My wife and I visited her parents in Vermont at the end of her maternity leave. A perfect location and to give Groennfell’s Valkyrie’s Choice mead. Groennfell is a Vermont mead company located not too far from where I grew up. The name “Groennfell” is old Norse for “green mountain” in honor of the green mountain state.
Valkyrie’s Choice is a traditional mead at 9.2% abv. It pours a cloudy, light straw color with significant carbonation. The carbonation releases a nice bouquet of wildflower honey – which is quite pleasant, but there is a little tinge of sweet medicine. It drinks a bit differently than expected from the initial perception. It’s not as carbonated in the mouth as it seemed to be in the glass. It’a fairly refreshing for 9.2% alcohol, but the alcohol becomes more noticeable on the tail end. There is also a bit of a medicinal aftertaste as well.
Groennfell is really embracing the history of mead in all aspects of their brand, from the old Norse name of the company and the name of the mead to the design of the label. While I appreciate the consistency (consistency is key when building a brand) the full commitment to the ancient roots of the beverage really limits the market.
I feel like a lot of mead brands fall prey to this. They really focus on the historical aspect of mead but don’t formulate for a contemporary audience. Similar to heritage brands, mead brands need to strike a balance between honoring the past while targeting a modern audience with discerning tastes in a crowded marketplace.
Valkyrie’s choice not just tips the scale toward history, it breaks the scale. The one thing I do like about the label is the unique shape – diecut oval/mountains on the front with a band that wraps around. It fits the brand nicely as a reference to a shield or other piece of armor.