Buzzed Bee Meadery is one place to visit for anyone who wants a genuine craft experience. They ferment, bottle and sell – all right on-site.
What is Mead?
Basically, mead is fermented honey and water. It often includes the addition of yeast or bacteria. It’s similar to wine but for the fact that you use fruit to make wine. My point is that the process and type of product is similar.
Similar to wine, mead can have a variety of properties. In addition, some can be of better quality than others.
Also similar to wine, when mead is well-made, you might start considering food pairings and, in fact, Buzzed Bee Meadery does also sell a book on pairing mead with food.
In addition, you’ll see they also made cysers. A cyser is a mead that also has apple juice. Now, you might think that would be a sweetened cider but it’s not. If you use other sweeteners, then it’s a cider. But when you ferment honey and add apple juice, it’s a cyser.
My Visit to Buzzed Bee Meadery
This past weekend, I visited the meadery and tried a selection of meads from the relatively dry to the sweet. As with wine, it can be made in a variety of sweetness factors.
My favorite is probably their Traditional Semi-Sweet. The day I visited, that was the least sweet of their products. It had a delicious flavor and well-balanced. While I got the impression that it included yeast in its production, I didn’t taste that odd yeastiness that some fermented products get. I would best describe it as a “clean” taste.
Something truly notable is the Aronia mead. It’s mead with Aronia berry. Most of you won’t be familiar with this berry. It’s an uncommon fruit but found in Iowa, among other places. I’ve lived in a number of places and not previously heard of this berry. In any case, this berry has a drier and more herbal flavor than most other berries we commonly eat. It’s unique and pairs well with the mead.
I also particularly liked the Sweet Bee Lemon. This mead has lemon added to it. The lemon flavor isn’t super-tart but it balances well with the sweet mead.
This favorite is worth mentioning, even thought it sounds strange – their Sweet Heat mead has jalapenos in it. It’s a bit spicy but has more of the bell pepper flavor to it. It sounds odd but it’s really good and, apparently, one of the favorites of their customers.
While I did try a few other meads, keep it in your mind that this is a craft meadery. They make small batches. As the seasons change or as the customers go nuts over a new release and buy it all up, their product choices will tend to vary. If I mentioned some of the other choices I tasted, they wouldn’t be available when you visited. So, I won’t tempt you with them but to tell you they were delicious and whatever is available when you get there will also be.
Don’t Be(e) Afraid of Buzzed Bee Meadery
Yes, mead is made from honey. Yes, honey comes from bees. But don’t be afraid to visit the meadery. You’re no more likely to meet the bees than at a winery or any other farm because they’ve been moved off the meadery site.
And, in fact, even if you met a bee, it’s unlikely to sting you. If you’re interested in learning more about bees and bee-keeping, the owners can tell you all sorts of interesting bee factoids.
Why did I mention that this is a “true craft” facility? Personally, as a consumer, there are some things I just buy because I want them. There are other items I purchase where I would prefer to buy something that is truly craft-made. I’d like a human being to make it with their own hands in their own facility and hopefully of local ingredients.
In fact, by using the word “craft,” while it conjures some folksy imagine to us consumers, many manufacturers use this word to describe products that aren’t related to the images we might have of what we’re buying.
So, in this case, I did want to say that Buzzed Bee Meadery is the place to go for a “craft” products, and in the truest sense of the word.