Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Most Surprising MEAD--a list from PATTY CHAPMAN

2016 has just gone by--and the list earlier was about "memorable beer & mead"--invited Patty to write her list for 2016 and got the list this morning focusing on mead only--which is a nice thing--Patty is definitely passionate about Mead--it's a pleasure to look at someone who has been enjoying mead in more ways than we could here in ASIA--though Mead is still something very new, relatively unknown and short in supply here--no harm "getting ahead of ourselves" at times :)
CRAFT 级别蜜酒在美国本土不算很多人知道,亚洲更是没什么人知道,也没什么供应,这张清单算是延续2016年最有印象啤酒/蜜酒记,不过用另一个方式呈现,PATTY是很多蜜酒爱好者知道是谁的超级爱好者,主持论坛也写酒评,这是她的个人“最有惊喜蜜酒”清单。
Here's the list in Patty's own words and all pics from her Insta( with consent--well--except a certain Jon Snow pic)
1.Lavender​ ​Mead​ ​by​ ​Honey​ ​Girl  
This​ ​was​ ​a​ ​late​ ​entry,​ ​only​ ​sampling​ ​this​ ​one​ ​at​ ​a​ ​share​ ​in​ ​mid-December,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​was​ ​such a​ ​stunner,​ ​that​ ​we​ ​all​ ​were​ ​wondering​ ​where​ ​this​ ​meadery​ ​came​ ​from,​ ​why​ ​no​ ​one​ ​in​ ​the Carolinas​ ​was​ ​talking​ ​about​ ​them​ ​and​ ​how​ ​we​ ​could​ ​get​ ​more.​ ​​ ​It​ ​doesn’t​ ​hit​ ​you​ ​in​ ​the face​ ​with​ ​either​ ​honey​ ​or​ ​lavender,​ ​but​ ​has​ ​just​ ​enough​ ​of​ ​each​ ​to​ ​be​ ​pleasant, refreshing,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​great​ ​pairing​ ​for​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​cheeses​ ​(we​ ​were​ ​having​ ​a​ ​great parmesan).​ ​​ ​I​ ​would​ ​have​ ​loved​ ​to​ ​swing​ ​by​ ​when​ ​we​ ​visited​ ​the​ ​Raleigh-Durham​ ​area over​ ​the​ ​summer,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​will​ ​have​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​must-stop​ ​on​ ​a​ ​future​ ​trip.
2.Heritage​ ​Raspberry​ ​by​ ​Schramm’s​ ​Mead (pictured​ ​right) 
This​ ​was​ ​an​ ​on​ ​site​ ​only​ ​item​ ​for​ ​their​ ​3rd​ ​anniversary​ ​party​ ​this​ ​year.​ ​​ ​This​ ​was​ ​not​ ​the Schramm’s​ ​Raspberry​ ​available​ ​in​ ​bottles,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​like​ ​peak​ ​of​ ​season​ ​raspberries dipped​ ​in​ ​honey.​ ​​ ​This​ ​was​ ​drier,​ ​and​ ​yet​ ​somehow​ ​more​ ​raspberry​ ​in​ ​your​ ​face.​ ​​ ​It​ ​waso​ ​intensely​ ​raspberry​ ​that​ ​I​ ​desperately​ ​wanted​ ​a​ ​bottle​ ​to​ ​see​ ​how​ ​it​ ​would​ ​develop over​ ​time,​ ​but​ ​alas​ ​I​ ​had​ ​to​ ​settle​ ​for​ ​the​ ​one​ ​glass​ ​because​ ​there​ ​were​ ​so​ ​many​ ​great things​ ​pouring​ ​over​ ​the​ ​course​ ​of​ ​the​ ​weekend,​ ​but​ ​that​ ​one​ ​really​ ​stuck​ ​out​ ​(and​ ​I​ ​am sure​ ​everyone​ ​you​ ​ask​ ​will​ ​tell​ ​you​ ​something​ ​different​ ​was​ ​their​ ​favorite).
美国蜜酒界鼎鼎大名的酿坊3周年特酿--只能在当时现场喝到, 满满覆盆子香味, 让PATTY有即刻找一瓶的冲动。

