Saturday, June 25, 2022

Latest Buzz in the World of Mead, Vol. 1, Issue 4

Welcome to the Latest Buzz in the World of Mead. We have news regarding:

  • Mixed Meadia, a subsidiary of Hatch Distilling Co., and Door County, Wisconsin's first meadery,
  • Four Fires Meadery participating in year two of the 419 Ale Trail in northwest Ohio,
  • Sydney Toy profiles Space Time Mead and Cider for The Valley Advantage,
  • Toronto's The Globe and Mail has a very nice article about Ontario's mead scene including Ontario Honey Creations, Rosewood Estates Winery and Meadery, and Munro Honey & Meadery,
  • Foxes Den Meadery is moving into new digs in Yorkville, IL,
  • What is Minnesota's honeyberry?
  • And Superstition Meadery announces Aphrodisia Batch 27.
So grab a glass, or better yet, a horn of mead and enjoy.

Door County Gets its First Meadery

Press Release | June 23, 2022

Mixed Meadia is now open! Produced at and sharing a tasting room with Hatch Distilling Co. in Egg Harbor, they focus on local ingredients and artful blending of our Mead, Ciders, and Wines. Mead is wine made from honey.

Thought to be the world’s first fermented beverage, mead has long been a favorite in smaller circles but has been growing steadily in recognition and popularity in recent years. Mixed Meadia is proud to become Door County’s first Meadery. Their meads are locally sourced, fermented and bottled, and we make them in an approachably fresh and aromatic style. By July, they will have three meads on our shelves; a dry or Brut sparkling mead, a slightly sweeter or sparkling mead, and a mead made from honey and apples (which is called a cyser) blended with Door County’s famous tart cherries.

Opening a Meadery within a distillery might seem like an odd move, but it is surprisingly symbiotic. There are times during the distillation process where tanks used for fermentation are left idle, so why not put them to good use? Also, Hatch Distilling Co. is unique in their use of honey to make vodka, gin, and other spirits. They often get asked if that means they make mead too, and now they can say yes! This space-sharing and sustainable mindset of production is visible in their sourcing, too.

One of their inspirations to use honey in the fermentations is its low environmental impact. While the bees are busy helping to pollinate the vineyards, orchards and gardens, they produce enough honey per acre for about 1,400 bottles of mead. They also share Hatch’s ethos of sourcing locally and sustainably, and are grape growers and beekeepers themselves!

Outside of what they produce themselves, Mixed Meadia sources as much as they can from Door County itself, and nothing from outside of Wisconsin, in order to provide visitors with real expression of place. They are focused on producing fresh, aromatic, well-balanced meads, and soon will soon have ciders and wines as well. They are especially excited to begin our traditional method sparkling wine program after grape harvest this September. (i.e. look for Door County “Champagne” in the near future, yum!) They are also working to get their meads and ciders into cans by the end of summer to make them easier to be enjoyed while exploring all Door County has to offer. Imagine sipping a bubbly cherry mead on your beach picnic with a bowl of pick-your-own cherries from a local orchard, or quenching your thirst with a crisp cider while leaf-peeping in one of our beautiful parks. Quintessential Door County. (*chef’s kiss) If you don’t have a trip up here planned this summer bottles will be hitting stores soon!

The name Mixed Meadia stems from our belief in the art of the blend. They like to think of their winemaker like you would a chef; someone who carefully selects each ingredient and mindfully blends them in a way that creates a finished product that is more than the sum of its parts. A good blend allows them to take each individual ferment, highlight their favorite aspects of it, layer them together to complement each other, and achieve a great balance of flavors and textures to produce a really delicious and nuanced experience. While they are excited for their traditional meads to showcase honey as a fermented beverage, mead also makes a great backbone for blending. It offers a more neutral base that the winemaker can influence the structure and flavors of by blending apples, grapes, hops and herbs in endless combinations. Their next releases will include a cherry mead, a hopped mead, a rose styled grape/honey blend (called a pyment), a cider, and the first wine vintage! As well as taking advantage of their used spirits barrels (bourbon barrel aged mead).

About Mixed Meadia

Founded in 2022, Mixed Meadia is a subsidiary of Hatch Distilling Co. Both Hatch and Mixed Meadia are proponents for local agriculture, and in addition to being beekeepers and grape growers themselves, work with local growers to sustainably produce and source the best ingredients they can for their spirits, meads, ciders, and wines. Mixed Meadia strives to help spread interest in and enjoyment of quality meads and locally grown wines and ciders. They believe in providing their customers with a fun and accessible way to learn about the region and products while sharing the passion for the craft with them.

