Michigan mead is the new hotness, and fans owe great thanks to one man, Ken Schramm. Even before the craft beer explosion, Ken Schramm was mixing and measuring to find the perfect balance for his mead. During the late 80s and into the 90s, Ken traveled and networked, learning from others and sharing his knowledge until he was persuaded into writing a book. The Compleat Meadmaker was released in 2003, and mead makers around the world were better for it. One of Michigan’s most famous mead makers, Brad Dahlhofer of B. Nektar, was one of these home brewers turned mead makers. They now produce somewhere around 2,000 cases a month, which are available in 18 states. With mead coming out of the shadows of the Renaissance Festival and stories of yore into the light–with help from both the craft beer boom and craft cocktail revolution, the time was right for Schramm’s to open its own meadery and distribute its delicious honey wine.
About two months ago, Ken’s daughter Alyson stopped by the store to let us try some of her intoxicating meads. She explained the company’s philosophy of quality in, quality out. The Schramms believe in terroir, and like winemakers, they source the best honey, fruits, and spices from the best places. They use Michigan’s bounty as much as possible, but if the cherries aren’t available for their Statement mead, they’ll utilize the best they can find. We were wowed by the depth of flavor and complexity of these meads. You will find Ginger, Raspberry and The Statement on our shelves today. Here is a peek at my notes from the tasting:
Ginger: Aromatic and intense, it is made with real sliced ginger and orange blossom honey. Floral, spicy and zingy, it is sweet but not overly so. It’s terrific for Asian cuisine or as an aperitif.
Raspberry: Decadent and rich, with the tart acidity you would expect from fresh, ripe raspberries, this mead is a stunner. It features layers of dark berries, honeyed sweetness from orange blossom honey, and a finish that makes you long for a bite of dark chocolate.
The Statement: The Schramms aren’t shy about making one, and with this almost 50/50 blend of tart Michigan Balaton Cherry and honey wine, there’s no doubt it’s a Statement. Mouth-filling, concentrated and balanced, the cherries are tart. But for those with a sweet tooth, this one is heaven! Pair with sharp cheeses, dark chocolates, and good friends!
The best thing about the Schramms is that they are local, friendly, and happy to share their knowledge with others! Stop into one of our locations and pick up a bottle of Wow!
What local meaderies have you visited? Tweet me at @NinosWineExpert!