Denver’s Queen Bee Among Meaderies that are Expanding our Palates
Ancient Alcoholic Beverage Served in many styles
The Thirst Colorado Team
Mead, arguably one of the oldest alcoholic beverages, is finding its way onto more palates of Coloradans, thanks in part to beer.
With 300-plus meaderies spread across the U.S., the ever-expanding palate of each generation continues to push forward with new desires (despite Budweiser’s humorous TV ads poking fun at mead).
Although much of the popular mead distributed in recent years was sweet and often thought of as a digestif, the times are changing, reports Deborah Lee, owner and production supervisor at Queen Bee Brews in north Denver.
Mead’s production is more closely aligned with wine than beer (Lee operates with a wine license), but it’s truly taken flight with its own identity.
Lee purchases a variety of honey from around the U.S. to create different flavors of the gluten-free beverage. Then, herbs, spices, fruits and other ingredients are added to create complex flavors. At Queen Bee, Lee offers 12 varieties (give or take) that range from dry and wine-like to meads that are rich and spicy.
All of her offerings feature the name of a prominent female legend, or as Lee said: “kick-ass chicks.” Queen Bee’s Pomona features wildflower honey and spiced organic Palisade apple cider, which is also bourbon barrel aged. It’s dry and perfect for fall and winter drinking. The Magdalena features mesquite blossom honey and fire-roasted Hatch chiles from New Mexico. Don’t worry, “it’s a dry heat,” Lee points out.
Regardless of the ingredients, Lee said, “it should still taste like honey at the end of the day.”
She attributes some of her success to drinkers of another popular beverage that has made quite a splash in Colorado and beyond. She said the increased popularity of mead is the result of beer drinkers. Colorado’s voracious palate for new beer flavors has carried over into her world. “We’re finding a lot people with adventurous palates who are willing to try something new,” she said.
Queen Bee meads can be purchased at Mondo Vino in the Highlands, The Proper Pour in RiNo and a few other locations around town. The tasting room is at 800 E. 64th Ave., #6, in Denver. Call before you visit to confirm when the doors are open: 303-937-6323.