Mead – Cider’s Cousin?
There seems to be an kinship between mead (honey wine) and cider. I’m not totally sure why, but I would guess it’s because they relatively niche fermented beverages. While both have existed for hundreds of years they are also both enjoying recent rediscovery and experimentation. Mead and cider sometimes seem like the estranged members of the fermented beverage family, especially compared to wine and beer. If you are particularly adventurous you can even ferment apple juice with honey and make something often called a “Cyser”, but that’s probably worth another post altogether…
Visiting a Meadery
I definitely know more about cider than mead, but I love to learning more. Also, we just love visiting different craft beverage makers. After stopping at Eau Claire Distillery on our way to the mountains, we were able to stop at Fallentimber Meadery on our way back to Edmonton. We have visited a few places in the past that make mead. However, in those cases it was usually it was usually a side endeavor. This was our first experience where mead was the main focus.
Before we tasted any of the mead, we were given a great tour of the facility. First we saw where the mead was actually made. Most fermentation equipment is pretty familiar to us now, but I always like to gawk at fermentation tanks. They had an impressive set up and made very good use of the space they have.
The main difference, of course, is you start with honey instead of apples. The tour included some pictures and explanation of hardworking bees that start everything off. We also got a chance to see some of the equipment for beekeping and honey extraction. We finished the tour in a huge room filled with giant barrels of honey. Even just one of the barrels was probably more honey than I’ve ever seen in one place in my life!
We have tried some of the mead from Fallentimber before. One of our favorites is the pyment which is a sort of wine-mead crossover made from a blend of honey with wine grapes. They have quite a few different products, so we got a chance to a few that were new to us.
Apart from the traditional higher alcohol wine-like meads, Fallentimber also makes something they call session meads. These area a lower alcohol sparking style that one might drink a bit more like a beer or cider. We tried a hopped version which we quite liked. We also got a chance to sneak a taste of a mojito like lime and mint version that isn’t for sale just yet, but will likely be available for purchase this summer! Of course, we also had to sample some of the delicious honey!
Fallentimber is in a beautiful location, and the site itself is really cool. They also sometimes have special events on-site which sound like a lot of fun. If you happen to find yourself in the area, or feel like a nice little road trip, it’s definitely worth a visit.