Went to Eat Real fest at Helms Bakery on Saturday just in time for the honey harvesting demonstration by a local honeybee relocation group out of Santa Ana called Backyard Bees. They rescue local beehives and try to find new homes for them in large backyards in the LA/OC area. They fund themselves by selling beeswax and honey products. Their honey isn’t great for mead because they don’t cultivate it: basically, the bees can go where they want in people’s backyards, any plants or trees or flowers, so the honey tastes like a mix of wildflowers, sage, eucalyptus, and clover (i.e., everything that’s too weak in flavor to produce great mead). But the cause is excellent. We need honeybees in our ecosystem and we love honey in our diet. Check out their website and their Etsy store for ways to support them!
I want this beer float from @FathersOffice in Cali!
“To start things off they’ve paired the Ballast Point Sculpin IPA with a grapefruit sorbet. The flavors in this offbeat combination jive well together. The hoppiness of the beer also effectively cleanses your palate so that each taste of the sorbet comes with the same intensity as the first. Despite the addition of the sugar from the sorbet, the IPA is strong so this is definitely a dessert for beer loving grown ups!”
Note to self: always be prepared before starting must. We began what we hope will eventually become 3 gallons of spiced apple mead at 9pm Tuesday with 9lbs of honey, 3 gallons of water, some yeast and nutrient, and 6 apples. No recipe. Didn’t check to be sure we had all the spices. What could possibly go wrong?
Things I learned:
1. Never assume we know what we’re doing.
2. Always start pitching must earlier in the evening, because with sanitization and cooling, we’re looking at 3-4 hours of time.
3. Always have a recipe.
4. Do research at least one night before preparing to buy all ingredients, so that the new knowledge and research has time to crystallize before we start putting the must together.
5. Most cysers are made with raw apple juice/cider rather than water.
We went to High Times Wine Cellar in Costa Mesa, CA on Friday at the suggestion from my mom that we could probably find mead there. HOLY CRAP, that place puts BevMo to shame. It’s a 2-story warehouse building packed, floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall, with alcohol. The bottom floor is all wine, including extremely rare imports. They have a walk-in refrigerator room for beer, and they have absolutely every craft beer you could want. They do also have a couple meads, but they’re over with the cordials and aperitifs (yes, 2 whole aisles for cordials and liquers). They had Chaucer’s, of course, and the Jadwiga in what looks like a chianti bottle that’s been aged forever and wins all sorts of awards, and Lindisfarne Mede with grape juice. They have a lot more online, and they ship to many states for a price, or do store pick-up.
So I kinda went on a follow-fest today. There’re a shocking number of homebrewers on Tumblr, and I feel like we’re among some good company. Even more surprising was the number of fellow meadmakers I was able to find in such a short time.
Great thing about Tumblr: Our meads will take 6-9 months to finish for bottling, but we needn’t leave this space unkept. Looking forward to filling that time with some reposts of all the talent and passion out there along with our own thoughts, reflections, and tasting reviews.
Also, to the fellow cat lover/owner (not necessarily the same thing) and the neuroscientist out there doing your own homebrew thing… cool.