4 Meaderies Pushing the Envelope
By Jason Stein
Believed to be the first alcoholic beverage, mead was once referred to as “the nectar of the Gods.” And those who have tried a well-executed mead will understand why. This beverage that is created by fermenting honey with water, and features spices or fruits, is quickly making a comeback, largely due to the ever-growing craft beer scene. Today, beer enthusiasts are seeking out what many consider to be the next frontier as meaderies have begun to pop up throughout the country. For those of you who are looking to join the movement, there are a few meaderies we think you should check out.
Ken Schramm has led the charge for mead ever since co-founding the Mazer Cup Invitational in 1992. While the number of meaderies have increased tenfold since then, Ken has continued to push the envelope since opening Schramm’s in 2013 and has become known for his elegant fruit-forward meads, some of which come from his own orchard.
For co-owner Jeff Herbert, becoming one of the most renowned mead-makers in the world was never the original plan. It took a screenplay, a trip to Borneo, and a sip of Chimay in Brussels to convince him that maybe he should give the whole homebrewing thing a shot (that’s the nutshell version). Five years ago, after taking a course at the Siebel Institute on how to start a brewery, and entering many competitions, Jeff and his wife and co-owner Jen moved to Arizona to make their dream a reality.
B. Nektar Meadery
Founded 10 years ago by Brad and Kerri Dahlhofer and their friend Paul Zimmerman, B. Nektar has come a long way from their 1,200-square-foot basement meadery. Today, B. Nektar is one of the largest and most recognizable names in the mead industry with an incredible 26,000-square-foot location that includes a new taproom. While they started out making more traditional styles of meads, they have now turned their focus to include several types of session meads and ciders that you can find in many locations around the country as well as, of course, their taproom in Ferndale, Michigan. While their portfolio is endless, two of our favorites from them are Cherry Chipotle and #Dragonsarereal.
One of the most exciting new Meaderies on the horizon is Garagiste Meadery, which isn’t even open yet. Technically, they don’t open until next year. But led by Chad Wiltz and his wife Sarah, Garagiste has been turning the heads of mead fans this year after the largest crowdfunding campaign in mead industry history. Once the Meadery in Tampa Heights opens, visitors will be able to hang out and enjoy meads on tap within view of the production facility. Two of our favorite meads Garagiste has released thus far are Goober Grape 2.0 and Black Widow.
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