Belgium makes cider. Bet you didn’t know that? There are a grand total of two cidreries left where once there were over a hundred. Two World Wars and the brutal invasion of Pilsner beers along with a massive shift in demographics from rural to urban effectively killed Belgium’s cider making industry. Stassen, a name newly familiar to the cider world, is part of Heineken’s mega multinational cider division and is an interesting tale for another post. Ruwet is the subject of this tale.
Ruwet can trace its history to 1898 when its founder returned from the cider orchards of northern France inspired to make his own cider in Belgium. At its height, it was the official cider provider to the Belgian Royal Family. But fortunes turn, and the new century saw Ruwet limping into it on its way to the chopping block only to receive a last minute reprieve from the executioner’s red pen by brothers Frank and Joris Hermans. Frank worked for the drinks company that was about to relegate Ruwet to the dustbin of Belgium’s drinks history. He saw the potential of a brand with past royal connections and decided to revive the cidrerie.
Ruwet was reborn in 2015, They set their base of operations in Roeselare where they share offices and production space with the town’s most famous resident: Rodenbach. The Hermans use 100% fresh pressed juice from Jonagold apples sourced in Beligum. Ruwet is just embarking on their new life in Belgium hoping that people interested in local products will pick up their bottle as cider gains in popularity around the world. However, they’re also now available in the US through Global Beer Network. (Disclosure: I introduced Ruwet to their US importer)
They make 3 more traditional cork and cage finished cidres as well as 2 more “modern” styles. Their Cidre Ruwet is their initial offering in the US. This, however, is their traditional Brut.
Appearance: Bright pale gold.
Aroma: Apple pie, goose berries, light butter notes, light orchard mustiness.
Taste: Medium- tannins, medium acidity, medium- astringency.
Overall Impression: Ruwet Cidre Brut is a nicely clean, crisp and balanced cider. The flavors aren’t intense but nicely balanced with hints of orchard funk to add depth. It’s a very enjoyable cidre with good character and a nice addition to the drinks landscape in both Belgium and the US.
CO2 Levels: Medium sparkle.
Geography: Belgium & France
Availability: In Belgium. This particular bottling isn’t available in the US.