There are only a handful of American cideries found literally within a city's boundaries. Blue Bee Cider is one of those few. Located in Richmond, Virginia, it first opened in July 2013, and is the first —and still today only — 'urban' cidery in the state.
I visited Blue Bee nearly a year after it opened, at its small warehouse and tasting room, in Richmond's Old Manchester district, a partly gritty, partly revitalizing neighborhood, found across the James River from the city's downtown.
Our guide/host/pourer told me that Blue Bee grows most of its apples —winesap and others— in orchards leased in Nelson County, and on a few trees planted in an 'urban' orchard in Richmond itself. The apples are pressed —and the juice, fermented and bottled— on location at the cidery. Production is small but increasing: 2,500 cases of cider in 2013.
Above, she's poured Charred Ordinary. The winery —and that's what a cidery is. Apples are fruit, just as grapes are— describes this cider this way:
Hay, mushrooms, and bruised apple in the aroma. Dry and sharp with grapefruit and salt in the finish. Semi-sparkling. 0.5% residual sugar (RS), 8.4% alcohol-by-volume (abv)
Me: A slightly barnyardy and funky aroma, well-focused flavors of apple-skin and grapefruit (think New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but with great restraint), and a bracingly tart finish.
19 April 2014.