|The first batch of mead|
is called "Joe's Ancient
Orange and Spice Mead." It'll
take months to ferment.
One Saturday in June, Tom was doing a live broadcast from the North Market’s Farmer Market. There were all the usual vegetable vendors, the locally-harvested honey, the flowers, the amazing berries… and the guys from the city’s newest meadery.
Meadery. A place that makes mead. Essentially, it’s wine made from honey.
In the mid-1990s, Woody Drake was making movies in the Carolinas and making homebrew as a hobby. That came to a screeching halt when he accidentally discovered mead, the legendary nectar of the gods. By the late-90s, he was tired of his career and tired of the South. So he moved home to Ohio. Along the way, he recruited his brother, Eric, into the mead-making hobby. After winning a few awards, including a very good showing at a national level, the decanting duo decided to make a go of it professionally. They found a few superb recipes, pitched some yeast, waited for some fermenting magic and, eventually, opened their casks to the public in 2008.
The Brothers Drake were selling bottles at the farmers market and Tom McNutt was tasting… and interviewing. Live.
This is the stuff of inspiration.
|This mead has fruit in|
it, so it's classified as a
I bought all the stuff. The fermentation buckets. The racking tubes. The carboys. The special yeast. The little bubbly thingies.
The grapes were washed, crashed, fermented, racked, racked again, settled and slightly aged. One carboy was full of a beautiful, deep-red liquid. The other was lighter, slightly-pinkish-yellowish. It had been waiting for months and months, begging to be tasted.
The moment arrived. It was time.
The pour. The sniff. The taste.
This stuff could put the petrol companies out of business. A flask of this stuff was strong enough to keep a jumbo jet in the air for a transatlantic journey.
All ten gallons went right down the drain. The buckets and carboys sat empty and unused for nearly three years. The grapes weren’t all that good for wine and the birds were getting them before we were anyway.
Then there was Tom McNutt’s live shot. Mead. Honey wine. Eureka!
We don’t have to fight the birds for the fruit. We don’t have to find an organic solution to grape vine grey rot. We don’t even have to strip the grapes off the stems. Honey! We can buy honey! All year! Any time! This is The Solution!
So, we’ve decided to give it a go ourselves. And today was the day.
Two batches are in the one-gallon carboys, ready to ferment themselves into deliciousness.
|Mead is made with copious|
amounts of raw honey. We're
trying to use locally-produced
honey whenever possible.
Since it includes fruit (oranges and raisins), it's classified as a melomel mead.
The second batch is from the Joy of Mead website and is called Vanilla Metheglyn. A metheglyn (or metheglin) mead is made of just honey and spices. The recipe suggested two ways of dealing with the vanilla beans; I went with option #2: grinding them in the food processor then steeping them in the water that gets poured directly into the carboy.
Within minutes of being in the carboys, the batches began to very slowly bubble. That's a good sign.
Now, we wait. This'll take months. It's all about patience. Stay tuned.