Maple and Mead
When given the chance to write an article on how maple syrup is used in our region’s various breweries, distilleries, wineries and meaderies, I took a road trip two and a half hours north and east to 810 Meadworks in Medina. I was pleasantly surprised as I pulled onto Main Street to see a village of beautifully preserved sandstone buildings and streets of delightfully maintained storefronts. Finding 810 Meadworks is no monumental task. Tucked just off of Main, it shares a space with an enticingly fragrant café, The Shirt Factory, and the charmingly appointed Hart Hotel.
Mead, at its most basic, is honey wine. It can range in style from totally dry to lusciously sweet and can be flavored with most any fruit, spice or aromatic under the sun. 810 Meadworks has taken this to heart, crafting meads for nearly every palate, using the many flavors nature offers including coffee beans, lemon zest, hops, ghost chilies and black currants.
Walking through the doors of the meadery, you are greeted by the production floor. The heart of the operation is on full display with wooden barrels perched on shelves, fermentation vats holding the promise of future batches, and enough carboys to convince you that this is a place of constant experimentation and refinement. The staff make it a welcoming and enlightening experience. When I arrived, co-owner Larissa DeGraw was deep in conversation with patrons at the bar discussing upcoming batches, past favorites and plans for the coming season.
Given the inspiration for my visit, I was particularly interested in the maple syrup-infused offerings. The Maple Tap and Barrel-Aged Maple Tap meads are winter and springtime seasonal releases. With locally sourced maple syrup and honey from Sunrise Bees Apiary in Elba, the Maple Tap Mead is quintessentially western New York and an absolute joy in the glass. It has a rich amber hue with sweet notes of baking spice, vanilla and maple sugar, balanced by a deep earthy hogo (notably strong flavor) honey note, all hung on a rich, smooth body that coats the palate. The Barrel-Aged Maple Tap concentrates similar notes to the Maple Tap and rounds out the whole experience, creating something closer to a cordial than a standard mead. It is unique and brilliant.
810 Meadworks is a sterling concept, from its pleasing aesthetic and devotion to its quality and exploration of mead far beyond the traditional style. I plan on stopping by again soon.
810 Meadworks, 113 West Center Street, Medina, NY; 585-542-9810