The Ferndale, Michigan-based B. Nektar Meadery, founded by Brad and Kerri Dahlhofer and their friend Paul Zimmerman, aims to “extend beyond the traditional honey wine,” using the many varieties of honey as an inspirational springboard for their creative brewing process. With their eclectic presentation and inventive brews, B. Nektar is not just another meadery. Conceptualized in 2006, B. Nektar only officially opened its doors on August 2, 2008 - on National Mead Day. In the two years prior to the grand opening, Brad and Kerry both experienced layoffs and both worked incessantly to get B. Nektar ready for opening day. Their hard work ultimately reaped sweet, sweet reward: namely, the numerous awards swooped up by B. Nektar’s imaginative meads.
Today we’ll be trying out three of B. Nektar’s brews: Zombie Killer, a cherry cyser; Black Fang, made with wildflower honey and blackberry juice; and Necromangocon, self-defined as a “mango and black pepper honey wine.”
6% ABVDeliciousness lingers within the bowels of Necromangocon. Don’t let the ominous label art evoking the Necronomicon from the Evil Dead movies deceive you, this maleficent-looking mead has quite the charming taste. Pouring with large carbonation, the simple, pale straw appearance doesn’t quite prepare you for the strong nose, radiating of perfume, body wash and Haribo gummy bears. The taste blows the cellar door wide open, and we discover what lingers deep inside Necromangocon: fruity notes of mango and peach, an overwhelming presence of old-fashioned candy and gummy bears, and a lasting pepperiness make this one hell of a mead.
6% ABVA lightly carbonated cherry cyser made with Michigan honey, cherries, and apple cider, Zombie Killer won’t stop an epidemic, but it certainly has the potential to start one. Once you try this mead, it’ll be tough not to shuffle mindlessly to the next bottle. Pouring a lightly carbonated peachy, almost salmon color, the nose emits fun dip and cherry, with a medicinal tint comparable to Campari. Even those wary of cherry-flavored drinks will find solace in this mead’s delicious flavor, which brings to mind artificial cherry pie filling, plum and sour apple.
6% ABVWildflower honey, blackberry juice, clove and orange zest comprise Black Fang, the darkest of today’s meads, pouring a lambrusco deep red with no noticeable carbonation. The complex nose gives off vivid scents of flowers and a Yankee Candle store, along with a fruity, medicinal sweetness. An avalanche of clove hits hard on the initial sip, with medicinal and distinctive floral and tart notes that grow on you the more you drink it. Remember all those delicious-smelling soaps and chapsticks you wanted to take a bite out of (and maybe did) when you were a kid? This is what they should have tasted like.
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