In 2007, entrepreneur Ben Alexander co-founded the Maine Mead Works in Portland, Maine, with experienced South African mead-maker Dr. Garth Cambray. Maine Mead Works is going strong today, still staffed by Dr. Cambray, mead-maker Nick Higgins, and Ben and Carly Alexander. They offer a variety of carefully-crafted meads made from Maine wildflower honey, with a range that will suit both sophisticated palates and the most novice of mead drinkers.
First, I tried the Honeymaker Lavender Mead. Since I’m not a big fan of trendy artisan-style herbal flavorings, I was a little cautious. Well, okay; I was actually downright skeptical. Lavender is what grandmothers put in those little pomander balls hanging in the backs of old lady’s closets. My caution was entirely misplaced, though, and I’m happy to confess my skepticism was utterly baseless. You know how a summer hayfield smells? That’s sort of what this mead tastes like: honey, herbs, and sunshine, all carefully distilled into a lovely glass of crisp, pale liquid. The mouth feel is refreshing and gently astringent. The nose is reminiscent of a lazy country summer afternoon in a hammock. This mead definitely wanted to open up a little more as it warmed in the glass, and the flavor blossomed, too. Better served cool than actually chilled.
The other mead I tried, the Honeymaker Dry Mead, was so crisp and pleasantly dry that it seemed almost effervescent in terms of mouth feel—but nonetheless redolent of honey and citrus blossom. With all the elegance of a dry white wine, with all the tradition and flavor and spiciness of this ancient beverage, the Honeymaker Dry Mead was truly exceptional. This is a mead you can serve to friends with well-educated wine palates, and serve just as happily as to your more adventurous and less-jaded pals out in the yard on a warm spring evening. I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity to sample some of their other flavors, after this very pleasant introduction.
Maine Mead Works ships to Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia and Wyoming, through their partner website, Vinoshipper.com, or if you find yourself in Portland, stop by their tasting room and taste some of their many extraordinary and carefully-crafted meads for yourself.