Yesterday (in April 2013) we went to our first Meadery. Mead is wine made from honey. It is the oldest fermented beverage, and believed to have been made accidentally at first, due to hunting and gathering. Mead is made from a combination of honey, water and yeast.
We went to Moonlight Meadery, located in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Their motto is “Romance by the glass,” and they name each of their meads accordingly.
Upon entering, we were immediately greeted. It is always a good feeling when you are recognized upon entering a building, especially at any type of winery/brewery, etc since they are all run slightly different. So, we were greeted immediately and let them know that we had a livingsocial deal. Our deal included a tour, tasting, 2 wine glasses and $10 off a purchase.
Tours start every half hour, and you should plan on being there for about an hour. We tried a couple of meads (see descriptions) prior to the tour, and our tour started promptly at 5:00. We were the only people on the tour, but both the tours before and after us had a lot more (one following had 10 people). The tour was very informative, and lasted about a half hour. It did not feel lengthy, and had a laid back feeling to the tour. The tour had a story telling, hanging out with your friends, talking about a passion, feel to it. The meadery makes their products completely from beginning to end (minus making the honey themselves).
Bottling station, complete with cork machine & label “machine”
These barrels are whiskey barrels, used by Sam Adams Brewing Company for their Utopian beer (between $100-$200 depending on the year). Moonlight Meadery uses them once Sam Adams is done, for their Utopian Mead.
The tasting area
The meadery has about 56 different meads, with about 35 able to taste on a daily basis. Depending on which tour package you purchase, you are able to try between 4-8 meads. You can also purchase a keepsake glass, which would allow you to try either 4 or 6 meads.
The only downfall to the expansive amount of mead they have available, is that we are new to mead, so we weren’t sure what to try. I had tried 1 or 2 meads at a beer tasting last year, but had no idea where to start. The man who was running the show was also the second brewer/mead maker, so he knew what he was talking about and was able to give us great recommendations.
Notes from what Mark & I tried (descriptions from meadery are in italics)
Deviant: Uniquely refreshing, sweet, smooth blend of honey, apple and ginger please from aroma to lingering finish. Deviant had a really good balance of honey, apple and giner with no flavor outshining the others
Desire: Our Flagship: Enticing, complex blend of blueberries, black cherries and black currants balanced with basic elements of mead; honey, water and yeast. Desire was one of the first that Mark tried
Kurt’s Apple Pie: One of the biggest selling meads made from local apple cider with Madagascar-bourbon vanilla and Vietnamese cinnamon spice added. Get your piece of pie. This was delicious! Kurt’s Apple Pie was one of the first that I tried, and I wanted more. I left having bought a bottle. They sell Kurt’s Apple Pie 2x the amount of any other mead.
Sumptuous: Made from honey and mangos, sweet, smooth, wonderful complexity between the flavors and the long lasting finish, with a light body. The mangos were not huge on the flavor front, but balanced with the honey well and made a good combination.
Breathless: Intense, gripping cinnamon candy sweet dessert wine. This decadent spicy candy like mead is very similar to a popular cinnamon candy. WOW! Was this cinnamon! Breathless had a very intense cinnamon flavor, maybe too much for me, but could be great if added to vanilla ice cream.
Utopian: We aged and fermented this mead in hand-selected, Samuel Adams Utopias casks from the award-winning Boston Beer Company. This flavorful, slightly fruity mead has a sweet, complex flavor that is reminiscent of a deep, rich vintage port, fine cognac or aged sherry. The Utopian had a sweet, bourbon flavor. The flavor seemed to be “thick,” as Mark described it. This was the second mead we tried. The Utopian is $50 for bottle of #4, or $100 for a bottle of #5 or #6. We tried #6.
Je t’aime: Created for the owner’s wedding this past August. It was a sparkling mead, and the first one that we tried.
Stiletto: Provocative statement of slick and sexy, blend of bold black currant with lighter tones of honey and apple sweetness. A good, summer mead with a slight tang to it. I enjoyed this one a lot, and left with a bottle of it.
Serenity: made with apricot tea (I believe a rooibos tea). Reminded me of the kombucha we had tried at the Urban Farm Fermentory.
Admiration: not many notes on this one, besides “YUM!”
Kisses: As delicate as a kiss, this honey strawberry wine is sweet. The strawberry is ever so lightly represented against the floral flavors from the honey. Light on the strawberry flavor, which brings out the honey flavor. Was very good. Told that when it is cold, it truly “crisps up.”
Mischief: As in the conduct or activity that playfully causes petty annoyance. These Black Raspberries are deep in flavor and only enhanced by the honey notes, this wine will continue to age and mature over time. Mark and I both tried this one, and enjoyed it. If we were buying three bottles, this would have been the third.
Seduction: Fermented with natural Chocolate Madagascar-Bourbon Vanilla and Sumatra coffee. Dessert sweet honey notes, balanced by the bitterness from the coffee and oh so smooth vanilla in the background. At first sip, the chocolate and coffee weren’t very foward flavors, but wow! strong finish. Really liked this one at the last sip. Would be great with a small dish of vanilla ice cream.
Frisky: Are you inclined to frisk? Enjoy a little “Joie de vivre” with this rollicking honey blueberry maple wine. Light, playful and every so tasty. Think Wild with a frisky touch of maple syrup. Our newest release, available at the meadery, is aged in our Utopian barrels, and we added a touch more maple. After hearing about this one while on the tour, I told Mark he needed to try it- right up his alley. Mark said it was bourbon like, with blueberries & honey.
Us, after trying some delicious mead!
What we left with
We overheard another group being told that if they bring their glasses back, they can have another tasting- for free.
Close up of the glass
We would definitely recommend Moonlight Meadery. Mead is different than wine or beer, and is a different taste overall.
Moonlight Meadery is open for Tasting, Tours and Sales daily, starting at 11:00am.
Monday – Tuesday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday – Saturday 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 – 5:00 PM
*Tours happen as needed on weekdays, and every half hour on weekends. No reservations needed. We offer several different tour and tasting packages.
Romance by the glass… Tasting glassware
- Taste up to 4 meads with keepsake glass $5
- Taste up to 6 meads with keepsake glass $8
Tour & Tasting… $15 per person
- Deluxe Tour
- Large keepsake glass, with taste up to 6 meads.
- $5 off purchase of 2 or more bottles.
Romance Package… $50 per couple
- Deluxe Tour
- 2 large keepsake glasses, with taste up to 8 meads per person.
- Cheese & Crackers
- $10 off purchase of 2 or more bottles.
Executive Room… (Pricing available on request.)
- Private tasting room for up to 20 people.
- Large keepsake glassware per person
- Cheese & Crackers pairings
- $10 off purchase of 2 or more bottles per person.
- Meet the Mead Maker
- Reservations Required