It being National Wine Month (and unofficially Wine Week on OHventures), I was tempted to stop by the newly established Brothers Drake Meadery located just a few short minutes away from my home in Columbus, essentially on the corner of 5th Avenue and High Street. While OHventures tries to cover the entire state, and not just my homestead of Columbus, Brothers Drake Meadery was an absolute must, being that there are virtually NO other meaderies located in the state of Ohio! While the "Brothers Drake" (Woody and Eric, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with on my visit) have been producing mead in Ohio since 2004, it wasn't until a few short months ago that they opened the meadery to the public for tastings, tours, and what has become a regular hangout for some.
Turning honey into mead at Brothers Drake Meadery. Photo by OHventures.
So what exactly is this "mead" I keep speaking of? Mead is to honey as wine is to grapes. If that doesn't clear things up, mead is referred to often as "honey wine" because it is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey and yeast. The bartender, Sarah, spent a good deal of time explaining the allure of mead to me and put it well by saying that mead can be more diverse than wine or beer! Simply put, grapes don't have as much flexibility as honey does when it comes to makin' booze. Mead was very popular during the medieval times, which I know from having had it at a Renaissance Faire before. But now, thanks to Brothers Drake, mead is gaining popularity in Ohio too.
Brothers Drake Meadery takes pride in buying local honey and making the mead without heat or added sulfites to give it a pure taste. I had the opportunity to peek my head into the back room where they were concocting vats of mead and I was to find that it takes anywhere from six months to two years to make a batch. Sarah said that the longer they sit, they better. She referred to these meads as their "reserves" which cost a bit more, but have much more depth in taste.
Mead being made at Brothers Drake. Check out the Ohio flag in the background!
I tried two different varieties of dry mead: Honey Oak and Hopped Traditional. Honey Oak was definitely my favorite. It had an extremely woody, oaky taste that was strong and unique. The Hopped Traditional reminded me of a nice cool, refreshing beer, apparently because hops were added to the top of the batch while it was being made (not surprising there, given its name). I had also previously tried the Apple Pie meahttp://www.brothersdrake.com/d when I purchased a bottle at a local liquor store. It was very good, but very sweet...definitely better for people who enjoy sweet, dessert wines.
The meadery has a tasting special of four meads for $10 (non reserves) or you can buy it by the glass or bottle! You can find more information on their website for tours and events!