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Blue Bee pollinates Scott Addition with 6 collaborations opening day

RICHMOND, Va. -- Though many changes have occurred relatively quickly in the historic Scott's Addition neighborhood, collaboration has been a consistent ingredient shared amongst many of the local makers taking roost in the approximately 50-block district.

It could simply be the spirit of these new entrepreneurs  who have moved in; perhaps a younger generation which sees the benefit to having roots made strong from their own identity and combined branches that take shape from the shared knowledge, empathy and creativity of peers. I'm sticking with the tree analogy here because that's really about all that's physically missing from Scott's Addition these days.

Collaboration certainly seems the best way to keep the crowds coming back to and moving around the flourishing multi-use neighborhood,  increasingly known as a craft beverage hub ever since Isley Brewing Company rolled the dice and opened as the lone brewer, in 2013.

Reservoir Distillery has been producing  whiskey on Summit Street since 2009, and recently opened a tasting room at 1800 Summit Avenue.

Ardent Craft Ales, Black Heath Meadery, Buskey Cider, Veil Brewing Co. and Three Notch’d RVA Collab House followed in the next three years -- the latter three all opening this year. Vasen Brewing Co. plans to open by early 2017.

The latest beverage maker to join the boozy, block (s) party is Blue Bee, in a relocation from 212 W. Sixth St.  Manchester.

The cidery, owned by Courtney Anderson Mailey, transformed the former city-owned stables property into a tasting room and cider-making operation which encompasses 9,000 square feet on a third of an acre at 1320 Summit Avenue.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, Blue Bee will fling open the doors of its charming, 1940s cobblestone façade and start anew with a celebration of its transplanted headquarters and its surrounding neighbors.

The building formerly housed city-owned stables. (Michael Schwartz)

The building formerly housed city-owned stables. (Michael Schwartz)

"We want to celebrate Scott’s Addition as a neighborhood, encourage customers to wander through Scott’s Addition and explore what everyone has to offer," writes Cidermaker Manuel Garica. "In the spirit of unity and mutual respect, we have collaborated with six alcohol producers from the Scott’s Addition Historic District for special products to be released at our grand opening."

These collaborations will be released, starting at 1 p.m.,  every hour on the hour, in the following order:

1.  Ardent Craft Ales made “Smokin’ Mower”, a session blonde ale fermented with smoked Winesap and Stayman juice. Cellar team brought a bin of apples to Ardent and smoked them whole in ZZQ’s smoker with help from ZZQ and the Ardent team. Blue Bee also fermented the smoked juice with a champagne yeast to dry and created the second batch in two years of their smoked cider.

2.  Black Heath Meadery made “Scott’s Edition”, a cyser fermented with Gold Rush juice and Virginia wildflower honey, with a generous addition of Bosc pear juice and Black Mission figs.

3.  The Veil Brewing Co, made “Boi Friendz”, a barrel-fermented Brett IPA with Mosaic and Citra hops fermented with 30% unpasteurized Gold Rush juice. One of the barrels previously held the Veil’s Jeune (single barrel spontaneously fermented ale) and the other was a first-use Virginia red wine barrel.

4.  Isley Brewing Co, made “Apple Brown Betty”, the return of a 2014 collaboration – an English brown ale fermented with Grimes Golden juice.

5.  Reservoir Distillery provided one of their recently emptied barrels and helped Blue Bee decide on what unique offering to age and which one of their barrels to use (rye, wheat, or bourbon). The choice was Harvest Ration (dessert cider fortified with brandy) in their rye whiskey barrel for over four months.

6.  Three Notch’d Brewing Co.‘s RVA Collab House made “Farm to Stable”, a gose fermented with Gold Rush juice. The collaboration combines the tropical notes and high acidity from Gold Rush apples with a tart and salty gose base.

Garcia added that there will be future collaborations with neighbors Buskey and Vasen.

Growlers To Go, another Scott's Addition business, will provide its  16 tap "beer wagon" to pour the collab beers for the event.


The grand opening celebration goes down from 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 1320 Summit Avenue.  The first collaboration will tap at 1 p.m. and the others follow hourly.

Food will be available for purchase from Rappahannock Oysters, Goatacado and Camden’s Dogtown Market.  King of Pops will also have a special cider pop for the day.  Pedicab transportation will be provided throughout Scott’s Addition from Spoken4.  A limited edition print from Studio 23 will be available with each bottle purchase while supplies last.

Following opening day, hours of operation will be Sunday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Monday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.