Save the Bees, Drink Mead!


| 2/2/2017 9:43:00 PM


Tags: honeybees, mead, beverages, honey, festivals, local foods, sustainable agriculture, California, John D Ivanko,

Leave it to a small meadery along the southern coast of California to tell the story of the plight of the honeybees, and help bring about their return. As the oldest alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of honey, mead is as natural as they come: sunshine, flowers, honeybees in a healthy ecosystem, honey, fermentation and finally, a refreshing “nectar of the Gods.”

At Golden Coast Mead in Oceanside, California, cofounder, CEO, and Head Mead Maker, Frank Golbeck, believes with all his heart that drinking mead can help save the honeybees. We caught up with Golbeck after first meeting him at the San Diego Fermentation Fest (read about the festival in a previous post) and couldn’t resist stopping by his tasting room and production facility in Oceanside to sample a “flight” of his unique meads made with a 1-to-4 ratio of California Honey to Palomar Mountain spring water and an ale yeast.

Perhaps a disclaimer is needed here: We love mead. But the surprisingly flavorful and unique styles of mead crafted by Golden Coast Mead go unparalleled in our travels. And we have sampled some amazing meads from other parts of the country. But every kind of mead at Golden Coast had its own story, usually based on the source of the honey and the pairings with other ingredients, like coffee or Serrano peppers — and the flavor profiles change throughout the year.  We tried a mead flight of Orange Vanilla, Savage Bois, Coffee, and Pucker Punch.

“My vision is to craft a regenerative beverage that supports a healthy ecosystem,” says Golbeck, as we grab a seat in his tasting room and took a sip of our first glass of Orange Vanilla Mead.  “Just like Patagonia shifted the buying power of the cotton market, I want to make mead scalable to the point where we can do that for bees and honey.”

“We’re doing very different things,” Golbeck continues, on what sets his operation apart from others. “We call it San Diego-style mead. Ours is defined by using an ale yeast. We use some sour cultures to give them a bit of a complex edge. No one else is really doing ale-based meads on a commercial scale. No one else is really doing sours on a commercial scale."




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