Mead is truly an acquired taste…or rather you like it or you don’t. If you’re not a fan of sweet wine – or sweet things in general – you probably do not like mead. But what exactly is mead? In its simplest form, mead is created by fermenting honey and water. Most likely, you’ve had mead that also included hops, fruit, and/or spices included in this process.
After winning a Maryland Wine Pass via an Instagram contest, the first place I used it was Orchid Cellar Meadery and Winery. First, the name is misleading. While this establishment once apparently included a winery, it is no more, though I did see 4 bottles of what I assume is what’s left of the wine. There is also wine for purchase on the website.
Instead of wine though, there are two kinds of mead available – traditional mead and a line of single-serve sparkling mead concoctions from Elemental Mead Co. Tastings are offered for both. We did the traditional tasting, which included four mead varieties. As far as mead goes, these were really good. If you like mead or have never tried it and would like to, these are great to start with. I especially enjoyed the Monk, which included rose petals in the fermentation process.
I did try the Elemental mead, which is a sparkling mead beverage in a can. I tried the blackberry flavor. If you enjoy hard seltzer (or seltzer in general) – which I do not, this drink may be for you. Otherwise skip it. It’s not especially flavorful.
A highlight of the visit was the tasting room. As soon as you walk in the aroma of the mead and honey hits you and your experience starts before you taste a thing. It has plenty of space for groups inside and outside, is dog-friendly outside and the staff is knowledgeable, friendly and excited to introduce customers to mead. There is also some great artwork on display and for sale throughout the tasting room.