January 7, 2014 by 250 Beers
A week or so before Brews News ran this press release, I received an invitation to attend the industry launch of the very same Moonlight Meadery meads from the US. I’ve always been intrigued by mead so I didn’t hesitate in responding with a ‘yep’.
Most people have heard of mead (or honey wine) but not everybody has tried one or even seen any available.
Mead is viewed in quite an antiquated way. Images of an era hundreds of years before this age appear in my mind when I think of mead. I picture thick-set bearded men in full Saxon garb celebrating with silver goblets of mead after a triumphant battle on a field somewhere drab.
The process of making an alcoholic drink from honey has been around almost as long as bees have been able to fly but there’s nothing antiquated about what Moonlight Meadery are doing with their meads. The fermentation process is the same as it has always been but they’re adding an element of ‘craft’ into the mix by not necessarily sticking to the rule book and they’re producing some wonderful flavours.
My intrigue of mead is strange because I’m not the biggest fan of honey. I don’t mind the taste of it in things but you’ll never catch me spreading the stuff on toast for example.
The Australian launch of Moonlight’s meads was held as an informal tasting at The Burrow – a casual, funky bar in Brisbane’s West End. It’s a great old building and the perfect venue and mead-ing place for such an occasion.
Our mead-iator for the duration was Daniel Rickard from Calibre Craft Beer. As you may have read from the mead-ia release Calibre is the sole Australian importer of meads by the Moonlight Meadery.
Due to the notoriously high alcohol content of the meads attendees were only sampling 30ml measures. It doesn’t sound like enough does it? It was enough though – just the right amount to be able to appreciate the flavours of each mead. Plus, there were six to get through; Red Dress (13.9% abv), Desire (16.7%), Kurt’s Apple Pie (16.8%), Sensual (15.3%), Wild (14.2%) and Fling (13.3%).
Any honey or mead scepticism that I may have been harbouring beforehand disappeared after the first taster. I was converted and, if I’m honest, I could have probably sat there all afternoon and evening! The weather was great, the temperature was warm, The Burrow was being its usual charming, quaint self and a selection of various types of cheese added to the experience.
I think that bringing mead up-to-date and into the 21st century is wonderful but the importation of the Moonlight meads is a gamble for Calibre and I’m sure Daniel knows that. However, he can now boast a tasty and interesting product in his portfolio that nobody else is offering and in my opinion is a trustworthy product with some very appealing tastes.
More and more people are exploring their palates these days and are seeking that ‘something different’. Mead fits the bill nicely. Also, like a decent beer, meads and their depth in flavour are ideal candidates for pairing with different food. The added bonus is that a bottle of mead can be opened and be good for a couple of weeks (as long as you nudge the cork back in after each pour). There’s no need to rush it all within a fairly short space of time like we’re accustomed to with a bottle of beer.
From my point of view, a bottle of mead is an ideal beverage for me to share with Mrs 250 Beers. I think she’d be open to the idea. She’d never share a bottle of IPA with me (thank goodness!) but the big alcohol in these meads really does scream “share”.
Hmmm…250 Meads does have quite a ring to it…