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Thread: Finding Commercial Meads

  1. Default Finding Commercial Meads

    I've been making mead for a couple of years, and I like the results. The problem is that I've never tasted a mead that I didn't make myself. I feel kind of like someone who writes books without ever having read one.

    Well I stopped by a local liquor store yesterday and asked if they had mead. They had just one kind -- Katlenburger. I bought a bottle, and I'm surprised at how sweet it is. All of my meads have been fermented to dryness, except one. (I have a batch of chocolate mead that is about one year old. It's sweet, but not nearly as sweet as the Katlenburger.)

    I would like to try some more commercial varieties. Where does one go to find a decent selection of commercial meads? (near Dallas, TX)

  2. #2
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    Hi, David! Welcome to the "Gotmead" community!!

    Katlenberger, eh? I've never even seen that one in this country before! Funny that it is the only brand that you found. I'll let some gotmeaders more local to you in TX respond as to where to go locally to buy meads, but if there isn't any place near you, you could always mail order. Lots of commercial meaderies will now do direct shipping to folks in those states that allow inter-state mail purchase of wines, and Texas is one of those states (I think). Check out various commercial meadery websites by simply Google-ing mead, and go from there.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

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    I'm gonna go ahead and do a little plug for B Nektar mead...I got interested because of Heart of Darkness, but ended up ordering quite a few of the other offerings. Haven't had one I didn't like yet!

    That said, I find Redstone hit or miss. But, your taste may vary, so feel free to try whatever sounds good.

    Oh yeah, welcome to "GotMead?"!
    Find what you like, and hone it to perfection.

    And don't serve dodgy mead!

  4. #4

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    Unfortunately for me, there is no commercial mead in the province.
    Yesterday I went to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), the only place allowed to sell liquor besides beer in Ontario and they had NONE.
    The employees didn't even know what it was.
    They searched the inventory for all of Ontario, and every mead they had ever stocked was discontinued.
    Ontario is a mead dry zone (and I don't mean dry mead).
    I had better make some quickly.

  5. #5
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    Actually, in Canada you can mail order it from Munro's (Gotmead review here), I've had some and it's good. Should be, it's won some awards...

    /threadjacking, sorry...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by YogiBearMead726 View Post
    I'm gonna go ahead and do a little plug for B Nektar mead...I got interested because of Heart of Darkness, but ended up ordering quite a few of the other offerings. Haven't had one I didn't like yet!

    That said, I find Redstone hit or miss. But, your taste may vary, so feel free to try whatever sounds good.

    Oh yeah, welcome to "GotMead?"!
    Thanks for the recommendation Yogi. I'm glad you've enjoyed everything you've tried.

    David: We DO ship to Texas. Though many of our meads are sweet, we just released a new dry mead called the Barrel Aged Dry Cyser. It might suit your palate better if you're used to dry meads.


    Cheers,
    Brad Dahlhofer
    Co-Founder / CEO
    B. Nektar Meadery - www.bnektar.com
    Sign up for our newsletter (on our website) for news about upcoming releases.
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    Vice-President - American Mead Makers Association -www.mead-makers.org

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    Actually, in Canada you can mail order it from Munro's (Gotmead review here), I've had some and it's good. Should be, it's won some awards...

    /threadjacking, sorry...
    Thanks Chevette Girl!

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    It does seem strange though as Brad pointed out, a lot of his meads are sweet.

    Appears to me that a lot of commercial makers work on the presumption that as "it" is made using honey, it HAS to be sweet.

    I've tried 4 different commercial meads and they were all dessert type very sweet meads.

    regards

    fatbloke
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
    It does seem strange though as Brad pointed out, a lot of his meads are sweet.

    Appears to me that a lot of commercial makers work on the presumption that as "it" is made using honey, it HAS to be sweet.

    I've tried 4 different commercial meads and they were all dessert type very sweet meads.

    regards

    fatbloke
    I checked a few commercial links including Munro's and the item ususally marked "out of stock" was the dry mead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post

    Appears to me that a lot of commercial makers work on the presumption that as "it" is made using honey, it HAS to be sweet.
    I think, rather, that the commercial chaps respond to the market. With the exception of those willing to be daring and push the envelope with a few dry offerings (kudos to Brad!), sweet is what sells so sweet is what they make, largely because an inexperienced public assumes that mead (from honey) must be sweet to be "good," so they largely pass by dry meads on the shelves. They also go with what they've already tried, and all those various Viking, Arthurian, Renaissance, etc., re-enactments where the sweet swill is all that is dispensed, don't do much to educate the prospective mead customer....
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Dahlhofer View Post
    Thanks for the recommendation Yogi. I'm glad you've enjoyed everything you've tried.

