Savannah Bee Mead Tasting

 

mead tasting

Broughton Street Mead Bar.

Savannah Bee has a mead bar at our flagship store on Broughton Street in downtown Savannah. Mead enthusiasts and the curious may sample mead on site and purchase bottles of mead to enjoy at home. There are several meads to sample, from still to sparkling, semi-sweet to sweet. When we opened the mead bar almost two years ago we featured St. Ambrose Cellars meads exclusively. St. Ambrose is a meadery out of Michigan that is owned and operated by our good friends from Sleeping Bear Farms. We’ve since expanded our offerings to include meads from Redstone and B. Nektar meaderies. There is a rumor that we may offer a selection from a Georgia meadery soon… so keep your eyes peeled. As a home-mead maker, mead advocate, and, well, an employee of Savannah Bee Company, I’ve visited the mead bar one or two (or five) times. I’ll be your virtual guide until you yourself make the journey.

There are six meads to try that are staples at the mead bar and a rotating selection of limited seasonal or “one-off” selections. The sample mead flight includes four still meads from St. Ambrose and two sparkling meads on draft from Redstone. When I say there are limited releases to try, you may have to ask for these. They are in short supply and not on the menu! You will find my tasting notes below:

mead tasting

Let the mead tasting begin!

Your tasting begins with Tupelo Ambrosia. This is a traditional (mead, water and yeast only), still semi-sweet mead. It is pale straw in color and brilliantly clear. The aroma is dry and spotlights the tupelo honey with notes of pear and grass. It tastes sweeter than it smells, with the buttery tupelo honey up front and a slight alcohol heat. Tupelo Ambrosia is a great starter. It is simple, features a fantastic honey variety, and doesn’t burden the pallet.

The second choice is Dancing Bare Ambrosia. DBA is a pyment mead made from white wine grapes and star thistle honey. It is quite clear and a pale straw color. I tasted semi-sweet star thistle honey up front and some citrus fruit and grapes on the back. I was left wanting for a creamy goat cheese pairing.

star thistle mead

Star Thistle Ambrosia!

The third selection from St. Ambrose is another melomel (fruit mead) made with star thistle honey, Noiret grapes and Montmorency cherries called Cherry Amore. With this third sampling, we get more complex with flavors from both the honey and the fruit. At 12% ABV, it falls into the standard strength category of meads, and the sturdy legs in your glass show it. It is a clear ruby red in color, smells of cherry, grapes and strawberry, and tastes of sweet cherries and spices. The tasting note sheet I was handed called this semi-dry, but to me it is semi-sweet (someone get a hydrometer!). It makes a great dessert mead because of the strong fruit presence. Speaking of dessert…

The last selection (or not, if you’re lucky there will be some reserve meads) from St. Ambrose is Razzmatazz. Razzmatazz is a semi-sweet to sweet pale rose-colored fruit mead. There was sweet honey up front but dry raspberry in the finish. Try it with some dark chocolate.

Speaking of reserve meads, when I visited I was also offered the Royal Reserve from St. Ambrose. I was fortunate, as this mead is fantastic. It is sack strength (19% ABV), sweet, and oak barrel aged. I tasted intense honey, butterscotch, and vanilla.

There are currently two Redstone sparkling meads served from a draft system. The first is Nectar of the Hops, made from wildflower honey and amarillo hops. NOTH is a hydromel (8% ABV) strength pale yellow, and semi-sweet mead. It’s low alcohol, grapefruit flavor and sparkling effervescence make it easy to drink. It makes a great summer mead.

I’ve had two other sparkling meads from Redstone. On my first visit, it was Black Raspberry Nectar. BRN is a deep rose red colored semi-sweet hydromel made from clover and wildflower honey and black raspberries.. This is Redstone’s flagship mead and a real crowd pleaser. However, upon my second visit I encountered Black Currant, made from Orange Blossom and clover honey, Montrachet yeast, and (I assume) blackcurrant berries. I found it quite similar to the Black Raspberry with a low-alcohol, semi-sweet dark berry taste.

Pay attention to the Savannah Bee Facebook page, because sometimes the mead bar gets special visits from meadery founders. In the last year, the bar has been visited by Kirk and Sharon Jones of St. Ambrose Cellars, Michael Fairbrother of Moonlight Meadery, and David Myers of Redstone Meadery. Each of the meadery founders brought special reserve selections that were only available that night.