3. Hamlet​ ​Honeymoon​ ​by​ ​Ring​ ​of​ ​Fire  
This​ ​isn’t​ ​new.​ ​​ ​In​ ​fact​ ​it​ ​is​ ​very​ ​old.​ ​​ ​And​ ​the​ ​meadery​ ​closed​ ​it’s​ ​doors​ ​years​ ​ago.​ ​​ ​But occasionally​ ​I​ ​see​ ​people​ ​post​ ​ISOs​ ​for​ ​it,​ ​and​ ​frankly,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​really​ ​excited​ ​to​ ​try​ ​it.​ ​This​ ​is an​ ​important​ ​object​ ​lesson​ ​in​ ​“hype​ ​does​ ​not​ ​equal​ ​good.”​ ​From​ ​everything​ ​I​ ​had​ ​heard​I was​ ​expecting​ ​something​ ​resembling​ ​good,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​think​ ​the​ ​bottles​ ​were​ ​sealed​ ​with the​ ​best​ ​corks​ ​for​ ​long​ ​term​ ​aging.​ ​In​ ​other​ ​words,​ ​drink​ ​em​ ​if​ ​you​ ​got​ ​em.

4. Portuguese​ ​Blindfold​ ​by​ ​Superstition​ ​Meadery  
Let’s​ ​take​ ​some​ ​honey,​ ​and​ ​add​ ​candi​ ​sugar…​ ​and​ ​if​ ​that​ ​isn’t​ ​enough,​ ​let’s​ ​toss​ ​it​ ​in​ ​a Black​ ​Tuesday​ ​Barrel.​ ​​ ​Everything​ ​in​ ​me​ ​says​ ​this​ ​should​ ​be​ ​unbearably​ ​sweet,​ ​and​ ​pour out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bottle​ ​like​ ​syrup.​ ​​ ​I​ ​think​ ​my​ ​initial​ ​reaction​ ​when​ ​I​ ​read​ ​the​ ​description​ ​for​ ​his was​ ​“Y​ ​tho?”​ ​Again,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​wrong.​ ​​ ​While​ ​this​ ​is​ ​a​ ​fairly​ ​sweet​ ​mead,​ ​a​ ​few​ ​ounces​ ​at​ ​a time​ ​actually​ ​has​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​nuance.​ ​​ ​Somehow​ ​through​ ​all​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Black​ ​Tuesday​ ​Barrel comes​ ​through​ ​as​ ​a​ ​nearly​ ​salty-savory​ ​touch​ ​that​ ​accents​ ​the​ ​richness​ ​of​ ​the​ ​drink​ ​and makes​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​thing​ ​taste​ ​like​ ​some​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​drinkable​ ​salt​ ​caramel.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​real standout​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Guild​ ​Gathering.
这是一瓶听起来(蜜糖-加糖果-再放入"黑色星期二"黑啤桶陈)就让人觉得一定甜死人的酿品,不过, 虽然甜, 少量喝其实会发掘很多细节, 感觉像盐过的焦糖!

5. Vanguard​ ​by​ ​Wild​ ​Blossom 
Vanguard​ ​was​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​first​ ​2016​ ​releases​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Wild​ ​Blossom​ ​club.​ ​While​ ​most​ ​folks ears​ ​perked​ ​up​ ​at​ ​the​ ​other​ ​bottle​ ​in​ ​the​ ​release,​ ​S’mores​ ​Bochet​ ​(pictured​ ​right),​ ​I​ ​was​ ​all over​ ​this​ ​one.​ ​​ ​It​ ​was​ ​inexpensive,​ ​an​ ​early​ ​expansion​ ​of​ ​Wild​ ​Blossom’s​ ​barrel​ ​program(beyond​ ​the​ ​longtime​ ​favorite​ ​Sweet​ ​Desire),​ ​and​ ​​ ​it​ ​hits​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​right​ ​notes​ ​in​ ​the semi-sweet​ ​range.​ ​​ ​I​ ​could​ ​drink​ ​it​ ​all​ ​day​ ​if​ ​they​ ​had​ ​made​ ​more​ ​than​ ​one​ ​batch.