    David: We DO ship to Texas. Though many of our meads are sweet, we just released a new dry mead called the Barrel Aged Dry Cyser. It might suit your palate better if you're used to dry meads.


    Cheers,
    That's what most people like, when they don't know what they're tasting. They SAY they like their wine dry, but don't, really.

  12. #12
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    Which is a fair comment indeed.

    When it comes to the reds I like, I will taste just about anything, but those that I've enjoyed (honestly speaking), have almost all been "heavier" type bordeaux and burgundy. With a couple of Aussie ones as well.

    I couldnt say whether they would qualify as dry or medium so I just try to remember a few details to have some idea of similar wines that I might like to try (if I can afford them.....some have been quite pricey i.e. Margaux and St Emillion).

    regards

    fatbloke

    p.s. I also dont know if my preference just reflects my proximity to France and the probable greater number of their wines being available here? ??
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
    I think, rather, that the commercial chaps respond to the market. With the exception of those willing to be daring and push the envelope with a few dry offerings (kudos to Brad!), sweet is what sells so sweet is what they make, largely because an inexperienced public assumes that mead (from honey) must be sweet to be "good," so they largely pass by dry meads on the shelves. They also go with what they've already tried, and all those various Viking, Arthurian, Renaissance, etc., re-enactments where the sweet swill is all that is dispensed, don't do much to educate the prospective mead customer....

    What he said.
    Brad Dahlhofer
    Co-Founder / CEO
    B. Nektar Meadery - www.bnektar.com
    Sign up for our newsletter (on our website) for news about upcoming releases.
    Find us on Facebook and Twitter
    Vice-President - American Mead Makers Association -www.mead-makers.org

  14. #14

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    Hello David and welcome to the forums!

    As far as general market tastes, a leaning toward sweet seems to be the rule. Blame it on all those kids cereal producers who teach us from the start that sweet is good!

    You can also browse the meadery directory on the general GotMead.com web site. Click on the Commercial Mead button on the left of the page, go to United States, and you'll see an extensive listing including two for Texas. And as already pointed out, you can also find meaderies that will ship to Texas.

    You also try suggesting mead to your local liquor/wine stores. If there's enough public interest, they'll stock it.

    --
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    In regards to commercial meaderies offering sweet due to market demands: I have to whole-heartedly disagree. Thirty years ago if you asked somebody why all American beers were light-bodied swill, I'm sure there were people saying, "well, that's what the public wants."

    What more likely is the case - as was the case with beer - is the public has few options outside sweet commercial mead, and thus don't know what they want, because they have never had the opportunity to broaden their perspective. This is not the public's fault.

    I also do not mean to imply the onerous to educate the market's palate is all the producers, though. I am not familiar with B Nektar products, but it seems to me a step in the right direction that they are starting to come out with something off the sweeten-path.

    If the only thing I knew about mead was what I've tasted commercially, I would never even considering buying another bottle - I'm very reluctant to as it is, based on past experience. Most people I associate with would probably agree. Sweet is definitely not the only thing the public demands, and it's probably why mead is not very popular.

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    While I partially agree with that, the majority of North American beers still are light bodied swill, and it IS because that's what the public likes. They'll like some other stuff too, but thin pale lagers are the most popular beer around the entire world, they genuinely seem to be what people prefer.

    I think if people were shown good dry mead they'd like it, but a LOT of people have a sweet tooth and simply do prefer sweet mead/wine. Ask most people which white wines are their favourites and they'll point out medium sweet whites (and most people that aren't "wine people" seem to prefer white over red in my experience).

    It's circular. SOME of it is indeed not the public's fault, but they play a role in it too, it's not all the producers telling them what to like. Most people I've introduced to craft beer go on to keep drinking light thin beer, though they may switch from junk light thin beer to better light thin beer.

    EDIT: I do agree though that the sickly sweet mead is a HUGE part of why most people that run across mead try mead once, and only once.

    Stuff like what B.Nektar does is different though, because it's not sickly sweet, it's balanced for the particular recipe (I haven't had theirs, but that's based on reviews and SG numbers I've seen). So when they say people want sweet they mean that people want medium sweet, not crazy syrup like a lot of commercial mead (which I agree, I'd never buy a bottle of again).

  17. Default Thanks for the comments / suggestions

    I will have to try some of the mail-order options.

    I don't have any strong feelings about the relative merits of "sweet" vs. "dry," except that my personal preferences lean toward "dry." Having never tasted any commercial mead before I tried the Katlenburger, I was surprised how sweet it was. (Surprised, but not offended.) Basically, it tasted like watered down honey--not bad, just not my thing. I'm interested in trying some dry & less-sweet meads to compare with mine.

    Thanks again for all the replies!

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