11-26-19 Tonight we’re talking with Annie Zipser and Amy Olsen, Annie and Amy are both award winning home mead makers, and are now involved with the Michigan Mead Coalition. The Michigan Mead Coalition is a group of meadmakers who are looking to create a shared environment where they can talk mead, share their skills, and even have shared equipment and supply buys. We’ll be talking more about that in the show.

We’ll also talk meadmaking, things we’ve learned, and generally just geek out on meadmaking.

More about Annie: Annie Zipser has been making mead for about 6 ½ years now. She started making mead because so many excellent meads were being offered to her at Ann Arbor Brewer’s Guild meetings (that she was attending because her husband is a homebrewer). The Guild has a large mead presence and Annie has always felt very lucky that she had so many excellent resources in her learning experience. She joined Fermenta, a group focused on women in the fermenting world, and through a Fermenta scholarship took the BJCP mead exam.

Annie retired from teaching in 2016…and working at Adventures in Homebrewing provided a great springboard into retirement activities. While working there she presented seminars and classes about mead, got to teach people about mead, and connected to the larger mead world.

Since getting her BJCP ranking, Annie has been judging at the National Homebrew Competition and the Mazer Cup along with the Michigan Beer Cup and the Michigan Mead Cup. Going to the Mazer Cup to judge led her to going to the AMMA conference as a volunteer. This has since led to being on the planning committee for the conference. She is also on the planning committee for the Michigan Mead Cup and is one of the organizers of the AMMA presence at HomebrewCon. She is currently on the Home Governing Board (AMMA) where she serves as secretary. Her newest activity is the Michigan Mead Coalition where she serves as event coordinator. Michigan is a great state for mead makers and the Michigan Mead Coalition hopes to bring meadmakers together the same way that a homebrew club brings brewers together.

Annie is a self professed “mead geek” and is having a great time letting her hobby be her retirement career!

And some info on Amy: Have you ever had a conversation with a total stranger that changed the course of your life? That is what happened to me nearly 5 years ago. I was having a beer after work at Kuhnhenn Brewing in Warren, MI; and making conversation with other people at the bar. Some random small talk turned into a fairly in-depth conversation about flavor and my new friend asked me that life changing question…”Have you ever considered making mead”? Long story short, the gentleman at the bar turned out to be Frank Retell, the mead maker at Kuhnhenn Brewing. I was extremely fortunate to have a very experienced and talented mead maker show me how to make mead, let me ask a million questions and allow me to work with him on several batches that were released at the brewery. I was hooked!

I am a classically trained chef by trade. I now teach culinary arts, baking and pastry arts and run a restaurant in my school district. So, food and flavor are a huge part of my life and background. Mead seemed like a very logical and natural progression. Within a year I was making solo batches at home. My family and friends were very supportive, but they pretty much would tell me that they liked it and drank a lot. I wanted some impartial feedback and constructive criticism. So I entered my first competition; The Michigan Mead Cup in 2014. I earned a gold medal and won Best of Show with my very first entry. It was Michigan wildflower honey with Medjool dates, black mission figs, and sultanas…all desert fruits. I called it A Gift to the Khaleesi.

That’s pretty much where things got started. I have continued to make mead and enter competitions. Since then, I have earned several gold, silver, bronze and honorable mentions at numerous competitions around the country. As well as 4-AHA National Home Brewers Competition 1st round ribbons, and 7 Mazer Cups. 2 of which were for the special Digby category…It’s kind of fun to say that I am the only person to have ever won in that category. 2019 has been very good to me. I won Best of Show at the Great Northern Brew Ha Ha, and at the Mid-Winter Homebrew Competition I won Best of Show and The Meadmaker’s choice award. I’ll have the honor of having one of my meads produced by Moonlight Meadery as the prize for that ProAm.

This hobby has been a fabulous addition to my life. I have attended 2 MeadCons, 3 Mazer Cup International competitions, 2 AHA Conferences, took 2 classes at UC Davis, got elected to the AMMA Home Brew Committee, became a BJCP Mead Judge, joined the Michigan Mead Coalition and was recently voted in as the Vice President, went on a huge mead-centric road trip this summer and I have had the honor of meeting some absolutely amazing people. I am very grateful for all that I have learned and I am looking forward to having the time to put some of that knowledge into practice, improve my craft and make more mead this year.

Join us on the live chat and don’t be afraid to call in if you want to!

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If you want to ask your mead making questions, you can call us at 803-443-MEAD (6323) or send us a question via email, or via Twitter @GotmeadNow and we’ll tackle it online! 9PM EDT/6PM PDT Join us on live chat during the show Bring your questions and your mead, and let’s talk mead! You can call us at 803-443-MEAD (6323), or Skype us at meadwench (please friend me first and say you’re a listener, I get tons of Skype spam), or tweet to @gotmeadnow.

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Vicky Rowe
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