Since it’s not a Sunday, I have a non-beer review with which to enlighten you. At the urging of various individuals, I finally decided to try beer’s buzzing cousin, mead. I’m not familiar on how to evaluate it, so I looked up some guidelines. While I didn’t do a very scientific review, I did try to detect any glaring flaws, in addition to elaborating on the experience to give others a sense of what all the buzz is about.
On the docket: 375 mL bottle of B. Nektar’s Sleeping Giant (Limited Release)
Poured into: Odd Otter stemmed tasting glass
S: This giant pours a pale gold, with crystal clarity. Reminiscent of a mature chardonnay. No bubbles are present. During the course of drinking this, legs appeared on my glass, providing evidence of the alcohol and sugar content.
A: A light floral note cedes to a spicy, woody aroma. The rye whiskey barrel finish is quite evident. A honey sweetness emerges as the mead warms up, too. Higher alcohols present themselves, but in a pleasant way. This mead clocks in at 15.1, also known as sack-strength.
T: Sweet honey, a mingling of peaches and apples, maybe even pears. When warmer, herbal, medicinal flavors show up. Though I’ve not had many, the impression suggests a sweet Riesling- as odd as the comparison might be. The combined elements of the abv and the barrel aging create a piquant, drying, woody quality. I’ll be so bold as to say the end has “Manhattan” qualities to it, a favorite rye-based drink of mine. Crazier- it seems like this guy has the vermouth and the bitters in it, too! Or, that could be the power of suggestion.
F: Full-bodied, sweet, rich. It dries out on the finish, a small tannin-like sharpness from the barrel aging. As they say in the whiskey world, this one has a medium finish.
O: Though not experienced with mead, I truly enjoyed this offering, and feel fortunate enough to get my hands on a bottle. I’m not usually a fan of barrel-aged beer, but enjoy rye whiskey. One sip allayed my fear.
S: 4 A: 3.75 T: 4.5 F: 4 O: 4
Suggested food pairing: I’ve heard it’s hard to wrong with food pairing regarding mead. My picks? Earthy or nutty English cheese, fruit with a caramel dipping sauce, spiced nuts