This is a special review for me. I recently joined the good guys, Tysen and Allen over at the MeadMakr Podcast to do an episode with them. At the top of the show they each crack a bottle of mead with their guest. I tried the House Bear Brewing Paradise Unpaved, while Allen had the Blueberry Mead from Maine Meadworks and Tysen, the Root Cellar from Millstone Cellars.
They had me on the podcast to discuss branding, bottles and label design – you can find the podcast here: MeadMakr Podcast EP:021
Onto the review…
The House Bear Paradise Unpaved is a passionfruit & prickly pear mead with an ABV of 12%. It pours a translucent golden color with slight bubbles forming around the circumference of the glass. The aroma was nice somewhat tropical with passionfruit up front and subtle honey notes. It drinks quite dry and tart. There is fruitiness at the forefront from passionfruit, but not sweet fruitiness that you might expect from the the tropical branding of the “vacation mead.” Instead the mead is dry and quite tart. The tartness lingers on the palette and gives you that tongue to roof of the mouth smacking feeling after a few sips. There’s a little bit of ginger spiciness, but I really don’t get much prickly pear in the taste. Overall I feel like it doesn’t really hit the right note for a “Tropical Mead.” The flavors seem to be just a little thin and overly tart.
Like the House Bear Show Bear mead I reviewed, the label is almost so bad its good. There is a lot going on with this (much more going on in the label than is going on in the mead). There’s embossed honeycomb in the bear footprints, different colored sand with wave ripples. A fluorescent gradient on the bottom along with a fluorescent umbrella. Is the umbrella in the sand on the beach? If that’s the case, then it must be a tiny drink umbrella or a massive bear that walked through. There are also a couple fonts between the description and title that are too similar but too different so they compete against each other. The logo is another thing altogether…
I do in a weird way like the fluorescent colors going on. It reminds me of the nineties – and who doesn’t love the nineties? And this bottle definitely stands out on the liquor store shelf.
House Bear Brewing is a local meadery for me, so naturally, I want to get behind the local team, but this one isn’t really doing it for me. Good in concept, and not necessarily a bad mead, but I want a little more balance and a bunch more of the “vacation” qualities. Make the flavor match the bottle!