A year ago I didn’t know any of the people pictured above, and today I consider them some of my dearest friends. Despite what some may say about the degradation of relationships because of social media, internet friends turn into “real life” friends every day. That's what I love most about blogging – it connects you with creative people who share your passions.
So in the spirit of camaraderie, I volunteered to organize the Virginia Bloggers Association’s July meet-up. And there was no better place to have it than Blue Bee Cidery – Virginia’s first and only urban cidery.
Whenever I host anything I have some pre-event anxiety, but there was a great turnout of writers from all spectrums of the “blog-isphere.” Blue Bee set up a table for us outside the tasting room where we had an amazing view of downtown Richmond. I set out some snacks, and as the centerpiece/mascot I had “Mr. Eggplant” (he was an oddly shaped farmer’s market find from that morning).
With a little research and found that salty, sweet, and smoky foods pair with cider, so I brought sweet ham sandwiches with pickled Vidalia onions, barbecue potato chips, and brownie-cookies. Everything went well with the ciders we sampled:
Charred Ordinary – A traditional style cider that was enjoyed in Virginia during the colonial era. It’s dry and tart and is made from heirloom apples.
Hopsap Shady - This cider is lightly dry hopped with cascade hops giving it a floral, pleasantly bitter flavor that balances out the sweetness of the juice. Being the huge fan of IPAs, this was my favorite.
Aragon 1904 – This was the sweetest of the three ciders. It was light, crisp, and easy to drink.
After we enjoyed our drinks, Courtney Mailey, the head cider-maker, took us on a tour. She shared that she worked a 9am-5pm job for years before she took the leap two years ago to follow her dream of cider-making. It has connected her to the farming community, local agriculture and businesses. The tour gave me a whole new appreciation of the seasonality and creativity of cider. It's truly a product rooted in Virginia soil and shaped by the skilled hands of the cider-maker.
The meet-up was a successful event and I’m grateful to Blue Bee for hosting. Thanks to the following bloggers who attended: My Freckled Life, Grub Like a Girl, Going Out in Richmond, Plate n' Conquer, Michael Lee's Food Reviews, Local Yum, Carrie Ink, Designer in Teal, and Clay PR.