Mead flows in Ferndale, Michigan
By Jennifer Primrose
First there was an insurgence of wineries – and then we were thrust into the craft beer craze. Now it seems we have discovered the world of meads. Mead has actually been around for centuries and by its simplest definition, is an alcoholic beverage made with honey, water, fruit, spices and sometimes hops and tea. Mead is often referred to as "honey wine" and almost seems to lean either more towards wine or beer, which gives in to a unique experience.
So, is this a growing trend, or has it always been there, and Triangle Around Town is just venturing into this new movement?
SCHRAMM'S MEADERY 327 W. 9 Mile Road, Ferndale, Michigan 48220
It was while we were discussing our upcoming vacation plans to Michigan that we were given the recommendation to visit Schramm's Meadery and we could not have been more pleased. Schramm's is located in Ferndale, Michigan, and has been in business since the summer of 2013. We have been introduced to mead in the past, but I never knew it could taste this good!
Schramm's is a small-batch meadery with 8 different meads to sample by the glass, as well as craft cocktails, flights, and of course, by the bottle. We decided on two flights – the Three Mead Flight for $7, which includes 1 oz. pours of The Statement, Black Agnes and Nutmeg, as well as the Maddy's Flight for $9, which includes pours of Raspberry, Madeline and Ginger.
These meads were simply amazing! The Statement boasted the rich Michigan cherry flavor and, out of these six, ranked as my favorite. Dathan found the black current mead, Black Agnes, his favorite. We had already heard about it, and now it was time to try it ... The Heart of Darkness. This mead is rated the No. 1 mead in the world.
Here's a clipping from Schramm's website: "The Heart of Darkness is our capstone mead. It is made from hand-harvested fruit. The cherries are of the Schaarbeek variety, an intensely flavorful, European morello type, the raspberries are Heritage and Latham, and the black currants are Crandall and Consort. Production is extremely limited, as the amount of care and labor which go into each batch is substantial. This is a hand-crafted mead, if ever there was one. The mead is deep purple in color, has a dense fruitiness and a mid-palate with considerable tartness, and a long, lingering, balanced finish. Your empty glass will be very redolent of the honey component. The Heart of Darkness pairs well with spicy, grilled red meats, high quality dark chocolate, and blue cheeses."
A glass of this mead goes for $45. A bottle sells for $100. And a 1 oz. pour with a flight goes for $10, and is paired with local dark chocolate – worth every penny!
After visiting this new favorite, I decided to learn a little more about the owner/meadmaker, Ken Schramm. Schramm has been making mead since 1988, as well as brewing beer. He is also a fruit grower, growing a variety of apples, cherries and berries at his home orchard. He is the founding Competition Director of America's first and largest mead-only competition – the Mazer Cup. Those we spoke to at the shop told us that Schramm "wrote the book on mead." I now understand what they meant.
Do yourself a favor, and if you are ever in southeast Michigan, make sure you visit Schramm's Meadery. I promise you will not be disappointed.
B NEKTAR 511 Jarvis Street, Ferndale, Michigan 48220
About a mile down the road from Schramm's, you'll find B Nektar, another one of Michigan's finest and most popular meaderies. Imagine our surprise when we pull up just 5-minutes until opening to discover B Nektar was having a bottle re-release of its Bananas Foster and Tiramisu meads. After snatching one each, we settled in with a couple drinks.
First we got a pint of The Dude's Rug, a hard cider with chai spices. It was rather fitting when the guy behind the bar put on The Big Lebowski on a TV projector while we sipped our cider. The dude would abide!
We then had samples of the Raspberry Ginger and Slice of Life, followed by the Gose Braggot. Around this time the sky opened up and the downpour of rain began. I guess there could certainly be worse places to be during a thunderstorm than at a meadery.
B Nektar was founded in 2006, and officially opened its doors two years later. And the taproom, located on Jarvis Street in Ferndale, is new, and coined Taproom 3.0, which was written on the chalkboard behind the bar.
Appealing more to the craft beer crowd, B Nektar produces not only meads, but ciders and beers. Some of their most popular meads are Necromangocon, which won a gold medal at the 2013 Michigan Mead Cup, Kill All Golfers, which is an Arnold Palmer-style mead and the Black Fang, with blackberry, cloves and orange zest.
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