a wine glass to a jelly jar; here at Albemarle Ciderworks, we prefer to use a mini-pilsner type glass, chosen for its similarities to cider glasses made popular during the reign of Henry VIII and used by many in the upper class for decades after. Our ciders are all sparkling, and the carbonation helps to open up the flavors of the cider to your palate, which allows us to serve it chilled, and makes a glass shaped to funnel the aromas of the cider to your nose less necessary. That being said, pour a glass and do have a sniff before taking a sip- many ciders have a lovely bouquet on the nose, which will enhance your tasting experience. Hold the glass up to the light and take note of the color and clarity- is the cider golden, straw-colored, is there a hint of a blush to it? Next take a small sip, allowing the cider to coat your palate; notice acidity, tannin, sweetness, savory flavors, ripe fruits. And as you swallow, take note of the finish- is it long and bold, short and sweet, bright, lively, etc. Repeat at your leisure!