Mead Day 2013

Well, it’s been a couple months now since National Mead Day 2013, so it’s about time I post about it!

On August 3rd, The local homebrew shop I work for, West Boylston Homebrew Emporium, hosted a mead-tasting and education event with door prizes and raffles to celebrate this brewer’s holiday. I was lucky enough to try several fantastic meads from the good people at Moonlight Meadery, located in Londonderry, NH, and a delicious carbonated melomel from B. Nektar Meadery, based in Ferndale, MI.

National Mead Day was started by the American Homebrewer’s Association (AHA) back in 2002 to celebrate the craft of mead-making, and to spread awareness of this ancient, and more-so at the time, obscure beverage. It’s actually somewhat ironic for a drink that is more akin to wine to be selected for celebration by beer-brewers, but when you look at the craft beer movement, there are many beer-lovers who enjoy a good mead, often more than those who also enjoy a good wine.

History lesson aside, let’s go over the meads I sampled.

Moonlight Meadery (Londonderry, NH)

Au Naturel (Orange Blossom) – 14% ABV:

WBHE National Mead Day Celebration

WBHE National Mead Day Celebration

All of Moonlight’s offerings in their “Au Naturel” series are sweet meads, but more importantly, they are what we call ‘traditional meads’ (being made from only water, honey, and yeast), of which Moonlight uses just a single varietal honey. In this case, orange blossom honey. Traditional meads can be varietal blends, but not this particular one. On the initial pour, it had great clarity. The nose was very floral, with notes of citrus accompanied by some yeast esters coming through. Sweet, orange blossom honey flavor with citrus notes, much like the aroma. The alcohol was masked well and it finished pleasantly. A well-executed, simple mead, that would be great by itself or paired with an entrée (chicken, seafood, or Thai dishes).

Kurt’s Apple Pie – 16.8% ABV:

Kurt’s Apple Pie is a sweet mead made from local apple cider with Madagascar-bourbon vanilla, and Vietnamese cinnamon. I was easily able to pick up on fresh apple, biscuity bread, and vanilla on the nose. The palate was rich and viscous, with lots of sweet apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and honey flavors. As the name implies, this would be a great after-dinner drink.

Desire – 16.7% ABV:

Desire is a sweet Melomel fermented with blueberries, black cherries, and blackcurrants. Moonlight describes this as their flagship mead, which boasts of taking first place out of 353 entries at the New England Regional Homebrew Competition. It poured a deep-red color that was semi-transparent. I got a lot of complex aromas and flavors from the blend of berries, with some tartness underneath the overall sweetness of the mead. Light alcohol warming with a clean honey finish. “Pairs well with cheeses, Italian dishes, rich saucy meat dishes, or with Belgian chocolates.”

Sensual – 15.3% ABV:

Sensual is a sweet and traditional mead made from a single varietal honey – wildflower. Pours clean and golden in color, with easily-perceived floral aromas. Sweet, but balanced, with subtle notes of vanilla bean. A little one-dimensional compared with the others that I tasted, but very good in it’s own right. “Pairs well with Asian foods or with cheese and fruit.”

B. Nektar Meadery:

Black Fang – 6% ABV

Black Fang is a semi-sweet and carbonated Melomel fermented with blackberry juice, cloves, and orange peel. It uses only wildflower honey, making this a single-varietal mead. Pours a deep reddish-purple in color with a small head of carbonation that doesn’t linger. I enjoyed that fact that this Melomel was carbonated, given the fact that many commercial meads are still (not carbonated). The aroma and flavor were composed of ripe berries, honey, sweet orange rind, apples, and a generous amount of clove (but not overpowering).

Thus concludes National Mead Day 2013. I had a lot of fun sampling and socializing over these great meads. I’m already impatiently waiting for National Mead Day 2014.

Be on the look-out for my next post where I’ll be going over mead’s distinguishing ingredient – Honey.

Happy brewing. Cheers!

Celebrating the wonderful world of Mead!

Celebrating the wonderful world of Mead!

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