The Ram Island Iced Tea Mead comes from Maine Mead Works. I believe its under the HoneyMaker moniker but I’m not really sure where Maine Mead Works ends, HoneyMaker begins and whats in between. Like most mead it is gluten free, adding a little variety to the gluten free drinker.
This is the first commercially available mead iced tea i’ve seen, so kudos on the creativity. The Boston Beer Company, maker of the now ubiquitous Sam Adams Lager has seen great success (for better or worse) in their Twisted Tea Hard Iced Tea so not a bad idea from Maine Mead Works. On a side note, I’ve heard from somebody in marketing for Boston Beer Company that their biggest market segment for Twisted Tea is construction workers…go figure.
I can’t say that I’ve tried Twisted Tea, so there will be no judgement passed or comparison made. Here is what Maine Mead Works has to say about their Ram Island Iced Tea:
Inspired by a family iced tea recipe, this “session” style mead drinks like a craft beer with the prominent flavor of black tea, hints of lemon and of mint. The sweetness of honey balances the tannins of the tea and acidity of the lemons for a refreshing, full-bodied craft tea beverage that can be enjoyed anytime of year.
Though it does have a lower alcohol content than a lot of meads, coming in a 500ml bottle and at 7% abv, I would say be careful if you choose to session it.
It pours golden with some light carbonation that sits momentarily on the surface. The aroma is quite nice – sweet honey, black tea and a little mint. The aroma suggests that the sip will be on the sweeter side, which it was. It was easily drinkable, on the sweeter side but well balanced. The sweet honey came first followed by some peppery, tannic notes from the black tea. I got a little lemon on the finish, but not too much.
When incorporating tea with mead one typical pitfall is having it come out very medicinal tasting. While the Ram Island Iced Tea Mead didn’t fall completely into that hole, it is dangling on the edge, halfway in. That tends to happen when you mix tea, honey and lemon – it reminds anyone of a cough drop. Luckily it wasn’t overtly so.
I like what they were going for with the label. However there are some hits and some misses. It uses the content within the “x” as seen throughout the “New American” or “hipster” aesthetic. I do like the use of the coordinates – a nod to the namesake island I assume, but the ram skull and anchor are super expected and seem a bit out of balance with the coordinates. The color choice is nice, especially with the light texture and HoneyMaker watermark. I especially like the “torn” bottom edge of the label. Overall it presents a cohesive vision, but the individual parts could be taken up a notch.
Then again, I’m just nitpicking. For the mead industry, this is pretty unique and well done.
I mixed my last half glass of this with lemonade to make a Mead Arnold Palmer. No need for a separate mead cocktail recipe post for this one – just Ram Island Iced Tea and Lemonade. I enjoyed this a bit more than the mead itself. It the citrus cut down on the medicinal flavor and balanced it a bit more.
Overall I recommend giving it a try on a hot summer day – but I disagree with their statement that this can be consumed year round. Keep it cool for the summer months.