It’s sheer coincidence that Delaware’s first two meaderies are opening within weeks of each other. After years of experimenting with mead recipes, the owners had been working toward opening tasting rooms, each unaware of each other until a few months ago. They now share the goal of putting the First State on the map as not only the home of great mead, but also the home of “all things craft,” says maker Jeffrey Cheskin.
Last month, Cheskin and partner Terri Sorantino opened Liquid Alchemy Beverages in Wilmington. This month, if all goes as planned, partners Jon Talkington and “J.R.” Walker will open Brimming Horn Meadery near Milton. They join a growing number of craft breweries, wineries and distilleries. “People seem to love what we’re doing,” Talkington says. “They’re excited because it’s something different.”
Mead is best known as the drink of Vikings, the oldest alcoholic beverage on record and one that holds a hallowed place in Norse mythology. The ancient varieties resulted from fermented honey and water. Modern makers have tweaked the types of honey and yeasts to create meads that can be still or sparkling, sweet or dry. They have also added herbs, spices and fruits to create drinks of great complexity.
Both Brimming Horn and Liquid Alchemy produce a core group of meads that display their varied characteristics. They also show off a bit with meads flavored with everything from juniper berries to locally grown apples. All can be sampled in the tasting rooms or bought in six packs of 375 ml bottles.
“It’s like tasting history,” Talkington says.
You can find Liquid Alchemy at 28 Brookside Drive in Wilmington. It is open Friday through Sunday. Follow Brimming Horn on Facebook, then look for the new tasting room at 28615 Lewes Georgetown Hwy. near Milton.