8/30/20: Sociable Cider Werks' Mead for Speed

10:35 AM

This post has been a long time coming. See, at the end of spring I happened across a sale on Sociable Cider Werks offerings at a local bottleshop--each four-pack was four bucks. I nabbed the one billed as "Sparkling Honey" because I have been known, on occasion, to enjoy a honey cider or two (please note that I hadn't registered the name plastered on the cans).

I got home and stuck a can in the fridge. That evening, I cracked it open, only to be shocked. What I purchased wasn't a four-pack of honey cider; no, it was a four-pack of mead. For $4. That's a dollar a can. For mead. The next day, I went back to the bottleshop and grabbed two cases (each with 24 cans). That's a deal you can't find anywhere else (another bottleshop nearby sells non-discounted four-packs for $12).

So, yeah. I've had this mead before. In fact, I've had quite a bit of it. But I'm still really excited to share my thoughts on it with you. Since, starting the day after tomorrow, we'll be breaking into four months of seasonally-dictated posts, today's my last chance for sharing those thoughts until January. Meaning that, today's the day. Here we go!

Sociable Cider Werks is based in Minneapolis, MN. According to the cidery's homepage, it was founded by homebrewers Jim and Wade in 2013 after the pair grew frustrated that they cider they wanted to drink didn't exist on the market.  Their "Decidedly Different" page states that Sociable makes beverages that are neither too sweet nor too sharp--they strive for that happy commonground where their products are flavorful and well-balanced.

I can tell you from experience that Mead for Speed is well-balanced, but we'll get into that. As the one mead offering on Sociable's "Libations" page, Mead for Speed is billed as a 6% ABV mead that's a 5/10 on the cidery's sweetness scale. It's brewed with midwest canola honey and cane sorghum before being hit with dandelion honey for a bit of extra sweetness.

The nose on the mead is decidedly sweet. When I cracked that first can (again, before I registered that I was about to enjoy a can of mead), I likened the bouquet to that of a honeycrisp apple. I still stand stalwartly by that. However, now that I know what's inside the can, the honey bit of that honeycrisp is much more in the foreground. It's reminiscent of drizzling honey over a freshly-baked biscuit. Háma, who helped me to rate the mead, seems to enjoy it as much as me--he gave it twelve whiffs, which is his highest level of praise.

Luckily, the mead isn't as sweet as its aromatics might lead you to believe. Sociable was absolutely right when it rated the mead a 5/10 on the sweetness scale. The honey's here (accompanied by a light dollop of brown sugar in the finish), but it's almost as though the mead is a seltzer with an addition of honey. It's sweet, sure, but far from cloyingly so.

Oh, you caught that seltzer mention above? Good. That was on purpose. Mead for Speed is a sparkling mead (it's billed with the words "Sparkling" and "Honey," after all). It's seltzer like on the tongue. I'd've never thought this would work for a mead, but I'm all too happy to be wrong.

I've only talked about a mead once on the blog. What I didn't mention then is that mead holds a special place in my heart and makes me think of northern-European inspired fantasy and blustry, cloudy autumnal days.

See, when I was twenty-one, I decided to have a "viking day" on some random November Saturday. I could only recently drink (legally), having gained the ability to (legally) purchase alcohol the month prior. I'd never had mead, but I knew it played a pretty big role in the Beowulf epic, which, since reading it in high school, I'd always associated with blustry, overcast mid- to late-fall days.

I spent a week hunting down some mead in my college town (it wasn't as readily available then as it is now). After tracking some down, I managed to spend a Saturday afternoon on a bottle while reading through my copy of Seamus Heaney's  translation of Beowulf. That cemented mead's tie to viking- and cold-European-like fantasy to me.

Now, I play The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim in November and December and drink mead. I read Beowulf, Tolkien, and Tolkien's Beowulf, and drink mead. I sit in my little portable sauna, listen to Amiina, and drink mead. Today, I'm on my porch in the sun while listening to Grey Host's The Barrow Path while drinking Mead for Speed. Sure, the music's not the same energy as Amiina's Kurr, but it's taking me to a similar place.

Sociable Cider Werks' Mead for Speed is a really good mead. If you can find it for $1 a can, it's an excellent mead, like 10/10 excellent. Otherwise, at its standard $3 a can price, it's still at 9.0/10. Grab it if you see it.

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