Way back in 2014 I tried my first mead. It was made by Helderberg Meadworks. The owner was kind enough to do an interview for our site, and then was super generous and invited me out to see how the mead was made. I got major booze drinking street cred from doing this because Helderberg Meadworks didn’t do tours or tastings. Well, my booze cred is gone because you can now visit the Helderberg Meadworks new tasting room, where you can try SO MANY MEADS and chat about it with Peter and Kirsten, the husband and wife owners.
I don’t even know where to begin. When we were there, they were offering 9 different meads, 2 ciders, 2 beer/mead hybrids that they did with Brown’s Brewing, one carbonated hard cider/mead blend that they did with Indian Ladder Farms, AND a switchel. What’s better AND worse is that it is all also available for purchase, with the tasting room being the only place you can purchase many of the products. I spent SO much money.
For their traditional meads, which are the meads they make with only honey, they offer:
Session, which is a lightly carbonated, not too sweet, and amazingly drinkable.
Odin’s Tears, which is quite dry and uses caramelized honey, doesn’t involve the oak of their other meads, and is still a deliciously smooth drink.
Heritage, which is the mead that started it all. It has the highest alcohol content of any of their offerings at 17% and is a balance of sweet honey and oak.
Feral, another Helderberg classic made from their own strain of wild yeast that Peter captured and cultivated. Despite the honey this one is more on the dry side, but yes, still super yummy.
Sweet Feral, which was a sweeter follow up after the success of the Feral Mead. I enjoy both greatly.
Then they offer other meads that are made with honey (because hey, it’s mead) and other ingredients, and these are:
Apple, a part of the core collection. It’s strong in apple flavor without the syrupy sweetness you might expect. This is crisp and dry.
Staghorn, which has the sweetness of honey balanced with foraged sumac (not the poisonous variety). An impressive and unexpected twist.
Black Currant, can you guess what makes the Black Currant Mead “black currant”? Yes. Firstly, this has the prettiest color! Also, the black currant flavor paired with the honey mead is fabulous without being overly sweet.
Maple Mead, another Helderberg mainstay. They use wood-fired maple syrup and oak age it, making it a smoky, drier drink than you would expect.
Cherry Vanilla. You know how I keep commenting that the meads you expect to be overly sweet aren’t? Well they went full throttle on sweetness with this one. The cherry and vanilla flavors are prominent and delicious. Much like a dense dessert, you only need a small slice to enjoy it.
When we were there, they had two ciders, a classic and Cassis. The classic is a semi-dry hard cider. The Cassis is made with black currants and that gives it a great twist on the flavor and again, a beautiful color.
They have two collaborations that they did with Brown’s Brewing Company, Saison de Miel and Braggoting Rights. Saison de Miel is light, dry, and floral. Braggoting Rights is where the Odin’s Tears Mead got its start. The mead was first created for this collaboration and the owner liked it so much he started producing the mead. There was also a collaboration they did with Indian Ladder Farms that pairs their hard cider with Helderberg’s mead. This is a carbonated, kind of funky but tasty hybrid.
Last, but not least is Myles Fulton’s Stormbender Switchel. This is made with Helderberg’s own pear cider vinegar, honey and ginger. It is unfiltered and probiotic. If you like probiotic drinks, this is for you. It’s refreshing, thirst quenching, and delicious. Way more drinkable than most kombucha.
So how can you try all these? Visit their website where you can learn about their tasting room and shop their products, which includes their meads, but also drinking horns, t-shirts, and bad ass mugs!
Right now, the tasting room is only open Saturdays Noon-5pm eastern, but they told me they will be expanding their hours in the spring. There will also be tables indoors and outdoors to hang out at along with games. A good way to keep tabs on them is to follow them on social media.
I truly cannot say enough nice things about Peter, Kristen, and Helderberg Meadworks. Good beverages made by good people.