On our way up to Manchester, New Hampshire, we took a quick detour to a meadery that we were interested in outside Derry. For those of you that have never had mead, essentially it is honey wine. Basic mead, obviously, lacks the characteristic grape tannins found in tradition red wine, which dry out the wine (make it much less sweet). Specialty meads, then, often balance the meads out using the bitter tannins in other flavors to great effect such as tea, dark chocolate, cloves, pomegranates, oak and coffee. Moonlight Meadery, the small meadery we tracked down, specializes in mind-blowing mead concoctions that have to be tasted to be believed.
Moonlight Meadery, like wineries and breweries, offers a number of tastings and tours; we elected the ‘Queen Bee’ Sample flight of seven meads. The seven we tried were the blackberry semi-sweet Mischief, the cranberry sweet Au Naturel, the cinnamon Kurt’s Apple Pie, the barrel-aged Virtue, the vanilla Madagascar, the gingery Deviant, and coffee-chocolate Seduction.
We ended up purchasing three meads: Madagascar, Deviant and Seduction, the last two, we pictured here. The Deviant is a lively combination of apple and ginger, which is a great palate cleanser and would make for a wonderful summer brunch mead. On the other hand, the Seduction is a smooth mix of chocolate, vanilla, and Sumatra coffee. On the palate, it's chocolatey-blunted acidity melts into mellow coffee notes which makes for a great dessert mead. Both meads, as you see, are absolutely beautiful in a glass.