Mead is basically wine made from fermented honey and water. Although its origins date back to 7000 B.C., Honey Pot Meadery, which recently opened along Anaheim’s La Palma Beer Trail, shows what the modern version can be like: fruity, complex and full of character. And the cider it makes is just as good.
I didn’t expect my first taste there to be that of a mimosa, but the carafe of OJ Did It came with pulp fizzing on top. “This is our pineapple cider with fresh-squeezed tangelos,” explains Alex Gonzales, owner/head mead maker. “We generally go with whatever citrus we get in—a couple of weeks ago, it was tangerines and two different types of mandarin [oranges]—then we’ll blend that into our cider, which starts out at around 8.5 percent and will be down to around 5 percent ABV after the fruit.”
Gonzales was then happy to answer some more questions.
OC WEEKLY: Why a meadery?
ALEX GONZALES: My first taste really blew me away. . . . I didn’t know what it was or what to expect. The bouquet on it, the mouthfeel, the flavor . . . it was all amazing. I tried to get more, and it turned out the place only made 104 bottles of it. I was already homebrewing, so I thought, “Why not mead?”
But you have cider, too. . . .
I’ve always liked cider, and [Honey Pot Meadery] being a winery, it’s one of those luxuries that we can make anything that doesn’t have any grain.
What are some challenges?
Beer has a tighter degree of consistency from batch to batch, and it’s hard for some to understand that our product may change slightly. . . . Our mead uses orange blossom honey from California, but sometimes [that honey is] from San Joaquin Valley or sometimes as far north as Yosemite. Whatever the bees get into may affect the end result.
Honey Pot Meadery, 5120 E. La Palma Ave., Ste. 104, Anaheim, (714) 312-0911; honeypotmeadery.com.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening this June!