APPLETON, Wis. -- I’m not sure why this is, but mead, or honey wine, seems to be associated more with beer and cider drinkers than it is with wine enthusiasts.
Mead is a wine but is fermented with honey instead of fruit. A cyser is a blend of honey and apples. A melomel is a blend of honey and other fruits. Any of these can be carbonated or not.
Because there are no real industry guidelines, meads can be misleading. Many wineries that label a product as a mead are simply making white wines with some honey added, which is why many meads taste like a rhine or Chablis wine with some honey aroma or background.
To its credit, Zombie Killer is very specific in its label description by stating that it is made by fermenting apples and honey, and then adding cherry juice. It is carbonated and actually reminds me more of a cider than a mead.
This is due to a conscious choice by brewer B. Nektar Meadery of Ferndale, Mich., to offer a product that is lower in alcohol than a typical mead, which is usually of wine-like strength. With a 6 percent alcohol content, Zombie Killer is more in line with the ABV of a cider.
The color of the cyser was golden with a hint of pink; there was not much head to speak of, which is typical for the beverage despite the carbonation. Tart cherries made up much of the aroma with a touch of honey becoming more noticeable as the cyser warmed up.
The initial flavor is of fresh cherries with the apple quickly following. The sweetness is also in the followup. The initial sensation is of lip-smacking tartness with a somewhat prickly carbonation that is quickly replaced by a balanced sweetness and a creamy lingering mouthfeel from the honey.
Like cider, this is a good, refreshing beverage to have cold on a hot day. Ciders are a hot commodity in the alcoholic beverage industry right now; but mead also is growing. It’s exciting to see these millennia-old beverages making a comeback.
B. Nektar products are only available in about 10 states; its online locator link is at www.bnektar.com/wheretobuy.html.
Beer Man sez: Zombie Killer will bring your taste buds back to life.