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Blue Bee Cider: Virginia’s First Urban Cidery

Located in the historic Scott’s Addition district, Blue Bee Cider is Virginia’s first urban cidery, getting its name from one of the state’s native bees, the Blue Orchard Bee. They create artisinal ciders made from rare heirloom Virginia apples, each with their own unique flavor profile all within their gorgeous reclaimed 4-building property built out of granite cobblestones that they believe came from the streets of Richmond in 1940. The property originally housed horses and mules, but later became a neglected storage space that Blue Bee founder Courtney Mailey knew would be the perfect place for her cidery.

PresSU17_BlueBee_023FINAL_crStephenVoss
photo courtesy: savingplaces.org

I had the pleasure of visiting Blue Bee Cider this weekend for their annual Book Fair and Brunch, pairing local bookshops, live music, food truck fare, and of course cider, together for a great time supporting our community and so much of its offerings.

What immediately caught my eye about Blue Bee was the beautiful structure it calls home and all its charm. It’s really a testament to how much our city values its history and it embodies so much of what we love about Richmond. When you enter the property, there’s a courtyard surrounded by its four cobblestone buildings–the tasting room, mercantile, garage-style indoor/outdoor sitting room, and the cellar where all the magic happens and the ciders are created.

IMG_9873First, I headed inside for a tasting, but instead decided on both of their flight options so that I could take advantage of the courtyard and really take in the flavors of each of their ciders on my own. The flight options were called “Heirloom”, which were all made from just the apples and “Experimental”, which offered options made with hops, as well as other fruits and herbs. They came on galvanized trays and each cider was set on top of a description of what was being tasted and what flavors made up each one. They were all fantastic in their own right, but I definitely had favorites–the Harrison, Hopsap Shandy, and the Rocky Ridge Reserve are my recommendations. However, the beautiful thing about Blue Bee’s cider is that there’s something for every taste.

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If you’d like to visit the tasting room, their hours are below. I would also recommend checking out the special events that they host throughout the year where you can get the full experience with music from local bands, as well as food from some of Richmond’s best food trucks, among other Richmond based vendors.

Tasting Room Hours
Monday-Wednesday, 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Thursday & Friday, 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday, 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sunday, 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm

If the history of the cidery intrigues you, Blue Bee also offers one-hour tasting tours of their facility where you get a guided, behind the scenes look at how their ciders are made, meet the staff, and get educated on their history.

Tours are offered daily by reservation. Ticket pricing is as follows:

  • General Admission (Ages 21+): $15/person. Includes one-hour tour, guided cider tasting, and engraved wine glass.
  • Designated Driver/Non-Drinking: $10/person. Includes one-hour tour, glass of apple juice, and engraved wine glass.
  • Children ages 14 and under: $5/person. Includes one-hour tour & glass of apple juice.
  • Children ages 5 and under: free.

I highly recommend a visit to Blue Bee Cider for their welcoming staff, cozy atmosphere, and delicious ciders. To learn more about this Richmond-born cidery, go to bluebeecider.com

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