I finished my NAUI dive certification course in March, which included a quarry dive in 48-52 degree waters. With my certification in-hand, I turned to my boyfriend and said we need to celebrate with a tasting somewhere new… that’s when we decided on Blue Bee Cider in Richmond.
Blue Bee Cider calls themselves “Virginia’s first and only urban cidery.” Located in downtown Richmond, the cidery is in an industrial area along the James River On entrance, we were greeted by two friendly, enthusiastic staff members. They offered two different types of tastings: a flight selection or “winery” style. We opted for the winery style so we could taste all of the ciders they had to offer, seven ciders in total that day. A few tasting notes:
- Blue Bee Cider was the first to make a hops cider in Virginia. They had two of these hops ciders for us to sample, including a 2012 vintage that was not on the menu and their newer Hopsap Shandy. This cider offered a unique blend reminiscent of a fruity beer, the hops really complimented the apples.
- The Charred Ordinary cider was a traditional, dry cider. We bought a bottle of this to-go.
- The Aragon 1904 was another one of our favorites, with a light, crisp, fruitier-sweet taste. This cider was my personal favorite from the tasting.
- The Fanfare was a rose style cider with mulberries. I promise, this one tasted better than it smelled, with more a sparkling dry wine-style appeal.
- The Harvest Ration included a brandy-blend. The alcohol content in this cider was high (around 18%) and the brandy aroma was powerful. However, this cider did not taste as strong and brandy-full as it smelled – it went down smoother than I thought it would.
Overall, their ciders were on the dryer side. They offered two size bottle options for purchase of most of their ciders: 500 ml and 750 ml. The price for a 750 ml bottle ranges from $15.50 for the Charred Ordinary and Aragon 1904 to $33.25 for the Harvest Ration dessert cider in 375 ml bottle.
We learned the cidery is very dog-friendly (always a plus!) Walking around the tasting and production rooms, the old building was fun to explore. The setting was industrial, and the old freight elevator in the building (which is still used) was a neat addition to the explorations.
This was a fun place to check out! Blue Bee Cider offers a unique and modern approach to Virginia cideries, and is surrounded by history and attractions in the heart of Richmond. Cheers!