Brother's Drake Meadery
Nay, Columbus is home to one of a very few Meadery's in the state, Brother's Drake Meadery. Operating since 2007 in Worthington, Brother's Drake makes a variety of traditional (honey, yeast, and water), melomel (honey, yeast, water + fruit), metheglin (honey, yeast, water + spice), and creative (honey, yeast, water + spice, fruit, or other flavoring agents) meads.
Mead has been made for centuries and is likely the first alcoholic beverage drunk by humans. As honey is a more refined and less available form of sugar, mead was once enjoyed by royalty alone.
The friendly mead makers at Brother's Drake invited a group of local bloggers to their meadery for a lesson in the ancient art of making mead and tasting of their modern interpretations. Amanda Anderson (co-mastermind of Feed Social Media and Wild Goose Creative board member) won a drawing to make a small batch of mead to take home. She demonstrated how simple mead making is: stir together water and honey in a sanitized pot, pour into sanitized carboy, pitch yeast, and attach an airlock.
Woody, chief mead maker, suggests that home mead brewers use EC1118 yeast and a ratio of 3 to 4 pounds honey per gallon of spring water. Let this mix ferment for two months, rack it into a second carboy and allow the secondary fermentation occur for an additional three to four months. Then, the mead is ready for bottling. Aging in the bottle improves flavor further.
After Mead 101, we gathered in the cozy tasting room to try Brother's Drake meads. Many mead ingredients, including all of the honey, is now sourced locally. The current line up of meads were offered alongside several plates of cheeses and crackers from Integration Acres. Rumor has it that Integration Acres and Brother's Drake make be working together again soon to produce an Ohio native pawpaw melomel.
Ever the purist, I enjoyed the tupelo honey traditional 2008 'Southern Belle' Reserve most of all. The oldest mead we tasted, the Southern Belle has a round full body with gentle wildflower flavors. I also liked the dry, fruity Testa Rossa, a raspberry melomel, and herbal Pillow Talk, metheglin.
Alex and I made mead (technically melomel, as we used lemons) nearly ten years ago when we were newly married and living in California. It was good, as I recall, and drunk long ago. We have mead yeast in the fridge and will be applying lessons from Brother's Drake to make another batch soon. In the meantime, we will indulge our royal tastes and sip on a bottle of the newest Brother's Drake variety, Bergamot Blue.
Drink a Drake yourself!
- Visit the meadery and taste samples during open hours listed on their website.
- The site also lists where to buy and taste Brother's Drake meads around Columbus.
- This Wednesday from 6 - 10 pm is the Brother's Drake Fall Release Party at Dirty Frank's Hot Dogs. There will be special mead cocktails on hand and pairings with Dirty Frank's artisanal dogs.