Monday, March 21, 2016

I Feel the Need, the Need for MEAD

The Beer Wench collected some impressive bottles of mead and gathered fellow beer lovers Owen Ogletree, Sachin Patel, Ian Meents, Ashton Smith, Dean Graves, Mark Hall and Lizz Berstein to sample and comment on ten different brands. Meads are a type of wine made from fermented honey, and they offer a surprising range of aroma and flavor components...
1. Fox Hill Meadery Special Reserve
Marshall, NC
Off-dry with buckwheat honey, 16% ABV
- Offering a deep amber, bourbon-like color, this mead provides hints of cereal, spicy rye, honeycomb, alcohol, golden raisins and toast with butter and honey. With a rich, honey flavor with hints of cinnamon, sherry and apricot jam, this selection comes across as warming but not extremely complex.

2. Monks Mead
Avondale Estates, GA
Carbonated mead with wildflower honey, 12.9% ABV
This local mead contains a hint of CO2 sparkle and is a bit reminiscent of a light sparkling wine in the aroma. Notes of cane syrup, muscat grapes, demi-sec champagne and slight spices give way to a somewhat bitter, but pleasant, finish. Color is golden, and the mead is quite clear.

3. St. Ambrose Meadery Rosé Ambrosia
Beulah, MI
Medium-dry with 33% grapes, 67% honey, 12% ABV
This mead pours a deep ruby red color with aromas of Pinot grapes, butter and grape jam on toast. Sweet red wine notes on the palate lead into an overall character of mixed berries, jam, red currants and pomegranate.
4. Redstone Meadery Pumpkin Nectar
Boulder, CO
Melomel with pumpkin, 8% ABV
The nose picks up French vanilla, clove, plastic, higher alcohols and light solvents. Flavor notes of nori seaweed and phenolic honey produce a unique profile in this clear, light straw colored mead.

5. Preissl Neuburger Met Extra Spezial
Imkermeister Preissl - Neuburger, Austria
Mead with cherries, 13.5% ABV
Chosen as SECOND PLACE (tie) by our panel.
This mead offers deep, dark amber/copper hues that are almost brown. Aroma and flavor tones of oak, wood, brown sugar, sorghum, vanilla, sweet port, dark cherries, nuts and papaya make for an extremely complex, satisfying dessert mead.

6. Nectar Creek Honeycone 
Corvallis, OR
Hop session Mead, 6.9% ABV
There's a definite hoppy note and resiny hop profile to this slightly earthy, medium-sweet mead with flavors of floral hops, kiwi, light tropical fruit and mild hop bitterness. Quite quaff-able and refreshing. It sports a pale straw color with a hint of fizz.

7. B. Nektar Dwarf Invasion
Ferndale, MI
Cherries and hops, 6% ABV
Chosen as SECOND PLACE (tie) by our panel.
Slight sour cherries and hops highlight the rustic fruit wine character of this mead, along with notes of strawberries and a clean, lactic acidity. Hops come through more in the aroma than the flavor in this dark red honey wine.

8. Alaska Meadery Batch #73
Anchorage, AK
Clover honey mead, off-dry, aged in bourbon barrels for nine months, 15% ABV
Chosen as THIRD PLACE by our panel.
This mead is packed with flavors of honey, vanilla, oak, alcohol, butter, clove, nutmeg, biscuit crust, rum and clover flowers. The appearance is clear, golden and attractive, and the overall impressive seems like a vanilla butter cookie dipped in honey.

9. B. Nektar Necromangocon
Ferndale, MI
Mango, black pepper, 6% ABV
Chosen as FIRST PLACE by our panel.
Mango, black pepper, cantaloupe, peppercorns and honeysuckle nuances highlight the lingering, pleasant pepper zing of this light golden mead with just a hint of carbonation. Also look for notes of blood orange zest and pine turpentine. 

10. B. Nektar Black Fang
Ferndale, MI
Blackberry, clove, orange zest, 6% ABV 
Notes of clove, ozone, sulfur and fruit mingle in the earthy aroma. Flavors of sangria, blackberries, gunpowder and rose hips are balanced by hints of black cherries, smoke and light citrus. This warming mead offers ruby/garnet hues and is brilliantly clear.

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