Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mead You Look: Western Reserve Meadery


I've never been much of a wine person. My mom, she loves a glass (or two) of red wine to top off the day, but I've never really enjoyed it. Sure, I'll have a glass if I'm with a group of people who order a bottle at dinner, or something, but it's never my go-to. I never, like, want wine.

The one time I had wine I loved was in Israel. Our tour guy, Guy, was friends with the owners of a winery, they called it, though they didn't have any grapes; none of the wine was grape wine. Instead, it was all made with honey & other fruits - & they tasted incredible. I later learned that it wasn't really wine at all; it was mead, but maybe the Israelis didn't have the word for it?

Remembering the tastes of that trip, I was thrilled to see that a meadery has opened right here in my neighborhood. Western Reserve Meadery is a small, locally owned operation located on Duck Island, the border of Cleveland's Tremont & Ohio City neighborhoods. One night in May, Mike & some friends & I were checking out Forest City Brewery when we realized the meadery was in the same building. Should we check it out? We should check it out.

What we found was a small, brightly lit space done all in smooth, shining wood - the handiwork, it turns out, of one of the owners, who does woodworking on the side. Talk about cool hobbies! We ended up speaking with him for about an hour, & he even showed us the backroom where the mead is made.

We also tried the mead, of course, & let me tell you: That shit is delicious. Their flavors change regularly, but here's what we tried:
  • Hefe-Mel: Honeyed with a a light banana/clove flavor - yum. They actually serve this one on tap in the tasting room.
  • Spiced Cranberry Blossom Mead: This sweet mead has a little bit of a kick to it.
  • Medjool Date Melomel: This is the one I was most excited about, though it was more savory than expected. 
  • Strawberry Basil Mead: This flavor is tart & refreshing, as expected. So summery.
  • Buckwheat Blossom Honey Cherry: This tart flavor is the one we bought a full bottle of, & it didn't last long once it got home. It's also 16.5% ABV.
Yeah, we were a liiiittle tipsy by the time we left.

Western Reserve Meadery's tasting room is open Wednesday through Friday from 4-10pm, & Saturdays from noon to 10pm. They offer samples of their meads for $2, or full glasses for $5. Their products are also sold in two other local spots: Cap & CorksRoss Beverage, both in Lakewood, & I've recently found them at the Tremont Farmers Market, too. While we were visiting, I tried desperately to think of someone we needed to buy a gift for because this would be perfect to take to a dinner party or something!

Bottom line: We loved Western Reserve Meadery & their mead, & it's a great addition to the area. If you like beer or wine or both, you're likely to find a mead that suits for fancy, too. L'chaim!

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