I know, mead isn’t cider, but I like it too. In case you don’t know, mead is typically classified as a type of wine, made from honey, water, and yeast. The weekend before last I visited the Sky River meadery in Woodinville Washington (their address is oddly enough in Redmond; they must be right on the border). The meadery is at the top of a steep hill with a beautiful view of the Woodinville area, home to numerous (grape) wineries and a couple cideries (Locust and Elemental). They share the building with two (grape) wineries, Icon Cellars and Pleasant Hill. My husband and friend sampled wines at Pleasant Hill, which they were impressed with.
I went for the “Whole Hive” and sampled their entire current lineup of nine meads–yum! All were still (no carbonation) and served in a wine glass at room temperature.
Dry, 11% ABV: Semi-dry, medium bodied, a bit acidic / tart / bitter, more floral than honey notes
Semi-Sweet, 11% ABV: Semi-sweet, slightly fuller bodied, less tart & acidic, no bitterness, more honey than floral notes
Sweet, 11% ABV: On the drier side of sweet, full bodied, very flavorful but still tastes light, honey and pollen notes
Ginger, 12% ABV: On the drier side of sweet, very gingery! (although much more in the scent and aftertaste at the back of the throat than the flavor); I’m not a ginger fan so I didn’t have much
Blackberry, 12% ABV: Semi-sweet, medium bodied, moderately tart & acidic, light to moderate blackberry flavor
Raspberry, 12% ABV: Sweet, full bodied, mild tartness & acidity, full flavored with strong raspberry notes (they call it “jam in a glass”), no honey notes
Rose, 12% ABV: Infused with real rose petals; semi-sweet, a touch bitter, more acidic & tart than the others, definitely floral
Brochet, 12.5% ABV: This is the only mead where they use heat–over 9 days the honey is heated to around 110 degrees to caramelize it, before they make the mead with it; on the drier side of sweet, full bodied but still feels light, rich scent & flavor, caramel & brown sugar notes
Solas, 12% ABV: This is their Dry Fly Distilling whiskey barrel aged mead; sweet verging on very sweet, smells of oak with a hint of smoke, full bodied, very smooth, full flavored, rich, lovely lucious flavor
The Solas is aged in Dry Fly Distilling whiskey barrels like this which decorated the tasting room:
I bought a bottle of Solace, which was my favorite (followed by the Brochet). I thought it was pretty reasonable at $26, plus buying a bottle refunding my $15 tasting fee (so buying a $17 bottle would have been an even better deal). Apparently Solas is their best seller at the tasting room, except in summer when the raspberry & blackberry meads sell well.
Sky River meads can be shipped to a number of states (see image below), direct to consumer, either through the meadery or VinoShipper.com. They are sold in stores in AK, CT, ID, LA, MT, OR, PA, WA, Japan, and Sweden per this list.