Sign up for our free newsletter
What’s in Stein’s Stein is a new biweekly feature celebrating the liquids made, sold, and served by underrepresented voices in the craft beverage industries.
Cider: Blue Bee Cider’s Charred Ordinary
Maker: Courtney Mailey
Hometown: Heidelberg, Germany/Ft. Monroe, Virginia
Price: $10.25–$15.50 per bottle
Taste: Drier than most sparkling whites and offered at half the cost, Charred Ordinary is a blended cider steeped in history. The cider’s fruity flavors are offset by a dryness typically reserved for champagne. The drink is as sharp as the people of D.C. and as regal as Michelle Obama.
Story: The dominant apple in Charred Ordinary is the Winesap, which can be used for cidering, cooking, eating, and making apple cider vinegar. Maker Courtney Mailey says the apple’s versatility is why it survived prohibition while most other cider apples did not. Artisanal cider makers like Mailey use cider apples that produce very different products than most large cideries. “It’s kind of like the difference between wine coolers versus wine,” she says.
As a woman producing cider in Virginia, Mailey is in good company. But this isn’t always the case. “Cider as a whole industry is roughly 85 percent male and 15 percent female,” she says. “In Virginia it’s more like 50-50, so it’s a very different environment. …I never worry about finding a voice at the table,” she says. The gender equity in this area goes way back. Records from the 1700s show that women of various economic classes made cider in the Chesapeake region.
Where to Try It: Glen’s Garden Market, 2001 S St. NW; (202) 588 5698; glensgardenmarket.com