In the world of mead, aka honey wine, you come across all kinds of characters and craftspeople — poised commercial meadmakers, beekeepers, passionate home brewers, and those with a hint of the medieval about them. What they usually have in common is that they make interesting drinks that can be unlike anything you have tasted before.
This Saturday in a rarity for the world of honey wine, at least seven mead producers will gather on the Lindenhurst Town Square during the first-ever Long Island Mead Festival, organized by the owners of W A Meadwerks, a meadery that opened in the village last year, as well as the Lindenhurst Chamber of Commerce.
"There will be 16 meads to try," said Joseph Abruzzo Jr., who owns W A Meadwerks with Roger Wanner. How unusual is it to have so many meadmakers in one place? Very — at least on the East Coast, he added. (Though meadmakers will also gather at events in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Denver later this year).
Mead results from fermenting honey and water together, and is purportedly one of the earliest alcoholic beverages. While a drink made from honey sounds like it would probably be sweet, meads can also be dry, as well as still or sparkling, flavored with things such as blackberries or spices or hibiscus, or fermented with fruit such as grapes (called pyment) or apples (called cyser). Meadmaking is also undergoing a resurgence: According to the American Mead Makers Association, a new meadery opens in the U.S. every three days.
The Long Island Mead Festival kicks off at 1 p.m., and ticket holders can vote on their favorite mead, choosing from meaderies such as Meridian Hive from Austin, Texas, Brimming Horn Meadery in Delaware and Mysto Mead in the Hudson Valley, which makes a sparkling rose-petal mead.
Beekeepers, honey producers, food trucks and live music will be on hand, too, and the event is concurrent with Ales by the Rails, a festival put on by the village of Lindenhurst that spotlights craft beer and food.
Tickets to the Long Island Mead Festival are $35 in advance, and $45 the day of the event — though tickets are selling swiftly, so only a handful may be available that day (and by credit card only).
To purchase in advance, visit the Eventbrite page. The mead festival takes place at the Lindenhurst Town Square and Gazebo at 132 Wellwood Ave. in Lindenhurst, and ends at 5:30 p.m.