The world’s best sparkling mead contains just 3 ingredients with no extra additives, so you can drink the night away without a big hangover the next day.
Pair with Asian Food
Give Riesling, the default pairing with Asian food, a rest, and try pairing sparkling mead with a spicy Korean stew or Thai curry. Sparkling mead would do well with Thai Basil Chicken, Asian Lemon Chicken Wings, or Thai Winged Bean Salad with Coco-nutty Dressing.
Located just one hour north of San Francisco at Point Reyes Station, CA lies a converted cow barn that serves the world’s best sparkling mead.
Mead is wine made out of honey. At Heidrun Meadery, their motto is “From Flower to Flute.” Their mead varietals “reveal the essence of honey and the flowers from which it is derived.”
3 Simple Ingredients
Heidrun Meadery makes the world’s best sparkling mead with just 3 ingredients.
The only difference between each bottle is the type of honey used. These are single varietal meads that use just one type of honey in each bottle.
Single Varietal Mead
What makes the mead unique is that each bottle is an expression of the terroir of the place the hive is located.
These varietals range from Hawaiian macadamia nut, from a hive that foraged on macadamia flowers in Hawaii, to Madras Carrot Blossom, from bees that pollinated a field of carrots.
Honey never expires
Did you know that honey never expires? As such, the meadery buys and stocks honey from various honey makers.
They never know when they’ll be able to source that particular honey from that particular field, so each variety is essentially limited edition.
They purchase honey in 700 pound barrels, and each barrel can make 1200 bottles.
As of this writing, flavors include the following:
- California Orange Blossom
- Sonoma Mountain Wildflower
- Hawaiian Lehua Blossom
- Oregon Chicory Blossom
- Oregon Radish Blossom
- Oregon Meadowfoam Blossom
- Saw Palmetto Blossom
- California Raspberry Blossom
- California Buckwheat Blossom
Bottle prices range from $25-$50.
World’s Best Mead
Why is it the world’s best mead? As far as they, Heidrun is the only meadery in the worlds that produces sparkling mead in the methode traditionelle.
Also called methode champenoise, it is the same method used to make champagne. Instead of artificially pumping bubbles into the bottle, the bubble making happens in the bottle via secondary fermentation.
Mead is the oldest fermented beverage
Mead is the originaly fermented beverage tracing all the way tback to 1600 BC. Most meads are heavy, thick, and syrupy.
Heidrun meads, on the other hand, are light, refreshing, and effervescent.
Geologist unearths sparkling mead
A former geologist from Seattle started the company back in 1997. After studying beer brewing at UC Davis, Gordon Hull started brewing meads to stand out from the crowd of craft beer brewers that started cropping up in California.
He liked beer because the bubbles made such a cold and refreshing beverage. He tried applying the same brew making method to honey and found that the variety of honey could distinctly affect the flavor of the beverage.
12 Step Sparkling Mead Making Process
There are roughly 12 steps to making sparkling mead as they do at Heidrun Meadery.
- Boil the honey for 15 minutes to purify the honey and cook off any off flavors
- Inoculate with yeast and start the fermentation in steel tanks.
- Let the mead ferment for roughly one month.
- Remove any carbon dioxide production with a hose.
- As the sugars in the honey are consumed, spent yeast rises to the top.
- Pump off the clear liquid for the initial, non-sparkling mead.
- Bottle the mead.
- Put a temporary beer cap on the bottle while it undergoes secondary fermentation to make the bubbles.
- Yeast settles to the bottom of the bottls as the sugar is consumed.
- The bottles are riddled via a slow process of turning the bottles so the yeast settles at the neck of the bottle.
- The bottlenecks are frozen to to 20 degrees to turn the settled yeast into an ice plug.
- The beer cap if flipped off, and the pressure within the bottle shoots off the frozen yeast plug. If this is done properly, no extra gas is lost from the bottle.
This is an intense and finely tuned process that results in a sparkling wine that can resemble various shades of beer but with a brighter and bubblier foam.
So what does it taste like?
“Bee Sting” Bite
It is not sweet, per se, like you might expect a traditional mead to be. It almost tastes like a saison beer or other beer brewed with honey.
Honey has minimal sulfites, so it brews a more natural sparkling wine. However, it also has a bite, not unlike a little bee sting.
Since most of the sugar is fermented, there is no sweetness or sulfites to mask any off flavors. There is a little bit of a residual after taste that can be almost medicinal in quality.
However, I’m more than willing to live with any subtle flaws if that means a sulfite free and hangover free drinking experience. This is not unlike biodynamic wines where one may overlook bottle flaws for the sake of a sustainable ecosystem.
Serve ice, ice cold
Perhaps to tame that little “bee sting” after bite, the meadery recommends serving these wines ice, ice cold. As in after refrigerating, stick it in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Taste in a converted cow barn
If you’d like to sample before you purchase, the meadery has a cute little converted cow barn tasting room in Point Reyes Station, CA.
It makes a pleasant drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County. Tours of the mead making process are also offered on the weekend.
From Flower to Flute
Sparkling wine made from busy little bees is all natural, floral, and just a wee bit sweet. Like popping champagne with the subtle bite of a hoppy beer, it is festive and a fun alternative bubbly beverage.
Try the world’s best sparkling mead from Heidrun Meadery.
11925 CA-1, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
Published on March 29, 2019.
Do you love sweet honey and bubbly drinks? Please spread the Asian ♥ and share!