6.FOMO​ ​by​ ​MisBeehavin​ ​Meads​ ​(pictured​ ​left) 
This​ ​oak-aged,​ ​coffee,​ ​buckwheat​ ​mead​ ​is​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​a​ ​flavor​ ​departure​ ​for​ ​MisBeehavin.​ ​​ ​I have​ ​been​ ​enjoying​ ​having​ ​access​ ​to​ ​refreshing,​ ​drier​ ​meads​ ​close​ ​to​ ​home,​ ​but​ ​the flavors​ ​of​ ​oak,​ ​coffee​ ​and​ ​buckwheat​ ​are​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​aggressive​ ​for​ ​a​ ​dry​ ​profile,​ ​so​ ​I​ ​am​ ​glathey​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​go​ ​sweeter​ ​on​ ​this​ ​one.​ ​​ ​Despite​ ​the​ ​name,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​expecting​ ​the​ ​house profile​ ​going​ ​in,​ ​and​ ​was​ ​blown​ ​away​ ​with​ ​the​ ​richness​ ​and​ ​complexity.​ ​​ ​While MisBeehavin​ ​hasn’t​ ​shied​ ​away​ ​from​ ​experimenting​ ​with​ ​unique​ ​flavors,​ ​they​ ​have​ ​tended to​ ​be​ ​friendlier​ ​to​ ​drier​ ​profiles,​ ​but​ ​this​ ​one​ ​is​ ​a​ ​great​ ​cool​ ​weather​ ​treat.

7. Aronia​ ​Berry​ ​by​ ​Rushford​ ​Meadery 
This​ ​was​ ​the​ ​first​ ​Aronia​ ​berry​ ​anything​ ​I​ ​had​ ​ever​ ​had,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​first​ ​mead​ ​I​ ​had​ ​from Rushford​ ​(possibly​ ​their​ ​first​ ​release,​ ​if​ ​I​ ​recall​ ​correctly).​ ​​ ​This​ ​one​ ​immediately​ ​reminded me​ ​of​ ​a​ ​dry​ ​black​ ​currant.​ ​​ ​I​ ​knew​ ​right​ ​away​ ​that​ ​it​ ​was​ ​something​ ​special,​ ​and something​ ​I​ ​would​ ​want​ ​to​ ​pair​ ​with​ ​a​ ​meal​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future.​ ​​ ​The​ ​strong​ ​tannic​ ​flavor​ ​will​ ​age well​ ​and​ ​stand​ ​up​ ​to​ ​rich​ ​foods.​ ​I​ ​look​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​future​ ​releases​ ​from​ ​this​ ​small Wisconsin​ ​meadery​ ​as​ ​they​ ​grow​ ​their​ ​program.

8. Goober​ ​Vitis​ ​(previously​ ​Goober​ ​Grape)​ ​by​ ​Garagiste​ ​Meadery 
(apparently​ ​I​ ​almost​ ​never​ ​take​ ​pictures​ ​of Goober​ ​Grape​ ​despite​ ​having​ ​had​ ​it​ ​several​ ​times)
While​ ​not​ ​the​ ​first​ ​nut​ ​mead​ ​I​ ​had​ ​ever​ ​heard​ ​of​ ​or​ ​consumed,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​the​ ​first​ ​one​ ​that made​ ​me​ ​think​ ​I​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​more​ ​nut​ ​meads​ ​in​ ​my​ ​life.​ ​​ ​When​ ​I​ ​initially​ ​received a​ ​bottle​ ​from​ ​the​ ​first​ ​batch​ ​as​ ​an​ ​unexpected​ ​gift,​ ​I​ ​captioned​ ​it​ ​with​ ​“got​ ​a​ ​present​ ​frm the​ ​future,”​ ​which​ ​said​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​before​ ​I​ ​ever​ ​even​ ​tasted​ ​the​ ​stuff.​ ​​ ​Based​ ​on​ ​the​ ​lineup​ ​that followed​ ​with​ ​Goober​ ​Fraise​ ​and​ ​Goober​ ​Razz​ ​(as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​other​ ​new​ ​and​ ​different​ ​nut meads​ ​coming​ ​from​ ​elsewhere),​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​think​ ​I​ ​am​ ​the​ ​only​ ​person​ ​who​ ​thinks​ ​this​ ​way. Looking​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​the​ ​surprises​ ​Garagiste​ ​has​ ​in​ ​store​ ​when​ ​they​ ​officially​ ​open​ ​their doors​ ​in​ ​2017.