For More Information:

419 Ale Trail enters second year with new sites and new stories

The 419 Ale Trail began on Saturday. Established last year by Destination Toledo, it is now a network of 35 breweries throughout the region, from Toledo to Defiance to Carey. Those on the trail download a “passport” on their phone, and check in at each participating brewery they visit. Prizes, drawings, deals, and discounts incentivize them to complete the trail before June 17, 2023.

In the program’s first year, participants signed up for 6,815 passports, 4,640 of which were active throughout the year, according to Destination Toledo. There were 20,869 brewery check-ins, and 114 individuals who completed the trail by visiting 28 or more stops.

This year’s slate of 35 breweries includes 11 that did not take part in 2021. Each one has its own unique offerings and stories to tell, as organizers shared at the kickoff on Wednesday. Those looking to raise a pint on the 419 Ale Trail can also partake in other non-beer drinks like ciders, seltzers, and mead.

Chris Clarke is a founder of Four Fires Meadery in Maumee, the first of two area area meaderies. Described as the “godfather of all beverages,” mead is one of the oldest known fermented beverages that can be traced back 10,000 years. It is made in carbonated and still varieties.

A former employee at Table Forty 4 and Maumee Bay Brewing Company, Four Fires operated out of a garage before opening a production-only facility and then a production facility with a taproom.

“Mead is different because it is fermented from honey instead of grain,” Mr. Clarke said. “It should be fermented from at least 51 percent honey, like cider should be fermented from at least 51 percent apple, but there are meads that incorporate grain and apple. Mead is very ambiguous right now.”

That ambiguity has its drawbacks, but overall it adds to the appeal of crafting mead. Mr. Clarke describes his work at Four Fires as a labor of love — like the “bochet” mead fermented from caramelized honey he’s been working on recently, which he said he has put over a month and around 1,000 hours into making.

“The creativity necessary is definitely an advantage and does make it more fun,” he said. “What’s troubling is learning to reel that in. Like sometimes I have a thousand projects I want to do, but if I try to do a thousand projects they will all come out really average so you just have to stay focused. But in the budding mead industry there is a lot of ingenuity to be claimed, which is what we try to work towards.”

Still, Mr. Clarke is proud to be able to offer alternative beverages in a beer-heavy climate.

“I was told they had plenty of breweries but some people were looking for non-glutenous products like we offer,” Mr. Clarke said of how Four Fires Meadery became part of the Ale Trail last year. “So we are just here to add a little bit of variety. From 2018 to present we have spent less than $1,000 on advertising because I have been in this industry since I was 14, and I was always told the best advertisement is word of mouth. Now we are getting  that through things like the Ale Trail, Brew Bus tours, and the food trucks we bring in.”

View the complete article here.

To sign up for the 419 Ale Trail, or for more information, go to All participating breweries have QR codes that can be scanned for sign up as well.

Mead made: Local biz offers unique libations

For Dan Schreffler, mead and Dunmore turned out to be the perfect pairing.

With an intense interest in nerd culture where mead is prevalent, and a love of making his own alcohol, the founder of Space Time Mead and Cider felt connected to mead, a type of wine that uses honey, rather than grapes, as its primary ingredient. He opened his business at 419 S. Blakely St., Dunmore, PA, in 2018.

“I enjoyed the taste, I enjoyed the process of making it and it was the novelty of it as well,” said Schreffler.

Like wine, mead can be sweet or dry. The drink can be altered to create unique flavors, such as Space Time’s “Thanks for all the Fish” which tastes like the Swedish fish candy. Space Time also offers more traditional flavors, like their year-round flavor “Andromeda,” a drier, fruity blend with notes of lemon, mango and spearmint.

The mead-making process for Schreffler starts with a five-gallon pail of locally sourced honey. He places the honey in a water-filled, stainless-steel tank and mixed. From there, he adjusts the water to honey ratio to create the desired taste and alcohol content.

Next, a pump circulates the mixture throughout the tank ensuring the honey is mixed and diluted. Yeast nutrients are added, and it is mixed again before more yeast is added, beginning the fermentation process.

The mead ferments until it reaches the desired sugar level. It is then pumped from one tank to another, a process known as racking off, and given time to rest to ensure the yeast has finished fermenting. The mead is tasted and racked once more, and clarifiers and stabilizers are added to the mead, giving it shelf life. The final step is filtering and bottling the mead.

