The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 110

Like that?
Try this mead.
Beer

Braggots are made with malted grains and often hops, too.
Try Blacksnake's Hoppy Bee Brew, in which honey is boiled
with local hops to create a slightly bitter brew reminiscent
of pale ale.

Cider

Cysers are made with apples, so they're a go-to for cider
fans.

Sparkling wine

Bottle conditioned meads, like Blacksnake's line of Bee
Brews, are completely dry and lightly carbonated. As with
champagne, a little sugar is added at bottling; the yeast in
the bottle helps convert the sugars into CO2 which creates
effervescence. Try Blacksnake's Berry Bolla Bee, a slightly
funky, black raspberry mead on tap.

White wine

Opt for traditional meads that skew dry, such as Atheling's
Lyres Song, which is floral up front with citrus and balsam
undertones.

Red wine

Look for pyments, which are brewed with wine grapes, or
seek out melomels with jammy fruit flavors. Atheling's
Shield Maiden is fermented with blackberries and aged with
heavy toast French oak chips which add the vanilla notes
and tannic qualities characteristic of oak-barrel-aged reds.

Dessert wine

Bochets are made with caramelized honey (some
mazers heat the honey until it's burnt to impart toasted
marshmallow notes). Blacksnake Meadery's amber-hued,
sherry-like Meloluna makes it an ideal stand-in for Port.

Cocktails

Treat mead like a mixer. Villers mingles Meloluna with
chilled vodka, while Ausband pairs Lyres Song with
ginger ale. During Wasena's 100th birthday celebration,
Blacksnake's neighbors, Bloom and Wasena Tap Room,
offered mead cocktails, including a lemon-bourbon number
with Sweet Virginia, and a tart-fizzy Cherry Bee Brew
margarita, respectively. -LKH

110

MARCH/APRIL 2020

Dry meads, or those with no residual
sugar, call for more dilution, while sweet
meads call for less dilution. Traditional
meads are considered semi-sweet, including
Blacksnake's Sweet Virginia. Other common
styles include melomels, which are brewed
with fruit, such as Atheling Meadworks'
blackberr y-for ward Shield Maiden.
Metheglins are crafted with herbs and spices,
such as Blacksnake's Ginger Bee Brew, made
with Virginia-grown ginger and lime.
In addition to the style of mead and each
mazer's approach, a mead's characteristics
var y depending on the honey. Honey 's
terroir-informed by various nectar sources
including blossoms, fruits and herbs-gives
mead nuanced aromas and flavors in the
same way that grapes' terroir does for wine.
"It's surprising the complexity you can get
out of mead with very simple ingredients
because of the complexity of the honey,"
Ausband says. "You can use the same recipe,
the same everything and the variation of
honey will give you a huge difference in the
final product."
Atheling's meads are made with raspberry
blossom honey, whose bright floral qualities
especially shine in the citrus-leaning Lyres
Song. Ausband is currently fermenting a
pyment (a melomel brewed with grapes)
using Virginia wildflower honey. Next, he
plans to produce a limited-edition mead
using robust, earthy Italian chestnut honey.
Most of Blacksnake's mead features
Virginia honey, much of it produced from
hives in the Villers' backyard in Roanoke
(they also have hives at the D ugspur
meader y). V illers finds that many dark
wildflower varietals of Virginia honey are
nutty and a little bitter, while honey from
Roanoke, particularly black locust honey,
possesses a deep floral aroma.
To appreciate meads' subtleties, one
should taste mead as one would other wines.
Take in visual cues such as color, then swirl
the glass to observe the viscosity. Swirling
also helps incorporate air to release aromas;
sniff before you sip. Consider temperature,
too. Villers serves sweeter meads at room
temperature to showcase aromas, and drier
ones chilled. Ausband serves Lyres Song
chilled but discovered that once warmed, it
drinks like mulled wine.
Ready to swirl, sniff and sip? Explore the
sidebar to discover a mead based on what
you already like to drink.

TheRoanoker.com


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The Roanoker - March/April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - March/April 2020

The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Intro
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover1
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover2
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 3
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The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover3
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover4
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