As I have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of Groupon. I particularly enjoy when they have one for something I would normally not even know existed, like Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry NH. When I told people I was going to a meadery, they looked at me funny like I said meatery. What would a meatery be? A butcher shop?
I had mead for the first time this summer, when we were in Maine on our yearly adventure with the Hansen clan.
Back to mead…it was delicious and fresh and when Toni made this fabulous stone fruit sangria with it I was sure I never needed to drink anything else again all summer long.
So when the groupon appeared to visit Moonlight Meadery, I said YES PLEASE and THANK YOU. The Bob and I took the day off, and made the hour drive up on a glorious Friday afternoon. As we discovered with Bully Boy Distillers these places are not necessarily in beautiful, or even remotely attractive settings. At Moonlight Meadery at least it was in a nice easily found industrial complex, and they have a lovely tasting room right when you walk in. If you are expecting a winery type of experience, this is not it. Because craft brewing like this does not require fancy space, it is cost effective to use this kind of warehouse space.
But the lovely and entertaining Chrysanne gave us a very thorough tour and the history of the meadery and of Michael Fairbrother’s transition from a home brewer for fun to the man behind a million dollar industry.
This is step one of the mead making process. Mix honey, water and white wine yeast. Stir a lot. It smells exactly like you expect it to. HONEY.
This is step two – put that mixture into a fermentation tank. Home crafters can do it in jars you can purchase rather cheaply and store them in your basement or garage. These hold 1000 gallons, I think. Let that sit there for 4-6 weeks.
Step three is to transfer the mixture to these tubs, and let it sit again for 4-6 weeks. Over that time the yeast will settle, and when it is settled, they run the mead through a bunch of filters to remove sediment etc. and then it goes into bottles.
You can read on their site about the 67 or so different varieties they have of mead. They give them names like Bliss and Seduction which kind of annoys me, but what do I know. Do I own a million dollar making company of any sort? NO I DO NOT.
We tasted about 6, one of which tastes exactly like apple pie and not in a bad way, but in a way that says “Put that in the fridge and pour over vanilla ice cream and eat it til it is all gone and lick the bowl afterward” kind of way. We bought one of those bottles. They have a special variety, which they age in barrels from Sam Adams which was used to age their Utopias beer. It has such a different depth and flavor, like honey flavored whiskey and bourbon, but I was not willing to pay $100 for a bottle so I will have to be satisfied with the taste I had.
All in all it was a wonderful visit. I highly recommend if you are in the New England area and want to check out their facility, do it. If not, at least check out their product which is distributed all over the country. And truly, make some sangria with some mead if you get the chance, some summer evening this summer. You won’t be sorry.