3-30-21 Tonight we’re talking Polish mead, and all other things mead with Kris Plizga and Scot Schaar. Both of these gentlemen are accomplished mead makers, and both are pretty darn good Polish mead makers.

Kris’ mead adventure started many years ago while he was still living in his home country. At that time Poland was probably the only place on earth where mead was still produced by several companies and was available almost in every better supplied liquor store. After tasting many of them and his first try of Jadwiga półtorak he was hooked and it became his favorite drink for special occasions and celebrations.

There were several other styles of mead produced and each regional manufacturer would have some sort of historically or locally connected special edition usually with a nice story or legend behind it. After moving to the US he was only able to get mead while visiting Poland or very seldom in ethnic stores in areas densely populated by emigres from Central Europe. This situation was not satisfactory for him and since he also had become a beekeeper and had an abundant supply of honey, he decided to try reproducing some of the favorite meads on his own. This in turn led to searching for knowledge, learning about mead history and also meeting like minded people. The first group he got in contact with was an online forum frequented by many polish home meadmakers. The guidance and help he got from them was priceless.

It is from them, that he learned about American competitions and online resources. He was not aware that mead was gaining popularity and had such following on this side of the Atlantic. He signed up for mead making classes at UC Davis, became a member of GotMead Forums, signed up for AMMA and National Homebrewers Association, attended MeadCon and Mazer Cup few times. In 2018 he entered his first mead competitions; MidWinter, Mead Free or Die and Domras Cup. To his surprise won BOS mead at MidWinter competition and few 1st, 2nd and 3rd placings at the others. 2019 brought even more prizes and a few BOS placings. In 2020 he participated for the first time in Mazer Cup competition and his Buckwheat and Sour Cherry historical Polish mead was rewarded BOS placing and two other meads placed second.

Scot Schaar is head brewer at Crawford Brew Works and former distiller at Mississippi River Distilling Company. He is a BJCP beer and mead judge. Scot was the 2017 AHA Meadmaker of the Year (MMOTY) and shared the 2019 MMOTY award with Michael Wilcox and Carvin Wilson.

He was the 2015 East Coast MMOTY; has won multiple mead, beer, and cider bests of show; and has had his recipes professionally made by Moonlight Meadery and Prairie Rose Meadery. Scot and his wife Karen earned their Level 5 certification in the European Mead Judging Programme this past year while judging the Kings of Mead competition in Poznań, Poland.

Scott is very active in meadmaking, and turns up often in the Modern Mead Makers and GotMead Facebook groups. He was one of two people awarded an honorary Polish ‘passport’, along with Bob Slanzi, for his Polish style meads, which are excellent.

Scott has also been active in promoting mead in his area and in his homebrew club, the St. Paul Homebrewer’s Club, which also, in conjunction with the Minnesota Home Brewers Association puts on the Minnesota Mashout, one of the larger homebrew competitions in the US.

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Vicky Rowe
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