When it comes to fermented drinks, beer and wine command the most attention, and mead tends to be the forgotten little sister.
The beverage that results from fermenting honey and water together, however, has a leg up on both in terms of longevity: Allegedly some of the earliest forebears found an abandoned hive filled with rainwater, possibly in ancient Egypt, and the fermented result turned humans on to the joys of alcohol.
At W A Meadwerks, which opened in Lindenhurst earlier this fall, the fermentation process is decidedly more controlled: Owners Joseph Abruzzo Jr. and Roger Wanner blend honey with filtered water in a spotless room lined with fermentation tanks and a carbonator. In three weeks or so, their meads — flavored with blueberries, or vanilla, or even hops — are ready to be kegged, canned and bottled.
Abruzzo and Wanner are both longtime mead hobbyists who funded their meadery, in part, with an Indiegogo campaign, which helped build a funky, chilled-out tasting room. Anyone who has been put off by oversweet meads at some point may have a change of heart (and palate) here: Mostly sparkling, these honey wines can have ample dryness and tannins to balance out their sweeter notes. On a recent Friday night, the lineup included a dry-hopped mead (an IPM); a breezy version flavored with peaches; a pineapple and vanilla-laced mead called If You Like Mead-A-Colada, as well as jewel-tone meads flavored with berries and cherries. A sampler of five costs $7; a 13-ounce pour is $7; and cans are available to go.
At the end of November, Wanner and Abruzzo will release their first barrel-aged mead, a version flavored with orange zest, cherries and orange-blossom honey and then left to rest in a former rye barrel. (This mead, mentioned in last week’s column on Thanksgiving drinks, is intended as a ringer for an Old Fashioned cocktail).
In terms of pacing, mead’s alcohol content falls in the range of beer and cider (about 6 to 7 percent), but can hit a whopping 14 percent. That boozy version, the berry-forward Three’s Company, comes in slender bottles that can slip easily into a stocking.
W A Meadwerks, 26 W. Hoffman Ave., Lindenhurst; 516-607-5664. Open Friday 3 to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 8 p.m.