Barfly: Mead, a taste of honey in Point Reyes
By Jeff Burkhart, IJ correspondent
Through the woods and over the hills is the way many a quest begins. And a quest was on my mind as I headed out to Point Reyes to visit the Heidrun Meadery. Mead, the quintessential Viking beverage, is wine made from fermented honey and is the stuff of both legend and saga. But the mead at Heidrun is anything but traditional. One sip of its mead and two things are immediately apparent: It is bone dry and it is sparkling, like a fine champagne.
“Traditional meads have a pronounced honey flavor, are very sweet and frequently have clove or cinnamon added. They are also aged in oak, so you don’t really taste the essence of the honey itself,” says Heidrun founder Gordon Hull, 55.
“I always liked bubbles in beer, so that is why I first started experimenting with bottle conditioning,” he says. “CO2, carbonic acid, is perceived as acid upon your palate. If there is one thing honey is lacking, compared to grapes, is a natural source of acidity. If there is a way to dial up the acidity without additives, you want to do that, and making it effervescent is a way to do that.”
And that is what sets Heidrun’s mead apart. In 2012, Hull relocated his meadery to Point Reyes after operating it in Humboldt County for nearly two decades. In West Marin he found the perfect combination of environment and open mindedness necessary for his unusual business. This new Heidrun meadery is on an old dairy farm that was once a commune.
Full Story: Barfly: Mead, a taste of honey in Point Reyes
Meadery Profile: Heidrun Meadery