Making the jump to mead can be difficult for a lot of seasoned beer lovers. However, the Mead industry is doing great things these days to attract craft beer drinkers. One of the primary leaders navigating those beer drinkers across the chasm to the world of mead is B. Nektar out of Michigan. From their bottle choices to their label designs and recipe formulations, they are doing what they can to convert new people to mead drinkers. They have even collaborated with breweries to create unique meads and expand their reach.
I could probably compile this list with entirely B. Nektar offerings, but there are many amazing meaderies out there that beer drinkers need to explore.
A saison is an extremely diverse beer style that is all over the map as far as the flavor profile goes. It originated in Belgium as farmhouse beer. The saison yeast provides a bit of a wild yeast taste. To me the commonality across the saison style is the natural complexity that tastes like a cool summer harvest night.
I’m a huge fan of Ommegang Brewery’s Hennepin. Ommegang, out of Cooperstown New York makes some of the most delicious Belgium style brews this side of the Atlantic.
Kookoolan is literally a Farmhouse Meadery. The Meadery is part of Kookoolan Farms a small, diversified farm, family-owned by Chrissie Manion and Koorosh Zaerpoor. While the Elegance mead doesn’t really have the typical spiciness of the saison style, it definitely embodies the wild, natural, complex characteristics. It is a whole-hive mead, made with not only honey, but pollen, royal jelly, propolis, and beeswax as well. It uses a mixture of wildflower and orange blossom honey, giving it a slight citrusy note similar to many saisons. See the full Kookoolan Elegance review.
The IPA is probably the beer style with the biggest cult following. There is even the term “Hop-Head” for those followers. Does any other beer style devotee have a title? The one thing that really defines the IPA is the hops. IPAs have hops and lots of them, which imparts a grassy, citrusy flavor.
The Best IPA out there and one that Hop-Heads go out of their way to get, is the Alchemist Heady Topper. Then again, being from Vermont, i’m a little partial.
B. Nektar Evil Genius
The Evil Genius from Michigan’s B. Nektar Meadery uses three different hop varieties, Chinook, Cluster, Cascade to attribute big hop aromas and flavors. B. Nektar even states on the label “IPA-style mead.”
A pilsner is a light lager with clean and crisp flavors. It is one of the hardest beer styles to brew well since there is little room for error. Good pilsners are well balanced and extremely refreshing. As lagers, they are fermented at lower temperatures and they are better served at lower temperatures as well.
One of my favorite Pilsners is the Prima Pils from Victory Brewing Company. Its a great tasting example of a german pilsner style.
Blue Dog Green Collar Cyser
The Blue Dog Cyser is a refreshing sparkling mead/cider blend. It’s light and smooth with a lower alcohol content than most meads. 3And its offered in a can, another plus for you beer drinkers who are used to cracking open a easy-drinking beer after (or during) outdoor activities. See a full Green Collar review.
The porter and stout style beers are very similar and have a blurry history (pun?). They are dark ales, with deep, roasted malt characteristics. They also tend to have higher alcohol content than their lighter cousins – the imperial stouts/porters even more-so.
I’m a big fan of the Rogue Chocolate Stout, especially in the deep of winter.
Rogue Big Ass Barrel Braggot
Yeah, I just did that. Like Rogue Beer? Try Rogue Mead. A braggot is a mead made with malt which gives it a darker color than most meads. The malt also creates a mead with more body and deep, rich flavors porter/stout drinkers are used to. Rogue’s Big Ass Barrel just won a bronze in recent Mazer Cup Competition in the Braggot category.
Fruit Beer Drinkers
Well, this is a pretty self explanatory beer style. Beer can be brewed with all sorts of fruits added. You can even find watermelon or banana beers. Some of the most popular fruit beers include Magic Hat #9 which is brewed with apricots, Long Trail’s Blackberry Wheat, Sea Dog’s Blueberry Wheat, and Harpoon’s UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen.
Moonlight Meadery Desire
Mead is often made with fruit, fruit mead even has its own name. They are called Melomels. Among the many melomels offered by Moonlight Meadery, one of the best is the Desire. The Desire is made with blueberries, black cherries and blackcurrants and is Moonlight’s award-winning flagship mead. See my tour at Moonlight Meadery in New Hampshire.
Let me know what other styles of beer you like and i’ll be sure provide you with a suggestion!
Saison-style and beer-style meads all pair gorgeously with mussels, oysters, French fries and other fun fried bar foods including fish&chips, triple-cream brie and a baguette, pizza, chicken, and burgers. For almost-daily suggestions on mead and food pairings, subscribe to http://www.kookoolanblog.com!
So what would be the perfect mead for a rauchbier drinker?
It’s most likely difficult to get at this point, but for a rauchbier drinker, B. Nektar’s collaborative “Camp Braggot” would be perfect. It has some of the Rauchbier smokiness and rustic tones.