Mead has existed for millennia.
Kings ran empires while drinking it in court and bards invented legends while swilling it in taverns. While it hasn’t achieved the same notoriety in the modern world as craft beer or wine, it’s still a drink on the rise.
Algomah Acres Meadery in Greenland is the product of a husband and wife team, and they’ve been at it for a few years.
Melissa Hronkin, who co-owns the meadery with her husband, John Hersman, said, “All of our creative projects kind of began with the bees, with beekeeping, and so having the honey led John to experiment with brewing.”
“Well, when we got the bees a friend of mine did a lot of brewing, beer, mead,” Hersman said, “and he said, ‘Mead’s not too hard to make, you should try a batch. So I got our honey, I made some cyser, which is with apple cider and it turned out pretty good and he said, ‘Man, this is the first mead I’ve had from a homebrew that I could say, “You could sell this.”‘”
With a brewing process similar to beer and other fermented drinks, mead has been a pretty successful venture for the couple so far.
“Well, you know we’re just a small operation, but really we started off with just one type of mead,” Hronkin said. “The first summer we had maybe two types of mead and so now our product line has expanded. Usually we have between 12 and 15 different types of mead for sampling and sale at our facility.”
Given meads associations with fruits, many people view it as a sweeter kind of alcohol, but they’d be surprised.
“I think a lot of people are surprised that it resembles a drier wine; a lot of people come in expecting a really sweet product, but really the product tends to be like a drier wine,” Hronkin said.
Over the years they’ve experimented with different flavors, fruits and varieties of honey and have produced some fun meads.
Hersman said, “If you want flavorings you can add whole fruit or you can add juice, or you can add spices; you can add anything you really want if you think it’ll go good. I’ve made them from ginger, raspberry, just traditional meads with different types of honey, varietal honeys, which really changes the flavor.”
“We try to pay attention to the packaging, the presentation, because starting back with the bees, the honey is a very precious product and so we try to treat it carefully and also present the product with a lot of care,” Hronkin said.
Algomah Meadery might be off the beaten path, but that hasn’t stopped John and Melissa from creating a tasty product in a unique locale.
“The [mead] that I think is most unique is the thimbleberry, because it’s native to the area and not many other places,” Hersman said.
“It’s hard to feel bad when you come in this building,” Hronkin said with a laugh, “just because of the beauty of the space and then there’s a great story behind the product, starting with the bees and into the production in the basement of the church, using our local well water, local fruits. It just adds the extra story behind the product.”