It’s Mead Time is an up close and personal look at mead, an adult beverage fermented with honey and water that dates back centuries, and its continuing rise in popularity throughout craft libations circles. Each month, together with Scott Neeley, Founder and mead maker at KingView Mead, we look to deliver news, information, and commentary about ‘The Hero’s Drink’ and bring you plenty of reasons why mead should be added to your consumption list.
The end of April has marked a time of year where craft beer takes center stage in Pittsburgh as Craft Beer Week unfolds and showcases how exceptional our landscape has become. From bars, breweries, restaurants, homebrew clubs, and charitable organizations, PCBW serves up a 10-day period where education, collaboration, and responsible libation are celebrated throughout the region.
As another PCBW has officially entered the history books, it’s important to realize how far our city has come in regards to all adult beverages. Beer has been a major catalyst in Pittsburgh’s libations emergence, but we are also fortunate enough to have artisans in other potables that play equal part in putting the Steel City on the map. To paraphrase our friends at Beers of the Burgh, Pittsburgh truly is Three Rivers United by Booze.
As I do every month, I caught up with KingView Mead Founder and Mead Maker Scott Neeley to chat about mead, PCBW, and the most recent developments with his labor of love. KingView was a sponsor for this year’s Craft Beer Week and even joined forces with Rivertowne Brewing to take part in this year’s series of collaboration beers, one of the traditions and highlights of the entire week. The KingView/Rivertowne collaboration married the ingredients of both beer and mead to create a Sahti, a style made famous in Finland utilizing a variety of grains and featuring low levels of bitterness.
The KingView/Rivertowne collaboration was affectionately dubbed The Buzzerker and was brewed with juniper berries and fermented with 60 pounds of raw, locally-sourced honey. It tipped the scales at 10% ABV and an IBU of 10. I got to experience this beer for the first time at Rivertowne’s Meet the Brewers event and it unequivocally hit the profile characteristics. The honey provided a sweet aroma and flavor and, overall, the subtle bitterness created a beverage that almost made you forget you were drinking a beer and not a glass of mead. Attendees at the event, both enthusiasts and brewers alike, were impressed with the creation and consumed it happily throughout the evening.
“I’ve never had anything like this. Smooth for as much alcohol and you can taste the juniper berries and honey. This is something special.” — Troy Bogdan
With Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week 2017 now in the rear view mirror, several destinations throughout the city will still have the final remnants of this year’s collaboration series on tap, including The Beerzerker. Most likely, this beauty won’t be making a comeback anytime soon…so grab a glass while you can!
RELATED: KingView Collaborates, KingView Expands
This collaboration shows us that artisans of great alcoholic beverages have an uncanny ability to put their minds together and create something extraordinary. While one’s specialty may excel in a specific area and someone else’s another, there’s no denying the end result will always be a universal belief: Brew something that gets people talking and smiling.
We are blessed to have a city rich in ingenuity, innovation, and, most of all, camaraderie. Everyone in the libations industry is able to lean on one another for advice, direction, ingredients, equipment, and constructive criticism. This leads to higher-quality adult beverages across the board, no matter what liquid you choose to pour into your glass. When that happens, it’s win-win for every one of us.
Bringing Home the Hardware
To say KingView kicked off April with a roar would be a tremendous understatement. To date, Scott has been bestowed multiple awards in various categories for his mead. A tremendous accomplishment having just opened his business less than a year ago. Now, he may be forced to buy a second trophy case to appropriately house all the new hardware.
The first of the most recent honors came in the form of four medals at the Pennsylvania Wine Competition. KingView captured Bronze for their Triple Beere and Blue & Gold offerings, Silver for their Sweet Mead, and a Gold Medal was earned for their PA Late Harvest Cider! The Late Harvest Cider is a 100% PA Apple, one variety style cider. Best served cold, it offers a crisp, clean, and well-balanced flavor profile, delivering just the right levels of dry and sweet. ABV is 8.4% and pairs with just about everything. Grab a bottle here.
From there, it was on to the 2017 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. And, to summarize: They fermented. They bottled. They presented. They dominated.
KingView Mead left the prestigious competition with EIGHT more medals, further cementing the fact that award-winning mead is a strong part of the Pittsburgh libations scene. The eight medals showcased the diversity of Scott’s skill set as they collectively included awards in the mead, wine, and cider categories. KingView was the only winery to accomplish this feat.
The list of awards from the Finger Lakes Competition reads as follows:
– Gold Medal in the Sweet Mead Category
– Silver Medals in PA Premium Late Harvest Cider, Trocken, Blue & Gold, Doppel Schwarz, and Cranberry Maple
– Bronze Medals in Cabernet Sauvignon and Triple Beere
“It’s important to see how we compare across the nation and even internationally,” Neeley explained. “It’s easy for friends or your hometown to show support, but it’s a different ballgame if the nation says it and that’s what’s been happening. Ultimately, we want to produce the best product for the people of Pittsburgh, by a Pittsburgh producer. That’s how we elevate our great city on a global market and raise the quality bar faster.”
These honors prove that KingView has quickly established itself as a premier producer of mead, wine, and cider in the Pittsburgh region. In less than one year, KingView has earned 37 commercial awards by consistently bringing a quality, desirable product to the market. As the spotlight continues to shine on Scott Neeley’s business efforts and Pittsburgh’s libations scene continues to evolve, expect to see more growth and innovation surrounding this tremendous product that more consumers are quickly gravitating towards.
“Pittsburgh is a city of champions and we want to continue that tradition in the alcohol industry and produce pride for the city,” Neeley stated. “It’s not about being first or last. It’s about producing the highest-quality liquid because that’s what this city deserves.”