InDulwich couldn’t find an opener, so Nick used his trusty hammer to open the first bottle. The denizens of the old stable block-come-office space were gathered round expectantly. The 33cl bottle of Gosnells London Mead was split between the six of us, enough for a good sniff and glug. Lined up before us was the rest of a selection six pack. Here’s how the tasting went.
London Mead is Gosnells’ original brew. It’s similar to a traditional mead but lighter, not as sweet and less alcoholic (at 5.5%). The overall verdict was “nice and refreshing” when chilled but a bit sweet for some tastes. That’s what you get with a honey-based drink I guess but next up was a version that aimed to tackle that.
The hops in the Hopped Mead delivered a slight bitterness that gave it a welcome edge, tempered the sweetness and provided a little more complexity. Lisa, Sam and Caroline all marked it as the best of the bunch.
Citra Sea Mead, with its tarragon, lemon rind and dash of seawater also scored well. Nick reckoned it the most attractive tasting and more interesting as a standalone drink. Gini liked the sound of the citrusy brew but the thought of drinking sea water brought back childhood memories of swallowing mouthfuls while swimming in the Solent. I have similar memories (of the North Sea in my case) but I still found the prospect of a Sea Mead enticing and it was probably my favourite.
Elderflower Mead split the group. It top scored for Gini who declared she “would like it cold with lots of ice and a head of elderflowers and slice of cucumber on a stripy deck chair”. She also wondered about mixing it with soda water to make a mead spritzer. Lisa and Sam both suggested it could be a good alternative to Pimms but for Caroline it was too sweet. Like the others, this one is 5.5% but it wears it very lightly and goes down more like a soft drink.
If there was a disappointment, it was the Spiced Mead. We have to mitigate this criticism straight away, by saying that it really needed to be served warm. Having neither hob nor microwave in the office, that wasn’t an option. Sam spoke for all of us, saying he “would like to re-try this, heated up and with carol singing in my ears”.
We finished the tasting the way we began it, with the London Mead. I enjoyed it more second time around, partly because it tasted fresher after the Spiced Mead. One last comment; we were drinking these on a darkening and drizzley Friday afternoon in February, when they seem designed for a sunny afternoon in June.
Gosnells meads are available from usual suspects like Hop Burns & Black in East Dulwich, Dugards in Herne Hill and London Beer Lab in Brixton or online from Gosnells.
Here's a picture of the hammer at work.