On June 8, 793 A.D., ships full of Vikings landed on the shores of Lindisfarne, or the Holy Island, off the coast of England. They sacked—read: destroyed—the church there, taking what treasures they could and disappearing back into the sea.
News of the attack spread as far as France and the raid at Lindisfarne is now widely considered to be the start of the Viking Age in the British Isles, a time that lasted until the middle of the 11th century.
More than 1,200 years later, in 2018, Vikings appeared at the Brimming Horn Meadery in Milton. This time, it was a commemoration of the ancient event that launched not only the Viking Age but also hundreds of books, shows, movies, documentaries, plays, operas and parodies of operas.
At the first Party Like It’s 793 event, reenactors set up tents and a Viking market, selling homemade jewelry, leatherwork, beard oil and more. They told tales from the ancient past and Norse mythology and gave demos on Viking crafts. Local metal bands played and a local restaurant provided a Saturday pig roast. There was, of course, a lot of mead, the fermented honey beverage that slaked the thirst of centuries of Vikings.
Founded by former Dogfish Head employees Jon Talkington and Robert “J.R.” Walker, Brimming Horn is the only Viking-themed meadery in Delaware, a tribute to their passions for mead, Vikings and heavy metal music. From their tasting room, designed like a Viking mead hall, you can ask them about Arcane Jüstice, the seventh unique offering in their “Mead and Metal” series of limited-release meads in collaboration with metal bands around the country.
“We’re the only meadery that does it,” says Talkington, “so it gives us our own little niche. We’ve made some really good friends with the record labels that support us and support their bands. It’s been pretty cool.”
The idea for Party Like It’s 793 came when some Viking reenactors reached out to Walker and Talkington and asked about doing an event. They saw that June 8 fell on a Friday and, not being the kind of people to take half-measures, decided to do a weekend-long program. Three hundred people showed up.
“It seemed like something fun and different to do in the area,” says Talkington, “We made a cool little weekend out of it and it was a big hit, so we decided we’re gonna keep doing it every year.”
This year’s event will be June 7-9. Just like Lindisfarne in 793, there will be plenty of Vikings, mead and metal, but in a friendlier setting.
These Vikings will be performing and teaching craft demos, the mead will be for everyone, and the only axes you’ll see will be guitars. The musical lineup will include legendary metal vocalist, Delaware cop and friend-of-the-meadery Matt Barlow with his band We Are Sentinels. Brimming Horn and Barlow also collaborated on one of the past “Mead and Metal” brews, an ancient Greece-inspired mead called Spirit of Man.