If wine were made from honey instead of fermented grapes, you'd have honeywine. And in Central Ohio, we do.
Four "meaders"-turned-entrepreneurs that now go by Brothers Drake Fine Meads started brewing the honey-based alcohol in Worthington a few years ago.
You might remember mead, also known as honeywine, from tales of medieval times. But what is it, exactly?
It can be hard to put a finger on.
The Brothers Drake varieties typically stick to fruit and honey flavors, but mead can be infused with almost any essence. They're working on an apple pie version, and Hansen's even tried hot pepper flavor as a competition judge.
You can find everything from syrupy-sweet to dry varieties. There's no telling what the uninitiated might like, the Brothers Drake meaders said.
"The beer drinkers are convinced they're never going to drink anything other than beer, they get dragged in here by their friends, and they reluctantly try a couple," Ben Hansen said. "And they go away with a bottle."
Hansen, his wife Betty Fisher, and their friends Eric Drake and Woody Drake - all meaders - opened their storefront for sales of their six staple varieties in June. Those interested can walk in for a taste whenever the doors are open, and The Brothers Drake have been shipping bottles all over the country.
As the only exclusive mead producer in Ohio, their efforts now are focused on exposing people to mead, starting with a monthly Tunes in Tanks open music session that started in December.
Fisher, sales and marketing manager, is planning to start mead-food pairing events and perhaps a mead-and-crafts night sometime soon.
Dry Scarlet Solstice
A mead that includes fruit (like this one) is called "melomel." It's made with cherry, marionberry and raspberry fruit purees. It compliments roasted meats, smoked cheeses and chocolate. There's also a semi-sweet version.
This semi-sweet mead is made rare honey from Florida, called tupelo. It's spicy from clove flavors and has an underlying fruitiness. Serve it with things like baked goods, fried chicken, shrimp or sweet potatoes.
Sweet Fleur d'Or
The Brothers Drake's sweetest mead is called "traditional" because fruits and spices aren't added to its citrusy honey. Enjoy on its own or paired with fruit, rich desserts or ice cream, and consider using it as a syrup. There's also a dry version.