Hop’in Around: To the mead hall!

By on January 24, 2018

 

This week, beverage reviewer Michael Upton visited Meduseld, a meadery at 252 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster

I’ve been asked several times over the past couple months if I’ve gotten into the new meadery in Lancaster. Although I’d sampled Meduseld Meadery’s goods at a festival, I hadn’t actually been to the brick and mortar location, which opened in June 2017 on Harrisburg Pike. So, I gathered up a crew and headed in…to the unexpected.

Before even getting through the door, I realized we were severely underdressed. To shine light on this fact, I first must answer one of my initial questions: what is Meduseld?

Meduseld, which translates from Old English to “mead hall,” is the fictional golden hall built in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world of Edoras, the capital of Rohan. The hall is said to be based on other great halls of legend, like the “golden hall” of King Hrothgar found in Beowulf. Meduseld the meadery plays on these ancient and mythical traditions and has adopted a style inspired by swordsmen and Hobbits. During our visit on a Saturday afternoon, our group was the only one not in some kind of fantasy costume or historically inspired garb. Now, I didn’t see any elf ears, but there were plenty of drinking horns going around.

Meduseld’s aim is to put a “modern face on an ancient beverage by mixing ingredients and flavor profiles from many cultures both far and familiar.” And this they have done well! Mead, a spirit of fermented honey is legally categorized like a wine (and can carry an ABV like one), but its versatility can lend a product similar to ale or something uniquely in between. To get the full gamut of what Meduseld offers, we opted for a flight. We started with the basic: Just Honey Batch #1, a traditional mead made with Blueberry Blossom honey.

I was intrigued by several of the meads incorporating specific hop varieties. We sampled Amber Patterns, which uses Amarillo and Mosaic hops. The hops add their characteristic orange and fruity essence to the mead.

Looking for something closer to wine, we chose Nan’s Relish, a Pyment style mead created with Gewurztraminer grapes and wildflower honey and infused with cranberries and oranges. The result is a tart and fruity concoction with a pinkish haze.

Simply because of its mention of terroir, we added The Night Is Dark and Full of Terroir, a Metheglin or spiced mead. This “secret blend of honey” is combined with spices and fruits to create a “wintry appeal.” All the meads were good and not all of them were super sweet as one might expect.

Meduseld, which translates from Old English to “mead hall,” is the fictional golden hall built in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world of Edoras, the capital of Rohan. (Photos by Michael Upton)

Let it be known, this was my first trip into the meadery, but it was not my first attempt. Meduseld operates on some limited hours opening at 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and a few hours earlier on Saturday and Sunday. So, check to see if they are open before making the pilgrimage. (They are closed Monday and Tuesday.) And, even if you do find yourself at the meadery with the doors closed, The Fridge is just right across the street.

Learn more about the meadery at meduseldmeadery.com. Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

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