What do you think of mead?

February 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm | Posted in food | 10 Comments

I like mead. I do. Well, ok, I like lots of different liqueurs, beer; I’ve even enjoyed red wine recently on a regular basis. But I’ve liked mead for a long time. For almost 20 years now, since shortly after I went to my first renaissance faire. (Thanks, Shannon.)

But mead has stuck with me. And I’ve found an excellent local brewer, Magpie. Yes, the name of the website is, “Legendary Magpie Mead.” Yes, he’s a little full of himself, but dammit, he’s right! His mead is just the best I’ve ever had. No qualifiers. No, “well, it’s hard to say since I’ve tasted so many meads in my lifetime.” No. It’s really just the best. And this is about 20 years after the newness of mead first entranced me. I’m no starry-eyed pup with virgin tastebuds. This stuff is the real deal. And if you guys who have known me long enough to say, “That’s a strong endorsement from the king of understatement,” consider that I just may still be understating how superior this mead is.

Ok, I’m done gushing.

Anyway, this all came up because of an article by Nicholas Day about the recent popularity (?) of mead. Ok, the local wine shop these days always has at least (at most?) one bottle of Chaucer’s, the Ernest & Julio Gallo of mead. His main point is that, though you can find it at many farmers markets alongside the beekeepers hawking their various exotic strains of honey, mead hasn’t earned a place on the dinner table. It’s just not acidic enough, he says. Well, perhaps. If I enjoy mead, it’s generally after dinner, perhaps with a non-chocolate dessert. I agree that I have yet to find a mead and a meal that I can honestly believe is a good pairing. But that is at least partly because I haven’t really looked.

I’ll tell you this, though … the first place I’d look is Magpie.


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  1. It’s damned fine mead, and we’ve got a little left. Our anniversary’s coming up!

  2. And it’s on a Friday night! Woo-hoo!!

    Let’s drive the camper down to his farm one weekend this summer.

  3. Hey – I know Magpie – he used to vend at ROS – HE MAKES THE VERY BEST MEAD EVER AND I MISS IT.
    Thanks for providing his website!

  4. That’s where I discovered him about 4 years ago. We sampled some of his stuff and went right back and bought as many bottles as we could afford. We were still living in Arizona at the time, so we then had to figure out how to get these bottles onto the plane! Oh, but it was worth it.

    He was still there last year, too. I think Elderberry is my favorite of his. Mmm!

  5. Now I’ll just HAVE to buy some.

    Derek does not make endorsements like this every day.

    The last time he gushed about something so strongly…

    He married her.

  6. Tis True Magpie’s mead is the very best and he does still vend at ROS – I collect it but seldom drink it so there is always some on hand. I like the black razzleberry but Duncan only likes honey.

  7. I still hold his 10th anniversary brew in my memory. It was the best even among his. *sigh* Only 5 or so years until the 20th anniversary!

    I’ve always thought about brewing mead in the back of my mind, but I’ll probably experiment with brewing beer before mead. There are some friends in town who brew good beer, so I know I have some good people to learn from. Nobody in the area brews mead that I know of.

  8. I wouldn’t recomend brewing mead in the back of your mind…

    On second thought, that might be an excellent place to brew it.

  9. […] in NYC April 10, 2008 at 2:49 pm | In food | Remember when we talked about mead? Well, Magpie will be doing free tastings in New York City! Here’s the email I got from him […]

  10. Unbelievable that I should only just now find this article. Many thanks to all of you!

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