5-26-20 Tonight at 9PM ET, we’re taking a different tack, we’re bringing on a group of talented meadmakers to talk shop, and we’re starting in the midwest. We’ll be talking with Kevin Meintsma, Steve Fletty and Josh Mahoney. They are part of a meadmaking group in Minnesota that is making some seriously amazing meads, and each of them is an accomplished meadmaker. We’re going to be talking mead, how they got into making it, what they’ve learned and what they’re making now.
You might remember Kevin Meintsma from last month, in 2017 he came back to mead after blowing through all the beer and cider styles. 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.
Steve Fletty started making mead in 2002 when he was introduced to it at a Beer Judge Certification Program study class. “Even though mead wasn’t yet a part of the exam, we did a mead tasting night with 60 meads, not kidding,” he said. “Most sucked, but two of them blew my mind. I thought, ‘I need to make that!’”. He is a two-time winner of the American Homebrewers Association Mead Maker of the Year award. He’s also won multiple best of show awards for beer, mead and cider and was the 2008 Midwest Homebrewer of the Year.
One was a mesquite chipotle mead—Fletty convinced the guy who made it to divulge his secrets, and he went on to win medals with his own version. The other was a commercial pyment (fermented with a blend of honey and grapes/grape juice). Fletty’s research and hard work to replicate it won him his first Meadmaker of the Year award in 2007. In 2016, he won his second honor as Meadmaker of the Year, in large part because of his Best of Show mead called Holy Cacao, a specialty mead made with cacao nibs, Dutch cocoa, and vanilla bean.
Steve is a BJCP National and Mead judge. When he’s not planning a new mead batch, he works as a computer network engineer.
Josh Mahoney began his journey into fermenting alcoholic beverages after discovering a dusty old bottle of homemade whiskey hidden in his family’s 125 year old farmhouse. The wheels started spinning and after 12 years making mead, beer, & cider, (not whiskey, of course, that’s illegal), mead has become his favorite creative outlet.
Currently Josh is Vice President of the Minnesota Homebrewers Association and one of the founding members of Valkyries Horn Mead Competition.
Josh is mostly known for his braggots, having collected 4 first place Mazer Cups in the braggot category over the past 7 years. He enjoys the competitive outlet that meadmaking provides, sending his creations around the country to see how they stack up against other like minded mead enthusiasts. Last year he collected a dozen or so medals chasing the Meadmaker of the Year circuit, while simultaneously cheering on his fellow Minnesota mead friends who have the same competitive spirit.
Above all, Josh enjoys the camaraderie of his fellow mead and homebrew club friends and sharing his passion and humor through his mead creations.
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New Honey on Sale!
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- June 2 – Upper Midwest Mead Part 2 – Adam Bystrom, Josh Holbrook & Matt Weide
Show links and notes
- Let There Be Melomels by Rob Ratliff
- Take part in Kevin Meintsma’s Hydromel Study – email firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll send you questions
- Honeyberry information
- The Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm
- Apple varietals and where they grow – http://orangepippen.com
- National Honey Board Mead Crafter Compeitition
- July 22-25 Mazer Cup International, Broomfield, CO
- September 26-28 AMMA MeadCon, Broomfield, CO
- Due to the pandemic, most meaderies cannot have events or open their taprooms, and are offering their mead via online and pickup service. You can find an ongoing list at https://gotmead.com/blog/meaderies/support-meaderies-during-coronavirus-where-to-get-mead-online-and-pickup/
- Visit our mead directory at https://gotmead.com/blog/commercial-mead/
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