Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Arktos Meadery to put award-winning meads into production in Grand Rapids

Written by  Dan VanderKooi
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Grand Rapids might be “Beer City” and home to many great breweries, but other fermented beverages are now making a name for themselves here as well. The People’s Cider Co. for instance has been producing some great hard cider for over a year now, while Long Road Distillers hope to put G.R. on the map for craft spirits this fall. Another new player is Arktos Meadery which has plans to soon add mead to the mix. The name “Arktos” comes from the greek word for bear, which is appropriate because bears love honey, and mead is a fermented honey beverage often associated with ancient Greek mythology as being the nectar of the gods.
Arktos Meadery plans on using fruit and honey for their recipes from as local sources as possible, including organic and non-GMO ingredients. The meadery has already had recipe and label approval for several of their meads. Queen Bee will be their flagship traditional-style mead featuring Michigan wild flower honey, and two melomels (fruit-based meads) will include the Black Stripe with strawberries and Three Bears with blueberries. Seasonal releases are also planned such as a possible Pumpkin Pie mead in the fall. These releases will all be oak-aged in fresh barrels, bottled, and distributed throughout Grand Rapids and elsewhere in Michigan, and as is the case with more traditional meads very potent in terms of alcohol strength.

While a strong beer may average over 10% alcohol, these stronger meads are closer to the 20% range. However, Arktos Meadery promises that their meads drink “like a porter” but feel more “like a port” and future recipes planned may include a Brown Ale Braggot, a mead that incorporates honey with barley and other beer ingredients. Ironically, current licensing requires that these stronger meads be labelled as “honey wine” and not mead based on current Michigan regulations. Artkos Meadery also plans to distribute their 2014 2nd place Mazer Cup International award-winning Honeycrisp Apple Cyser (a honey-based hard cider) in kegs. Unlike their other offerings, the cyser will be carbonated on draft for local bars and restaurants and not quite as potent - but still over the 10% range.

The current production facility for Aktos Meadery is located in Southwest Grand Rapids and is not open to the public but once licensing is finalized and distribution up and running, a possible public “mead hall” tasting room and restaurant could be part of future plans. In the meantime, keep an eye on the Arktos facebook and twitter pages for the latest news and hopefully the mead will be hitting the shelves of better beverage shops and on tap at all of the best pubs and restaurants soon.

Arktos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arktosmeadery

Arktos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArktosMeadery

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VK has been following the Michigan Craft Beer scene since before Oberon has been available in 6-packs. Besides making the rounds at all the local craft breweries and beer bars, Dan also supports the local music scene, reads crime fiction, and enjoys playing volleyball with his wife and friends.