Mead? Mead!

A little more buzz for the honey-based libations of Texas

Because sometimes you just want mead.

One honey of a design, one excellence of a drink. Well, quite a few excellences, actually.

Sure, Austin is one neverending hoppy explosion of craft beer bliss – even during COVID-19 times, as the Chronicle’s dedicated brewster Eric Puga has been reporting in his ongoing series.

And, sure, there’s a good reason cider has made such a welcome comeback – that reason is called “taste,” and it’s being perfected by the likes of Eastciders and Argus Cidery and Texas Keeper and others.

And, sure, there’s maybe still an idiot or two out there, someone who will respond to an offer of mead with a goofy smirk and a “Hurr-hurrrrrrr, do I get a turkey leg to go with it?” because – well, because there always has to be an idiot or two in this benighted world, doesn’t there, if only to let the rest of us feel a bit more like Einstein?

But sometimes you just want mead.

Because mead, that delicate wine made from honey, is precisely the taste you’re craving. And, it turns out, it’s precisely – especially as summer starts a-comin’ in and something sweet and cool is just the balm for your gullet’s parched Gilead – it’s precisely what a lot of people are craving these days.

Good thing Texas provides a panoply – a panoply, by Melisseus! – of fresh, honey-based fermented beverages for our delectation.

One of the fiercest of these meaderies is, as you likely know, Meridian Hive – based right here in the ATX city limits. Hell, we told you all about that particular team of winners when they were just starting out. And of course, a little beyond our burgeoning urban hub, there’s Rohan Meadery and Thorin’s Meads and Dancing Bee and more, and they’re batching up all manner of bee-derived liquid gold for the quaffing.

Bee-derived, we emphasize, yes. Because, not to put too fine a point on it, but it turns out that the newest meadery in these here parts – WildFlyer Mead Company, out in Lynn Grove – happens to be the latest initiative from the oldest, continuously operating beekeeping and honey farm in the Lone Star state.

That’s a little surprising, isn’t it, that provenance? Not just to you, but to your current reporter, who happened upon this information – and sparked this post – from a totally different perspective.

“I blame the internet,” says the Chronicle’s Wayne Alan Brenner, happily sipping from a chilled glass of WildFlyer’s Imperius brew. “I mean, we’re all constantly online in these stay-at-home times, and so I was finally checking out the Instagram account I’d set up in 2014. I hadn’t looked at the damned thing in years, but, well, you know – streaming, bingeing, Zooming, it’s a bigger part of life for so many of us now.

“So I was checking out Instagram,” says Brenner, “and one of the accounts I follow is Lewis Carnegie. They’re an Austin-based graphic design firm, and they’d recently handled the branding for this mead company, WildFlyer, and so they posted a few images, and – the designs were gorgeous. I love mead anyway, but the typography and other elements here were, ah – I pretty much hate mezcal, you know? Because even good mezcal tastes, to me, kind of like burnt rubber? Like the distilled version of a big ol’ tire fire? But if Lewis Carnegie had provided design like this for a mezcal company, even, I might’ve eventually bought a bottle – just for the visuals. So I left a comment on the photo, praising the work. And Sean Carnegie, the co-honcho of the design firm, he’s a friend from back in the day, he was like, ‘Yeah, you like mead? We’ve got so much of the stuff right now from this project – come on over and get some.’”

So, you see, reader: One thing leads to another, by pure chance. And that happens so often in our lives that it requires its own word – serendipity, right?

But the above story also provides evidence of quality, concerning what WildFlyer’s got to offer. Because this is a post for the Food section, after all, and we wouldn’t've steered your attention back to mead in the first place if that well-designed bottle of Imperius didn’t contain a wonderful way to slake a person’s mighty thirst. Bright, clear, not too sweet, its amber flow refreshing your palate like a blessing from the god of bees – this Imperius mead is just what you want to drink when the sun is high in the Texas sky. Or, hell, even when the stars at night are big and bright.

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