Friday, July 28, 2023

Latest Buzz in the World of Mead, Volume 02, Issue 10

Step into the fascinating world of mead with the Latest Buzz! We're thrilled to introduce a brand-new segment to Bourbon and Mead called "Five in 5." In this exciting feature, we'll be chatting with top leaders from the world of bourbon and mead, asking them five quirky questions, and sharing their quick and entertaining responses with you.

Our inaugural "Five in 5'' guest is none other than Matt Loch, the talented meadmaker hailing from The Skeptic Meadery in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. Before we get to the questions, we'd like to congratulate Matt and The Skeptic Meadery on winning two bronze medals at the 2023 Orpheus Meadfest! Now, let's dive right into his intriguing answers!

Outside of your own product(s), what is in your glass when you unwind for the day?
Nothing beats a well-done Belgian triple.

If you could sit down with one person (past or present) to discuss your business, compare notes, get advice or inspiration, etc., who would it be?
Fritz Maytag

You’re at work, taking a break and you’re dancing like no one’s watching. What song is playing?
I'm a sucker for showtunes - particularly 'Little Shop of Horrors'.

Favorite flavor of ice cream or frozen treat?
A nice waffle cone of Horchata ice cream from Sips Cafe.

Star Trek, Star Wars, or neither?
Star Trek
And that concludes our inaugural edition of "Five in 5." We would like to thank Matt Loch for playing along. If you're ever in Middle Tennessee, make sure to swing by The Skeptic Meadery in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. Tell them we sent you. Be sure to look for more intriguing "interviews" with industry leaders in the world of bourbon and mead. Now, let's see what's buzzing in the world of mead.
We would like to begin by extending our heartfelt congratulations to all the medal winners of the 2023 Orpheus Meadfest, which were announced on July 22. While we would love to list every winner, it would be a lengthy post given the impressive number of entries. The Commercial Division had 87 entries across 18 medal groups, and the Homebrew Division had 96 judged entries across 20 medal groups. Instead, we will focus on the Best of Show and Heavy Medal categories.

The Best of Show category is self-explanatory, recognizing the overall best mead. On the other hand, the Heavy Medal category awards points for each medal received, and entrants are ranked based on their total points. Gold medals appear to be worth three points, silver medals two points, and bronze medals one point, though we cannot be certain of this.

Now, let's delve into the notable winners:

In the Homebrew Division, Nathan Steignam, representing the Minnesota Home Brewers Association from Edina, Minnesota, won Best of Show for his historical mead, Slocki Lis. An honorable mention for Best of Show went to Matthew Mead of Huntington Woods, Michigan's Michigan Mead Coalition for his creation, Ode to Eliot B3. Impressively, Nathan Steignam secured first place in the Heavy Medal - Brewer category with a remarkable 18 points, earning nine medals in total (including a Best of Show Gold, two Gold, three Silver, and three Bronze medals). Additionally, the Heavy Medal - Club category was dominated by the Minnesota Home Brewers Association, securing 18 points, largely thanks to Nathan Steignam's achievements.

Turning our attention to the Commercial Division, Antelope Ridge Mead, in collaboration with Co-brewer Cogstone, was awarded Best of Show Gold for their outstanding Braggot. The Heavy Medal - Brewer category resulted in a tie, with both Antelope Ridge Mead and Run Amok Mead earning 16 points and receiving gold. Antelope Ridge Mead's points were accumulated from Best of Show Gold, Gold, two Silver, and three Bronze medals, while Run Amok Mead secured two Gold, four Silver, and two Bronze medals. Hunters Moon Meadery secured the third position with 14 points, earned through three Gold, two Silver, and one Bronze medal.