9.Blueberries​ ​everywhere 
Blueberries​ ​are​ ​notoriously​ ​difficult​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with,​ ​as​ ​the​ ​cost​ ​to​ ​flavor​ ​ratio​ ​has​ ​long​ ​been considered​ ​not​ ​worth​ ​it.​ ​​ ​At​ ​the​ ​beginning​ ​of​ ​the​ ​year​ ​I​ ​would​ ​have​ ​had​ ​to​ ​stretch​ ​to​ ​name more​ ​than​ ​three​ ​blueberry​ ​meads​ ​total,​ ​and​ ​now​ ​I​ ​can​ ​name​ ​multiple​ ​meaderies​ ​that make​ ​multiple​ ​blueberry​ ​meads.​ ​​ ​We​ ​have​ ​come​ ​a​ ​long​ ​way​ ​in​ ​a​ ​year.​ ​​ ​And​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a wide​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​what​ ​is​ ​available.​ ​I​ ​think​ ​there​ ​was​ ​a​ ​solid​ ​hour​ ​where​ ​we​ ​drank​ ​nothing but​ ​blueberry​ ​drinks​ ​(mead,​ ​eisbock​ ​and​ ​lambic,​ ​but​ ​mostly​ ​mead)​ ​at​ ​my​ ​birthday​ ​party. What​ ​a​ ​time​ ​to​ ​be​ ​alive!
蓝莓是出了名难搞,超贵的酿酒食材,2016 年初,PATTY要想破头才能列出三个蓝莓蜜酒,到现在,用蓝莓酿蜜酒,啤酒,果酸啤酒的已很多,活在当今真好。

10.Understanding​ ​Honey​ ​by​ ​Schramm’s​ ​Meadery 
Someone​ ​asked​ ​me​ ​to​ ​describe​ ​this​ ​mead​ ​after​ ​sampling​ ​it.​ ​​ ​“You​ ​know​ ​nothing,​ ​Jon Snow.”​ ​This​ ​mead​ ​challenges​ ​everything​ ​you​ ​think​ ​you​ ​know​ ​about​ ​traditional​ ​meads.​ ​​ ​It is​ ​a​ ​blend​ ​of​ ​rich​ ​and​ ​flavorful​ ​honeys.​ ​​ ​When​ ​you​ ​start​ ​to​ ​think​ ​of​ ​“wildflower”​ ​as​ ​eneric and​ ​not​ ​unique,​ ​Understanding​ ​honey​ ​is​ ​a​ ​boquet​ ​of​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​things.​ ​​ ​The​ ​closest​ ​I ever​ ​came​ ​to​ ​really​ ​getting​ ​it​ ​was​ ​when​ ​I​ ​did​ ​a​ ​large​ ​honey​ ​tasting.​ ​​ ​The​ ​most​ ​well regarded​ ​monofloral​ ​honeys​ ​just​ ​did​ ​not​ ​stack​ ​up​ ​next​ ​to​ ​a​ ​well​ ​harvested​ ​wildflower honey.​ ​​ ​My​ ​current​ ​favorite?​ ​Italian​ ​Piedmont​ ​honey​ ​from​ ​high​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Alps.​ ​​ ​Zingermans carries​ ​it​ ​in​ ​their​ ​webshop​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​some​ ​Italian​ ​websites​ ​for​ ​those​ ​who​ ​can read/translate​ ​Italian. 

 “JON SNOW--你什么都不知道'-这是喝后感。这是一瓶挑战你所有对传统蜜酒认知的酿品,是融合所有蜜糖美好的一瓶。最近喜欢上的另一个版本是来自意大利的酿品。

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