4-21-20 Tonight at 9PM ET we’re talking with Kevin Meintsma, a prolific and talented meadmaker who is quite humble about his very well made meads.

Kevin has been making mead since 1995, his first one being with a very dark honey that he later learned was eastern buckwheat (it had also been sitting in the workshop for 12 years!). It also had cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and used champagne yeast. And no temp control or nutrients. That turned out, not surprisingly, poorly, lol. Kevin then opted to avoid mead until 2017 after that.

He’s been a homebrewer since the early 80’s, and did stovetop extract brewing (as that was all there was at that point), using a scavanged pot. He did that for a few years, then stepped away to focus on life, work and family until 2010. Then, after coming back from a work assignment in England for 7 months, he got serious again about homebrewing and began making brews and entering competitions. He stewarded and judged at the Minnesota Mashout that year, and a few years later got his BJCP certification. He went on to get his Mead Judge endorsement as well.

Since then, Kevin has taken multiple Best of Show awards for beer, cider and mead, including a beer Pro-AM with Minneapolis based Town Hall Brewing that sent him to the GABF Pro-AM competition. He notes this was one of the highlights of his brewing hobby.

Fast forward to 2017, Kevin had brewed around 85% of the 2015 beer style guidelines, and 90% of the cider guidelines, he decided to come back to mead for a new challenge. His 3rd mead was a pyment which took first place at the Minnesota State Fair (to his surprise). His 4th mead was a cyser made in the fall from local apples he got via the Primary Fermenters club. During the Minnesota Homebrewer’s Association annual holiday party in December, Matt Weide tasted the cyser and declared it better than his! So Kevin entered it in the AHA 2018 Nationals where it got a gold in the first round, and a 2nd in the final round, totally shocking Kevin.

So, in 2019, he found the Mazer Cup. He attended and was shocked to take two medals and a should out from Josh Mahoney, one is his local mead heroes. He also got involved with a local group of mead makers and then went on to help found the Valkyries Horn Mead Competition, which was held for the first time in September 2019.

Kevin has focused on process and technique, more than ingredients or yeast. Nearly all his medals and best of shows he’s gotten have used ‘generic’ ingredients and prosaic yeast choices, which he did deliberately, due to a tight budget. He wanted a good grasp of technique so he can do justice to the many honey varietals that are available now.

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Coming up:
  • April 28 – Matt Weide
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Vicky Rowe
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