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General Category => Other Fermentables => Topic started by: susanr on August 12, 2010, 07:19:29 PM

Title: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: susanr on August 12, 2010, 07:19:29 PM
Hi,  From another Mead post there was a statement "better than any commercial Mead I had".  This got me thinking - what is everyone's favorite commercial Mead?  By asking this I would rather people not trash those Meaderys that they don't care for but there are some great Commercial Meaderys out there and I am curious if I have missed some of them.  I continually find new Meaderys starting up that I didn't know about.

Some of my favorites are:

Redstone (Colorado) - in particular the Vanilla Cinnamon
White Winter (Wisconsin) - Almost all of them - but have to say I am really partial to the Port Mead
B Nektor (Michigan) - have only had a few but they had a great Ginger mead
Mountain Meadows (California) - phenomenal Traditional - Honeymoon Nector

There are a many other Meaderys so I am curious to see what others like.

Cheers,
Susan
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 12, 2010, 07:24:14 PM
The B Nector Heart of Darkness Ken Schramm signature series was one that came to mind.  The club bought a bottle so that everyone could have a very small taste. 
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: theDarkSide on August 12, 2010, 07:30:16 PM
Not much available for mead here in NH.  Michael Fairbrother has just started his new business, Moonlight Meadery, and is getting a great response for what I can see.  I just attended a tasting last week and his offerings were incredible, including one that tasted like an atomic fireball.   And Coffee in Bed is outstanding!!

Another meadery in NH made an awesome Vanilla Metheglin, but I was told they are shutting down the business :(

Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: tschmidlin on August 12, 2010, 11:14:27 PM
I really like Sky River semi-sweet mead.  Very nice honey flavor, but it's nothing fancy.

There's a Polish (?) mead that comes in a bottle in a basket, kind of like a chianti bottle.  That is fantastic, but the name is escaping me right now.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: beerrat on August 13, 2010, 01:06:26 AM
A great topic!

The comparison in the other post was my mead against Pennsylvania's Mount Hope Estate & Winery's Mead's.

I'd be interested in how their products are considered by other mead-makers/drinkers.

Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: dbeechum on August 13, 2010, 01:18:04 AM
I'm going to agree with hops... that Schramm mead pretty much kicks the teeth out of anything else I've tried.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: tschmidlin on August 13, 2010, 02:22:13 AM
It's not commercial, but I had one that Kris England made that was passed out at NHC in MN.  Fantastic stuff!
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: susanr on August 13, 2010, 02:46:37 AM
A great topic!

The comparison in the other post was my mead against Pennsylvania's Mount Hope Estate & Winery's Mead's.

I'd be interested in how their products are considered by other mead-makers/drinkers.


  :(

Hi,  Had not heard of Mount Hope Estate and Winery - they have a lot of Wines and it looks like most of their Meads are Blends of their wine and Mead (which is fine with me) - but unfortunately I went to their website and tried to put in an order only to find out at the last page of checkout that they can't ship out of state and that I would have to order at least 6 bottles even if I lived in PA. :(
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: The Professor on August 13, 2010, 05:01:14 AM
The Brotherhood WInery in Washingtonville, NY makes a couple different meads...one is sold under the name "Carroll's" and is an 8%(or thereabouts) straight mead (on the sweet side);    the other is their take on Tej, the Ethiopian honey wine (it has a small dose of hops in it, apparently).  Their "Sheba" brand of tej clocks in at a typical (for wine) 12%abv and it  has found its way into many of the Ethiopian restaurants in NY and NJ.
 
I'm a bit spoiled by the home made stuff (my favorite is sack mead, which I usually don't touch until it's between 5-10 years old) but the Sheba tej is pretty nice both before and after a meal of Ethiopian fare.
At around $10 a bottle in the stores for the Carroll's and around $11 for the Sheba, , neither one is a bad deal.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: nicneufeld on August 13, 2010, 02:22:18 PM
This thread has me thirsty for mead! 

I've actually had more disappointments from commercial meads than otherwise.  Most imported ones I've tried are either very sweet or somewhat funky (Tower of London mead!).  But after reading about tej and Schramm's Heart of Darkness mead, I think some gesho sticks and blackcurrant juice needs to be added to my shopping list soon!
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: ullarsskald1989 on August 15, 2010, 03:32:29 PM
The "Camelot" mead from Oliver Vineyards in Indiana is a pleasant "table-wine" mead.  It is between dry and semi-sweet to my tastebuds.

I usually drink my home brewed, though.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: gordonstrong on August 15, 2010, 03:41:25 PM
I like White Winter Blueberry melomel and Honeyrun Blackberry melomel.  Redstone can be hit or miss with me; they have three product lines based on strength. I think the middle ones are best.  The vanilla/cinnamon one was good, as was (surprisingly) the juniper one.

