Saturday is National Mead Day—a day the owners of Brothers Drake Meadery swear they didn’t make up. “This is a real day,” assures co-owner and general manager Eric Allen. To celebrate, the Short North meadery will its second annual party with food, special mead releases, live music and a few honey-related lessons.
If you are anything like me, your first (and perhaps only) sip of this honeyed wine was an overly sweet and syrupy concoction at a Renaissance fair. It’s a story the owners of this Short North meadery hear a lot. And it’s a stigma they enjoy shattering when newcomers pop into their garage-like bar space for a sampling.
I met with the owners this week for a preview of this weekend’s mead-centric party.
The event begins at 11 a.m. with free waffles from Taste of Belgium. Four meads were made just for the day—all infusions of other meads on their roster that they have been working on for roughly six months, Allen says. The flavors are all fruit-inspired and crafted to appeal to a variety of taste buds. Available by the glass are hopped raspberry, blueberry chai (inspired by the chai starter spice at North Market Spices) and cherry chipotle. The latter, says co-owner and mead maker Candy Griffin, was inspired by the chipotle chilies she puts in her chili.
Chocolate raspberry mead will be available by the bottle with only 100 bottles for sale (limit two per customer). Last year, there was a line out the door for special-release bottles, so Allen recommends arriving early. (They are also re-releasing a limited number of bottles of its 2012 Apple Pie.)
Live music will kick off at 1 p.m. and carry on through the night. Other activities include a mead-making class at noon, free tours (on the hour from 1 to 4 p.m.) and a chance to meet beekeepers from Brad’s Bees (where Brothers Drake sources all its honey), who are bringing an observation hive. They’re slated from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., offering demos, honey tastings and to gauge interest in bee-keeping classes they’d like to offer this fall at Brothers Drake. Tokyo GoGo, the permanently parked food truck next to the bar, will also serve mead-infused dishes.
On a personal note, I’ve been frequenting Brothers Drake recently not just for the mead, but for the fun, and cocktails made with only -local-liquor. A few favorites: Lucey’s Summer ($8) with Ginger Verve Mead, Watershed gin, Oyo Honey Vanilla Bean vodka and ginger liqueur, and the slightly spicy Spanky’s ($8) with Wild Ohio mead, Watershed gin, jalapeno, basil, orange and agave nectar. If it’s really hot and I need something refreshing, the light Screaming Viking ($7) is one of the sweetest in the lineup with Wild Ohio mead, Watershed vodka, honey lavender syrup, cucumber and mint.
Oh, and if you can’t make it this weekend, mark your calendars for Oct. 5 when Brothers Drake celebrates its annual (and very made-up) Pie Day with a special release of its Apple Pie Mead.
For more, visit brothersdrake.com