By Alison Spiegel
The Tasting Table
Inside a nondescript building on a desolate corner in East Williamsburg, a mead revolution is brewing in one of Brooklyn’s coolest new bars. If mead and revolution don’t sound like they belong in the same sentence, it’s time to get your head out of the shire.
Aptly called Honey’s, this space is not only a mead-driven cocktail bar but also serves as a tasting room for Enlightenment Wines, NYC’s first meadery. Behind the cutting-edge establishment is cofounder Raphael Lyon, who’s come a long way since his days making alcohol out of Capri Sun (yes, that sugary pouch of liquid crack you grew up drinking in the 90s). He and his partner, Arley Marks, who previously headed up Mission Chinese’s bar program, have purposefully built their funky new space to accommodate the continuous exploration that has led them to where they are today.
In the back room, barrels of Lyon’s latest honey wine ferment under bushels of sumac hanging from the ceiling, drying out for future use. At the sleek, industrial bar out front, a sip of Floralia—a mead made with foraged juniper, lavender and marjoram—and a snack of miso-cured ramps make it immediately clear to anyone stopping by:
Forget what you know of millennia-old mead—the honey wine fermented with flowers, fruit or herbs. This newfangled beverage is about to have a serious moment, and not just because “everything old is new again” in the land of the L train. Rather, it’s because mead “fits right in,” Lyon explains.
Meadery Profile: Enlightenment Wines