If you compare the BJCP guidelines for mead in 2004 and 2008, look at the differences in commercial examples.  Anything added in between is likely something that I tried and really liked.  I remember adding several examples after going to an International Mead Festival in Denver and trying several outstanding meads.  It seemed like a few meaderies were consistently good, so if one of their meads was killer then they all were at least very good.  The opposite was also true.  Duds ran in packs.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: joelambic on August 15, 2010, 04:09:49 PM
I recently had a chance to try some cysers from AEppelTreow in Wisconsin.  I'm partial to dry over sweet and they had one that was very enjoyable.

I didn't check if they had any straight meads at the tasting though.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: wfaris on August 19, 2010, 09:26:18 PM
Definitely Redstones Blackberry Nectar.  They should be careful with that stuff.  That could easily get itself declared as being a date rape drug.  :)

Wayne
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 19, 2010, 10:50:57 PM
The "Camelot" mead from Oliver Vineyards in Indiana is a pleasant "table-wine" mead.  It is between dry and semi-sweet to my tastebuds.

I usually drink my home brewed, though.

The Oliver meads were the first I ever had, wayyy back in the mid 70's.  I think that just dated me as an old timer.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: enso on September 03, 2010, 12:46:22 PM
I have yet to taste a good commercial mead.  Or a good homebrewed one for that matter!  Well, no I take that back.  A friend of mine makes a really tasty (in my limited experience) blueberry melomel.

I have tried a few different meads from a place up here in Vermont called Honey Gardens.  I have found them to be much like my failed attempts at meads.  They are far from what I would call "nectar of the gods"  There always seems to be a bitterness and wintergreen (wax lips I call it) flavor to their meads and my own.  I had some from a meadery in Maine also.  More drinkable, but again, nothing to swoon over.

Maybe I just don't like mead.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: gordonstrong on September 03, 2010, 01:55:59 PM
You should go meet Michael Fairbrother in New Hampshire. He knows a thing or two about mead, and can probably help you determine quickly whether you don't like mead or just don't like crappy mead.  Shouldn't be that far for you, and you can look him up online.  Tell him Curt sent you.  ;)

Usually when I see people talking about ambrosia, nectar of the gods, or any kind of renaissance faire drivel, I run the other way.  Usually that means they are more concerned about getting hammered than anything else.  If you make good mead, it speaks for itself.

I have the same issue with wine.  The stupider the name, the less likely I want to drink it.

Mead shouldn't taste like bitterness and wax lips.  Don't give up on it.  Keep looking.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: theDarkSide on September 03, 2010, 02:10:19 PM
You should go meet Michael Fairbrother in New Hampshire. He knows a thing or two about mead, and can probably help you determine quickly whether you don't like mead or just don't like crappy mead. 

+100 on this...and he is always doing tastings somewhere...great stuff.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: hopfenundmalz on September 03, 2010, 02:19:17 PM
You should go meet Michael Fairbrother in New Hampshire. He knows a thing or two about mead, and can probably help you determine quickly whether you don't like mead or just don't like crappy mead. 

+100 on this...and he is always doing tastings somewhere...great stuff.

Michael would be a good guy to get to know.  Contact information:
 https://www.moonlightmeadery.com/
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: susanr on September 03, 2010, 03:38:49 PM
I have yet to taste a good commercial mead.  Or a good homebrewed one for that matter!  Well, no I take that back.  A friend of mine makes a really tasty (in my limited experience) blueberry melomel.

I have tried a few different meads from a place up here in Vermont called Honey Gardens.  I have found them to be much like my failed attempts at meads.  They are far from what I would call "nectar of the gods"  There always seems to be a bitterness and wintergreen (wax lips I call it) flavor to their meads and my own.  I had some from a meadery in Maine also.  More drinkable, but again, nothing to swoon over.

Maybe I just don't like mead.

If you like wine and you like honey you should enjoy a Mead if it is made properly as a well made Mead should be smooth, easily drinkable, not too much alcohol, no wax flavors and definitely not bitter or tannic - it should be a balance of smooth alcohol, pleasant honey aromas and flavors, just the right amount of acid to balance the sweetness of the honey and if any fruit/spice is added then that should also harmonize with the honey, alcohol and acid of the base Mead.

Don't give up on finding a great Mead as they are out there.
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: Beertracker on September 06, 2010, 04:05:23 AM
If you do make it to the Moonlight Meadery, be sure to ask Michael for a sample of his Coffee In Bed. Curt, Susan & I judged the homebrewed version back in June during the AHA NHC (2nd Round). It was fan-freakin'-tastic!  8)   
Title: Re: Favorite Commercial Meads
Post by: gr8nhbrewer on September 23, 2010, 07:18:02 PM
Thanks guys, gals!

Moonlight Meadery is currently distributing from Concord down to the sea coast of NH, and looking for more accounts.  I have just signed a lease agreement that will hopefully allow me to start the spread of our meads across the country.

Michael Fairbrother
AHA Life time member
Brew Free or Die President
Founder/Meadmaker Moonlight Meadery LLC
603-234-9582