We’ll toast to that: New cidery set to open in September

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Bryant’s Cider officially opens its production and tasting room this weekend. Bryant's crafts its cider using traditional methods, with natural carbonation and no artificial ingredients. Photo by Jerry Thornton Bryant’s Cider officially opens its production and tasting room this weekend. Bryant’s crafts its cider using traditional methods, with natural carbonation and no artificial ingredients. Photo by Jerry Thornton

Bryant’s Cider will open a production and tasting room Labor Day weekend in Roseland. Set amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains in a rustic, all-original 19th-century barn with hand-carved logs and original architectural features, the tasting room will feature Bryant’s hand-crafted hard ciders, which are produced using fresh-pressed Nelson County apples from the cidery’s own farm.

The small-batch ciders are crafted using traditional methods, with natural carbonation; the premium cider is non-filtered, non-pasteurized, and uses no artificial ingredients. The ciders are fully dry, with no added sugars.

To celebrate the opening, four bands will play music throughout the weekend, and there will be food from 151 BBQ and other local vendors. Bryant’s will also tap two limited release ciders: The Ol’ Lady, a bourbon barrel-finished cider with organic ginger using barrels from Charlottesville’s Ragged Branch Distillery; and Red Eye, a cold-brew coffee cider using fresh coffee from Nelson County’s Trager Brothers Coffee.

Worth the drive

For those interested in a Labor Day weekend day trip, the Inn at Little Washington will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a food and music street festival in the streets of Little Washington, Virginia, on Sunday, September 2. Annette Larkin, the Inn’s director of public relations, says the event pays homage to talented chefs who have worked in the kitchen of the Michelin-starred restaurant (the Inn has earned two).

“This event was created to highlight the next generation of culinary stars,” she says. “Twenty-five of our former sous chefs will be returning to cook their finest offerings, which will be served along with fried chicken, barbecue, local wine, and beer.”

Many of these chefs have gone on to esteemed careers as executive chefs at top restaurants in both the region and the country.

Larkin says there will be bands, Janis Joplin, Cher, and Elton John impersonators, hot air balloons, and fireworks, too.

On the half shell

Ivy Inn chef and owner Angelo Vangelopoulos will participate in the premiere Commonwealth Coastal Classic on the Norfolk Waterfront September 15.

The event—an expo-style festival modeled on other popular Southern culinary festivals held in such locales as Charleston and South Beach—will feature small plates from more than 30 Virginia chefs; interactive demonstrations; Virginia wine, beer and spirit tasting stations; original artisan work; and live music.

Mead your maker

Mead, an alcoholic beverage with roots in ancient history, is brewed from honey, water, and yeast, and has long played an important role in the mythology of various cultures. Soon Charlottesville’s cup will be overflowing with the nectar of the gods, when Altavista-based Skjald Meadworks launches its Charlottesville tasting room at 1144 E. Market St. in the next few months.

Gwen Wells, wife of meadmaster Jerome Snyder, says Charlottesville was a natural extension for their product.

“I’ve had a crush on Charlottesville for years,” she says. “I love the mountains, the outdoors, the music, restaurants, and people. We are outgrowing our space in Altavista, and I was ready to close my business and do something different, so we decided that I would take over the daily operations of the meadery, set up a bigger and better tasting room with a gift shop, and why not here? Here we found ‘our people’—curious, open-minded, adventurous, and friendly. There are so many craft breweries, so many music venues, that we feel right at home.”

She says they currently offer several varieties of mead, including one with lavender and vanilla and another with Earl Grey tea and lemon, and soon will have meads with strawberry, heather, ginger, and fig.

While the couple awaits ABC permission to open the tasting room, they’ve decided to open the gift shop, which features work by local artisans, by September 15.

In the meantime, Skjald Meadworks mead is available locally at Market Street Wine, Beer Run, and by the glass at Firefly, which has even started “Mead Mondays” with special prices for their meads.

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