“At one point in time, mead making would take years because we didn’t understand the chemistry of it. What took one or two years, we now get most of the fermentation done in four to six weeks,” said Schreffler.

Schreffler started making his own mead in 2008 as a hobby while working for MetLife. Then he was diagnosed and treated for cancer in 2010.

“There are multiple side effects of cancer, but the big ones are a lack of patience, cognitive impairment and, the biggest one, perspective. You go through that, and you think ‘what does Dan 2.0 want to be?’ and it was not working the rest of my life and retiring in corporate America,” said Schreffler.

That was when Schreffler decided to take his mead to competitions with the American Wine Society to see what other people thought. In 2017, his Apple Wildflower Honey mead won Best Amateur Mead.

“We were looking for objective feedback, so we entered several competitions to get that,” he said. “It helped me improve my process and then I got to a point where I wondered if I could open a meadery in NEPA.”

The final step in Schreffler’s plan was to gauge local interest, so in 2017 he signed up as a vendor at Montage Mountain’s Brewfest.

“We had a line for mead,” he recalled. “It’s one thing when it’s with your geeky friends or judges say it’s good but another thing to be commercially viable. That convinced me that we have an opportunity to be successful doing this.“

Based on that success, Schreffler opened Space Time in 2018, its name deriving from both Schreffler’s love of sci-fi, as well as the idea that “there is a space and time for different meads and ciders.”

To read Sydney Toy's full article, as written for The Valley Advantage, click here.

A sweet history of Ontario mead

Toronto, ON Canada's The Globe and Mail has a very nice article showcasing the mead scene in the region. Meaderies highlighted in the article include:

At Rosewood Estates Winery and Meadery, mead is barrel-aged for six months.

If you're ever in the area and feel the need... the need for mead (that sounded so much better in my head), stop on by and grab a flight or bottle.

Work underway for downtown Yorkville micro-winery and coffee shop

Interior building renovations are well underway at a downtown Yorkville, IL, commercial building that soon will be home to a mead production facility and tap room, along with a coffee shop and residential apartments.

Foxes Den Meadery and Iconic Coffee Shop will be occupying space inside the large two-story structure at 101 S. Bridge St. (Route 47) on the northwest corner of Bridge and West Hydraulic streets, along the south bank of the Fox River.

The Williams Group is renovating the structure, known most recently as the Investor Tools building, but best identified by the “Dickson 1954″ tablet inscribed on the facade of the brick edifice.

Foxes Den Meadery will use the building’s basement for production and the first floor for a taproom to serve the fermented beverage. Aldermen also amended the classification to eliminate the requirement for such establishments to sell food.

Also occupying space on the first floor will be the Iconic Coffee Shop, which has already placed its logo in a window facing Bridge Street.
Read Mark Foster's full story on Kendall County NOW.

Minnesota honeyberries are bursting with flavor and possibilities

Picture from Farm Lola

What is a honeyberry?

"It's like a blueberry that fell in love with a package of SweeTarts," says Jason Amundsen with a laugh. "Some are sweet, some are sour and some are tart."

With 11,000 honeyberry plants at his Wrenshall, Minn., farm, Farm Lola, I guess you cold considered him a bit of an expert. For the past several years, he and his wife, Lucie Amundsen, have been welcoming a growing number of honeyberry enthusiasts.

The juicy, lozenge-shaped berries with ancestral ties to Siberia are delicious in a multitude of foods. Basically, anywhere a blueberry belongs.

In Duluth, Farm Lola honeyberries have found their way into small batches of ice cream at Love Creamery, a barrel-aged saison at Bent Paddle Brewing Co., and they've been the highlight of a summer mead at White Bear Meadery in White Bear Lake.

Superstition Meadery Announces Aphrodisia Batch 27

According to an email from Superstition Meadery, "Aphrodisia batch 27 is our latest Aphrodisia release, featuring California Syrah grapes and wildflower honey. Collectively, since 2012, Aphrodisia batches have been the most recognized series in the Superstition portfolio, including multiple batches ranking as top 50 fruit meads in the world on, top 50 pyments in the world on Untappd, a silver medal at Chicago’s Festival of Barrel Aged Beers, and bronze, silver and gold medals at the Mazer Cup."
Aphrodisia Batch 27
Aphrodisia Batch 27 is available at Superstition Downtown and the Prescott Tasting Room now. It will be available on the Webstore on Tuesday, June 28th at 11am (10am for Guild Members)!

If you haven't tried Superstition Mead, you are really missing out.


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