Once again, we extend our congratulations to all the award winners, and we commend every participant for their fantastic contributions to the 2023 Orpheus Meadfest. Well done!
There are several festivals, tastings, and faires scheduled around the country in the coming weeks. Getting us started, Village of Lancaster, New York's Lilly Belle Meads is hosting the Renaissance Street Faire for the second year in a row on Saturday, August 5, 2023. Coinciding with International Mead Day, the event will feature mead, live music, local craft beer, axe throwing, street performers, and various vendors. The family-friendly festival aims to revitalize the Village of Lancaster and offers activities like live music, interactive games, performances, a backyard BBQ competition, and a Renaissance costume contest. Food trucks will serve a variety of treats, including turkey legs, and the event will take place on West Main St., which will be closed to vehicles, and will also extend to Cayuga Creek Park. More updates can be found on the Lilly Belle Meads website.
TASTE Leesburg is a lively event taking place in downtown Leesburg on August 12. It features food vendors, breweries, wineries, artisans, and entertainment spread across five blocks of the historic area. Attendees can savor the flavors of Leesburg through over 65 booths offering a variety of local cuisine. Local restaurants, food trucks, and vendors will have menu options for purchase, and breweries and wineries will provide beer, wine, cider, and mead samples. Saga Meadery is listed as a vendor with more vendors expected to be added. Early Bird Drink Tickets are available for $45 online, including a souvenir glass and unlimited tastings. Ticket prices will rise to $55 on the event day. Live music and an interactive DJ will add to the festivities on the Center Stage and the Sip & Savor Stage, respectively. It's an opportunity to enjoy the culinary delights and beverages of Leesburg's vibrant community.
SIP San Diego's 5th annual Sip The City Festival will be held on August 12th at Escondido City Hall. Attendees can enjoy unlimited tastings from 14 members of SIP San Diego, including wineries, meaderies, and cideries, for $79 per person. Meaderies participating include Golden Coast Mead, Lost Cause Meadery, and Raging Cider & Mead. The event will also feature live music, light bites from California Poppy, and local vendors. Proceeds from ticket sales support SIP San Diego's mission to promote locally-crafted wine, mead, and cider, fostering a collaborative community for skilled artisans. Tickets are available for purchase now.
Our final festival is one that's already passed but we still wanted to recognize. The Orcas Island Cider & Mead Festival made a triumphant return to the Village Green in Eastsound on July 15 after a three-year hiatus during the pandemic. The event, attended by over 300 cider and mead enthusiasts, aimed to support the Orcas Senior Center (OSC) and its efforts to continue and expand community and social service work. The festival showcased beverages from 13 producers across the Pacific Northwest, allowing patrons to taste and purchase their favorites. Hierophant Meadery and Seattle Mead Company were among the vendors participating. Alongside the Saturday Farmers Market, the festival featured four bands providing music and entertainment. OSC expressed gratitude to the community and volunteers for making the event a success and encourages further support and donations for its endeavors.

For our mead enthusiasts down south, we have some exciting expansion news. Jeremy Pate, the brewmaster of Folklore Brewery and Meadery, has opened a second location in Enterprise, Alabama. The new store, located at Westgate Shopping Center, offers locally brewed beer and aims to be a family-friendly place. The Enterprise store will soon be fully operational and plans to serve beer pretzels, beer cheese, cooked wings, and nonalcoholic products, including a malt soda. One of their specialty beers, "Cotton Tale Ale," is dedicated to Enterprise and the Wiregrass area, honoring the region's history of overcoming adversity. Folklore Brewery and Meadery's name pays homage to Alabama legends, and Jeremy Pate's journey as a brewmaster started as a hobby in 1997, eventually leading to the establishment of the first Folklore location in Dothan on his family farm. The Dothan brewery has since expanded significantly. The new Enterprise location is viewed as a testing ground, and there are plans to continue expanding and looking for potential partners in other locations.

And last but not least, for our friends in the Hoosier State, Tom and Candy Cupka, owners of Cupka's Bee Good Meadery, have been granted approval by the Auburn Board of Zoning Appeals to open a boutique tasting room on their property at 819 N. Indiana Ave in Auburn, Indiana. The tasting room will be used for private tastings. The Cupkas have bigger plans to open a larger tasting room in downtown Auburn next to Mad Anthony's Auburn Tap Room, showcasing products made with local honey and featuring an artisan's area. They are targeting an opening in February pending state approval for the downtown meadery. Cupka's Bee Good Meadery specializes in making meads from quality honey sourced from local producers. The Cupkas have been brewing since 2016.

In conclusion, the world of mead is currently experiencing an unprecedented surge in popularity and innovation, captivating enthusiasts and newcomers alike. From ancient traditions to modern twists, meaderies worldwide are pushing the boundaries of flavor, craftsmanship, and sustainability. As this delightful elixir continues to carve its niche in the beverage industry, one thing remains certain: the Latest Buzz in the World of Mead shows no signs of slowing down. So, whether you're an avid mead connoisseur or eager to embark on a new taste adventure, there has never been a better time to raise a glass and savor the enchanting journey of this timeless libation. Cheers to the rich history and promising future of mead!

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