The Hippo


Jul 5, 2020








Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry.

 Mead Day

The American Homebrewers Association recognizes Mead Day as the first Saturday in August in an effort to increase mead and mead maker awareness. This year’s Mead Day is Saturday, Aug. 4. The list below includes a schedule of what each commercial mead maker in New Hampshire is planning to celebrate the day. Visit for more details on Mead Day.
Ancient Fire Mead & Cider (8030 S. Willow St., Building No. 1, Unit 7-2, Manchester, 203-4223, will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mead Day and will have a full schedule of events. Co-owner and mead maker Jason Phelps will lead three demonstrations on mead production at noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. that will be open to the public for viewing. At 3 p.m., the Concord-based Capital Area Beekeepers Association will visit to give a talk on what beekeeping entails, how a bee produces honey and how it takes care of its hive, which will be followed by a Q&A session. There will also be new keg tappings, drawings throughout the day on giveaways such as Ancient Fire-branded hats and glassware, and samples of honeys on the honey tasting bar. Ancient Fire will also offer 10 percent off on growler fills for all its meads and ciders on Mead Day.
Hermit Woods Winery (72 Main St., Meredith, 253-7968, will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mead Day and will offer a special tasting menu of nearly a dozen meads produced from 2012 to 2017. Among them will be the 2015 Red Scare (made with whole, wild blueberries, organic blackberries and raspberries and honey) and the 2014 Kiwi Melomel (made with organic kiwi berries, autumn berries and honey). Co-owner Bob Manley said guests will have a choice to sample from the mead tasting lineup, the regular tasting lineup, or both. Tastings are $10 per person and include your choice of six wines or meads to taste. The cost is $18 to sample from both the regular and special tasting lineups. Tastings will include a souvenir glass. Winemaker Ken Hardcastle will also be offering a pre-release sample of a new mead using honey harvested from his own hives in 2017.
Moonlight Meadery (23 Londonderry Road, No. 17, Londonderry, 216-2162, will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mead Day. In addition to offering regular tours and tastings, two special mead making sessions are planned. An introductory class on fundamental practices for mead making will be held at 10 a.m., followed by an advanced class on how to produce a caramelized bochet mead with burnt honey. A mead pairing dinner and public educational tours on honeybees are also being planned for Aug. 18 to celebrate National Honeybee Day. Visit the website or call for updates.
Sap House Meadery (6 Folsom Road, Ossipee, 539-1672, will be open from 1 to 8 p.m. on Mead Day. They’ll be offering 20-percent-off discounts on all meads at the shop and online throughout the day, with the exception of canned products, and will also be offering $1 off flights in the tasting room. Co-owner Matt Trahan said this Mead Day, Sap House will have the largest selection of meads they’ve ever had at one time, including several new varieties such as Smokey Pete (a mead made by infusing smoke using a vacuum pump and then aged in a Laphroaig scotch barrel for eight months), Blueberry Pie (a mead made with local blueberries and toasted oats) and Matilda (a traditional mead made with a coriander honey and aged in cabernet sauvignon barrels). The newly released canned hard honey cider and raspberry jam session meads will also be available.

Need for mead
Local tastings, demonstrations and more for Mead Day


 By Matt Ingersoll
A fermented beverage made from honey, water and yeast — and sometimes also containing fruits, hops, syrups or spices — mead is considered to be one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in the world, its production going back at least several thousand years. On Saturday, Aug. 4, each commercial mead maker in the Granite State will observe Mead Day in its own way, by offering special tastings and releases, mead-making demonstrations, giveaways, classes and more.
The American Homebrewers Association has declared Mead Day to be the first Saturday in August since 2002. The day was created to educate people and to increase awareness on the production of mead, according to Michael Fairbrother of Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry.
“We still get people who come in all the time who either had no idea what mead is, or read about or heard about it from ancient stories but never thought it was real,” Fairbrother said, adding that Moonlight Meadery produces more than 100 different types of mead that range from dry to semi-sweet to sweet. “As one of the premier mead makers in the country, we tend to embrace [Mead Day].”
Fairbrother said Moonlight Meadery has offered tastings on special limited meads in the past for Mead Day, as well as classes and demonstrations on mead making. This year, two classes are planned: an introductory class at 10 a.m. on the basic practices of mead making, and an advanced class at noon on how to make caramelized bochet mead.
The newest meadery in New Hampshire, Ancient Fire Mead & Cider is celebrating its first Mead Day this year since its grand opening in Manchester earlier this year. But it’s not the first time co-owner Jason Phelps has celebrated the day.
“We’ve been members of the American Homebrewers Association for a number of years, and the last couple of years, we’ve used Mead Day … as a way to get people together before we opened to celebrate what we were doing,” said Phelps, who opened Ancient Fire with his wife Margot in March. “Mead is not well-known, so it’s a great way to socialize mead a bit more and to kind of celebrate it as its own thing.”
Phelps will make a 50-gallon batch of a farm-style dry hopped session mead with three opportunities at noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. for the public to watch inside Ancient Fire’s production area. Then at 3 p.m., members of the Capital Area Beekeepers Association in Concord will be on hand to speak about the role of the beekeeper and how bees produce honey.
“We’re not beekeepers, and we’ve had people ask us questions beyond our experience, so we wanted to bring someone in to be able to answer those questions,” Phelps said.
Additionally, Ancient Fire is going to be offering honey samples, growler discounts and giveaways on branded glassware and hats.
“I think our overall mission is to … create an opportunity for people to learn more about mead than just ‘this product I keep hearing about,’” Phelps said. 

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