If you live in or visit Savannah I highly recommend a visit to the Savannah Bee mead bar. We are all quite fortunate to have access to this educational and delicious experience. The knowledgeable staff will guide you if you’re a mead novice wanting to learn more! The presentation is ideal and the experience is very fun. I believe you will leave quite satisfied!

 

Submitted By: Jonathan Lee

Comments (17)

  1. Alicia says:

    My husband has celiacs disease. Is your mead gluten free?

    1. brantley says:

      Hi Alicia, for the most part, mead is gluten free. However, please steer away from the Braggot varieties because they are made with malt which can impart gluten into the finished product. Thanks and enjoy!

  2. Amanda says:

    Do you have any recommendations on at home mead making kits that you can order online?

    1. Amanda says:

      My husband and I were in your store on our honeymoon and enjoyed the mead tasting, while we were there he was interested in the mead kit you have in the store but i can’t find it on your online shop.

      1. brantley says:

        Shipping alcohol via the internet is tricky. Currently, we sell mead from guest producers or we private label mead. Neither of these sales classifications allow us to ship mead. However, if we were to produce our own mead, in our own meadery, then we could ship the mead to states that allow internet shipping of alcohol. Right now only 17 states allow the shipping of alcohol. Beyond that, there are some special exceptions for things like “beer of the month” or “wine of the month” clubs. We do have plans to open our own meadery within the next couple of years.

    2. brantley says:

      Mead making is relatively simple. In fact, the base recipe has only 3 ingredients; honey, yeast, and water. Please check out this post to get started!

      http://savannahbee.com/blog/making-honey-mead-1-gallon-tupelo-dry-traditional-mead/

  3. Jess says:

    Is it possible to order the glasses (the short “buzz” glass) online?

    1. brantley says:

      Hey, Jess! I’m not sure which glass you are talking about. Is it the one pictured in the post? If you can give me a little more information and you address I will see if I can round one up and send it out to you. Currently, I am not selling any glassware online but it’s a good idea!

      1. Brenda says:

        Those glasses are adorable. Are they for sale online yet?

        1. brantley says:

          Hi Brenda, they are not available online currently but I will revisit the question with my shipping team and see if they are willing to take on the challenge of shipping these mead glasses. Thanks, it looks like we might have a case for the retail sales of these glasses!

  4. Jackie Nix says:

    Can you order the mead online and have it shipped?

    1. brantley says:

      Hi, Jackie and thanks for the great question! In order to ship mead, you must be a production facility. Currently, we are not producing Savannah Bee mead so we cannot ship. However, most of the mead varieties we carry in out retail stores and mead bars can be purchased and shipped directly from the supplier. Check out Redstone Meadery or Moonlight Meadery or our very first meadery connection St. Ambros Cellars. You can’t go wrong ordering directly from these guys!

  5. Jennifer says:

    How long does the mead last once it’s opened?

    1. Jonathan says:

      Hi Jennifer, thanks for your question. You may think of mead like other beverages such as wine, cider or beer. If it is sparkling (carbonated) it will go flat within about 24 hours after you open the bottle. All meads once exposed to oxygen in the air will begin to change. In this sense treat it like a bottle of wine. I recommend finishing the bottle within 1 to 2 days.

  6. Melissa says:

    How can I order some to be shipped to my house.

    1. brantley says:

      Hey, Melissa! Unfortunately, the only way you can ship alcoholic beverages is to be the producer. Currently, we source the nation’s best meads and sell those through our mead bars. However, there is a conversation around here about opening a Savannah Bee Meadery here in Savannah. This would mean that we could sell Savannah Bee mead online and ship to states that allow interstate distribution of alcoholic beverages. I guess for now, just come to Savannah and pick up a few bottles!

  7. Ashley says:

    So I have always been a bit of a wine girl, but after trying all the different types of mead I am a convert! Love the sweet taste and my favorite has to the Fling that tastes like strawberry rhubarb or the Tupelo Ambrosia. If you haven’t had the chance to try any you need to soon! You’ll be a convert soon!

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