By James Knight
North Bay Bohemian
Gordon Hull doesn’t look like the mead maker I was expecting to meet. With his button-down shirt, close-cropped gray hair and quiet, professional demeanor, I wouldn’t necessarily peg him for a mead-mad entrepreneur from Humboldt County; if he has a sort of Tim Robbins look, it’s definitely not as Erik the Viking.
But it’s Hull’s mead—a fringe beverage often associated with Renaissance fairs and D&D enthusiasts and shunted to the end of the shelf next to the Manischewitz blackberry wine—that really defies stereotypes. Heidrun mead is dry, sparkles like Champagne and has terroir.
Hull discovered “varietal,” flower-themed mead by chance. Restless as a geologist, he took a leave of absence and enrolled in a brewing apprenticeship. “I thought I was going to be a brewer,” Hull recalls, but during the first craft-beer boom in the 1990s, “everybody and his uncle was brewing.” On a whim, he tried making mead. When his supplier switched honey sources, he noticed that the mead had different characteristics. Today, he makes a changing lineup of meads, each from a different type of honey that he buys in 55-gallon drums directly from beekeepers.
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