Honey won out over barley for one Colorado brewer. When Adam Thompson started making beer and mead in 2006, mead quickly became his preferred beverage to brew. “I started realizing how wide open mead is, and how nobody has really explored mead as much and tested the potential,” Thompson explains.
Last year, he opened Mechalore MeadWorks in Loveland, where he brews four different kinds of mead every quarter. In his No Where to Hide series, he keeps his recipes traditional but changes the type of honey each time. His Volume One won a bronze medal in the Traditional-Dry category at this year's Mazer Cup, an international mead competition. “It’s a great mead to show how different various types of honey can be,” he notes.
Thompson says he loves to experiment not only with different types of honey, but also with spices and other ingredients. His mojito mead, called Fed Unto the Axioms, blends orange blossom honey, spearmint and lime zest. Tahitian vanilla bean is used in his sweeter creamsicle-style mead.
“The sweeter ones tend to be more popular even though everyone complains about mead being too sweet,” Thompson laughs. Some of the sweet bestsellers include a French toast mead and an oatmeal-raisin cookie mead.
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The brewer embraces sweet meads as well as modern styles. “I’m trying to hit what I think are the different palates out there — the traditional, the spice, the dessert-like, the sweet," he explains.
Regardless of the type of mead or what he pairs it with, he's glad to be making it in Colorado. “I’m happy to be part of this group,” he says of the state’s close-knit group of mead makers.
For those new to mead, Thompson advises that all meaderies are different and encourages people to keep trying and experiment. “There are a lot of good meads in Colorado. If mine doesn’t hit you, try somebody else,” he says.
Thompson plans to open a taproom in a few years, but for now he's still managing a landscaping company full-time as well as two young daughters, his official honey tasters. For now, find the mead in liquor stores in Denver and throughout the Front Range. For more information, visit mechalore.com.