Maine Mead Works of Portland Maine was born in 2007, as a collaborative effort between Ben Alexander and Dr. Garth Cambray, an experienced and award winning mead maker from South Africa. Dr. Cambray founded his own meadery, Makana Meadery in South Africa in 2001. Today, Maine Mead Works staff include Ben and Carly Alexander, Dr. Cambray, and mead maker Nick Higgins. They use Maine wildflower honey to make their mead. For those of you who aren't quite sure what mead is, it's honey wine; you can read a bit about it here. Maine Mead Works produces a variety of meads, ranging from traditional medieval style Cyser made with mead and cider, to a variety of fruit-infused meads, including strawberry, cranberry and blueberry. A friend sent me two bottles of Maine Mead Works mead; I liked both of them very much. Both of these meads are 12.5% ABV.
HoneyMaker Dry Mead
This particular mead, according to Maine Mead Works, is made from "wildflower honey collected in goldenrod filled fields in Aroostook County, Maine." It's a very pale straw in the glass. On the nose, there's a definite impression of honey, the slightly musky sweet aroma that mead is known for, adn something faintly reminiscent of Mock Orange. In flavor, you can taste the honey but it's not overpoweringly sweet the way some meads can be. There's a hint of something slightly mineral and a delightfully dry finish. I tried this chilled, much as one would with a white wine, but it would benefit, I think, from being slightly less chilled. I notice that the Maine Mead Work's Web page for HoneyMaker Dry Mead suggests serving it chilled, and allowing it to breath or even decanting it. Maine Mead Works suggest pairing their Dry Mead with smoked seafood, lobster and spicy foods. I think it pairs beautifully with Szechuan cuisine.
HoneyMaker Lavender Mead
The HoneyMaker Lavender Mead is very similar in color to the Dry Mead. It's distinctive in every other way. There's a lovely floral aroma, but not It's not specifically the aroma of lavender, in addition to the sweet musky honey aroma that one expects with mead. There is a hint of lavender in the taste, also the musky sweetness of honey, and something that a little bit like kiwi and musk melon. I was a little worried that a lavender mead woud be, well, perfumey, and not in a good way. This is lovely, and quite distinctive. I think not only would it pair well with soft cheeses, I think this is an elegant dessert course on its own. I note that Maine Mead Works Web site states that their Lavender mead is made with locally grown Maine wildflower honey, and English Lavender of several varieties, including Munstead and Betty's Blue from Glendarragh Farms in Appleton, Maine.