Unless you're a big fan of Renaissance fairs or a die-hard beekeeper, you probably have fairly limited experience drinking fermented honey. Let's face it: Mead has long ranked lower than both beer and cider in the craft beverage revolution, both in general popularity and quaffable execution.
But while many meaderies have created sharp and alcoholic offerings that more closely resemble cheap white wine than the Nectar of the Gods, a recent can of Raspberry Draft Mead from Vancouver, Wash., upstart Author Mead Co. is worthy of buzz.
A burgundy, 6.5 percent ABV offering with a distinct aroma of fresh honeycomb, it tastes like a long-forgotten honey pot Winnie the Pooh dropped in the briar patch. Crafted by ex-homebrewer Mike Wright—not to be confused with the ex-Commons owner of the same name—Author's mead is made on a century-old farm in Portland's northern suburb, from wildflower, meadowfoam and clover honey sourced from regional beekeepers, and berries from throughout the Northwest.
Where many meads can taste a bit like cough syrup, the overt drinkability of Author's raspberry comes from excellent wildflower honey and a subtle use of fruit. Despite the raspberry-laden look of it, the fruit flavor is light and delicate, offering just a hint of acidity and tannin on the front of your tongue before rolling to a gentle, honey-sweet finish.
The alcohol is present, but it's not as overwhelming as in other meads, drying your palate just enough to invite you back to the glass after the honey flavor fades. You can find it on draft and in cans and bottles at bottle shops in Portland and Vancouver, and the company says it hopes to be in specialty supermarkets soon. Recommended.