Nectar of the gods, quaff of life
Mead – it’s a honeymoon in a bottle. And if Redstone Meadery gets involved, it’s a honeymoon in a whole keg.
David Myers can explain why. The self-proclaimed chairman of the mead and owner of Redstone Meadery will be in town for the Vail Wine and Food Festival. Saturday, he’ll lead a seminar at 4:30 p.m. titled “Mead: Past and Present,” for those attending the festival. Later, he aims to turn the Tap Room into a swinging mead haven from 6-8:30 p.m., for a honey wine and food pairing. Cost is $10 and attendance is limited to 40 folks.
“Mead is past, mead is present, mead is hip,” said Myers. “It comes around every 2,000 years like clockwork, and its time is now.”
Literally defined, mead is honey wine. Made with honey, yeast and water, it was the first fermented beverage. Only when honey became so expensive did it stop being the primary drink for the average Joe.
“Mead doesn’t start in one place and move along,” he said. “It started in many places at once, which is why it’s the first beverage. … People forget Bacchus was the god of mead before he was the god of wine.”
Mead is literally the honeymoon drink, as it was traditionally drunk for one full lunar cycle after a couple married. Doing so would give blessings to the newlyweds, usually through a bouncing baby boy.
Most people expect mead to be heavy and sweet, as Renaissance festivals the world over tend to specialize in that sort of mead. But Redstone Meadery’s product is a bird of a different feather. Sometimes fruity – try the effervescent Black Raspberry Nectar – and sometimes heady – give the Juniper Berry Mountain Honey Wine a whirl.
Redstone nectars weigh in at 8 percent alcohol, while the mountain honey wines pack a hefty 12 percent.
“Mead’s a wonderful beverage, but it makes you want to get on the table and dance the cancan,” said Myers. “With the nectars, I’m not trying to make you stay off the table, but I am trying to buy you an hour or two. Our nectars are a perfect in-between beverage. They’re fruity, refreshing, and make you feel good when they go down. Mead makes you happy – feel the love, catch the buzz.”
“Mead makes women want to take their clothes off, and men awake and horny,” he added.
Myers discovered mead as a home brewer. Though he knew of mead in a historical sense – Zeus and Beowulf both had mead habits – it wasn’t until he tried a friend’s mead that he was hooked. At the time, he was interested in creating a brew pub. The mead changed his mind, though it took a while.
He still admits having a commercial meadery is a crazy idea, but he’s too smitten with mead to care. He’s also not the first entrepreneur of his family – his grandfather created London Fog, the clothing line.
“I knew when I was 10 that I had to to my own thing,” said Myers. “For mead to succeed, there needs to be one or a few national companies getting it up into other people’s consciousness. The time is now, and we ended up being the people.”
They’re hosting Meadfest October 24-25, and have been working on getting their mead distributed in a handful of states.
According to Myers, mead also gives him super-human strength. According to me, its virtually a hangover-free option. After drinking more than a couple during the Folks Festival in Lyons last weekend, I was surprised at how good I felt the morning after.
“The biggest reason is we have no sulfites added into our product,” offered Myers. “They’re a fairly normal ingredient added to most wines, and they’re also naturally occurring. … Also, the honey, the all natural ingredients, are just easier on the system. The alcohol gets into your system easier, and comes out of your system a little easier. It’s part of the natural flow of life. You can hurt yourself on our product, you just have to try a little harder.”
One way to try is by starting earlier with a mead cocktail such as a meadmosa, made with two parts Redstone Black Raspberry or Boysenberry Nectar and one part orange juice.
“We call it a dirty little cocktail that will make you smile all day long,” he said.
Other popular mead cocktails include the Nectar Breeze, with vodka, rum, pineapple juice and mead, or the Lost Sunrise, made with tequila, Grand Marnier, orange juice and mead.
“And at weddings, it’s a wonderful alternative to a champagne toast,” said Myers. “Especially our nectars. We have kegs, so they’re at a better price point. Besides, it’s a great party drink.”
Especially in light of the traditional mead vessel, a mead horn, which is shaped the way it sounds.
“Once you pick it up you can’t put it down,” said Myers.
For more information on mead, visit http://www.redstonemeadery.com, or visit Myers at the Vail Wine and Food Festival or at the Tap Room on Saturday.
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.