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:
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.
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