Mead’s rich history, as well as its current relevance, was on full display at the second annual Mead Crafters Competition, conducted by the National Honey Board. Mead, a honey wine, is believed to be the oldest alcoholic beverage ever produced and has been gaining in popularity as consumers seek alternatives to beer and spirits.
After panels of expert judges evaluated 305 entries, A mead inspired by Japanese plum wine was named Best in Show. Zen Bee Meadery of Columbus, Ohio, took home Best in Show honors for Mara Ume, a session, semi-sweet mead made with plum juices and maraschino cherries. A session mead is carbonated and lower in alcohol than a traditional mead, which has a similar alcohol level as wine.
The judges of the competition were impressed with Mara Ume’s ability to balance the two fruit flavors while still showcasing the essence of honey in the mead. In total, 23 gold medals were awarded at the Mead Crafters Competition in categories ranging from session meads to traditional meads to melomels.
Rounding out the podium for Best in Show was Heidrun Meadery’s Hawaiian Lehua Blossom and Second City Meadery’s Existence is Pain. A design/packaging gold medal also was given to Baltimore’s Charm CIty Meadworks for its Sweet Blossom Mead.
The mead category continues to gain popularity from beer, spirits and wine drinkers looking for something different, and the National Honey Board is proud to host this competition and recognize some of the best in the industry.
The Gold Medal winners of the 2020 Mead Crafters Competition:
2020 Best in Show Winners
Gold Medal: Mara Ume — Zen Bee Meadery, Dublin, Ohio
Silver Medal: Hawaiian Lehua Blossom — Heidrun Meadery, Point Reyes Station, California
Bronze Medal: Existence Is Pain — Second City Meadery, Chicago, Illinois
2020 Gold Medal Recipients
Bracket/Braggot: 10 Penny Lane — GoodRoad CiderWorks, Charlotte, North Carolina
Cyser: Honey de los Muertos — McGee’s Mead LLC, St. Helena, California
Dessert: Blueberry NBCC — Melovino, Vauxhall, New Jersey
Fruit Vegetable Melomel - Dry: Crosswalk — GoodRoad CiderWorks, Charlotte, North Carolina
Fruit Vegetable Melomel - Semi-Sweet: Desire — Moonlight Meadery LLC, Londonderry, New Hampshire
Fruit Vegetable Melomel - Sweet: Peach Mead — Wyldewood Cellars Illinois, St. Joseph, Illinois
Metheglin - Dry: Stigmata — Monks Meadery, Atlanta, Georgia
Metheglin - Semi-Sweet: Mead with Coffee Beans — Bee-Town Mead & Cider, Bluffton, South Carolina
Metheglin - Sweet: Madagascar — Moonlight Meadery LLC, Londonderry, New Hampshire
Pyment: Honey River Pyment — Healthberry Farm, Dry Fork, West Virginia
Session - Dry: Weekend Water — Haymaker Meadery, Perkasie, Pennsylvania
Session - Semi-Sweet: Mara Ume — Zen Bee Meadery, Dublin, Ohio
Session - Sweet: Honey Kwench — White Winter Meadery, Iron River, Wisconsin
Specialty - Dry: Rockin Rye — Haymaker Meadery, Perkasie, Pennsylvania
Specialty - Semi-Sweet: Seven In Dog Years — Black Labs Craft Meadery, Olathe, Kansas
Specialty - Sweet: Existence Is Pain — Second City Meadery, Chicago, Illinois
Traditional - Dry: Sol — Oran Mor Artisan Mead, LLC, Roseburg, Oregon
Traditional - Semi-Sweet: CHAUCER'S Mead — Bargetto Santa Cruz Winery, Soquel, California
Traditional - Sweet: Traditional Mead — Prairie Rose Meadery, Fargo, North Dakota
Varietal - Dry: Hawaiian Lehua Blossom — Point Reyes Station, California
Varietal - Semi-Sweet: Lucerne Blossom — Martin Brothers Winery, Hermann, Missouri
Varietal - Sweet: Red Bamboo — Honeybound Meadery, Tyngsboro, Massachusetts
Design: Sweet Blossom — Charm City Meadworks, Baltimore, Maryland
For a full list of winners, go to www.meadcrafterscompetition.com.