Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tugwell Creek Meadery

Address: 8750 West Coast Road, Sooke
Phone: (250) 642-1956
Website: www.tugwellcreekfarm.com
Price: $15-30
Notes: The Sooke meadery that was ahead of the curve in the local mead trend

This review first appeared on victoria.intoxicant.ca — Victoria's Intoxicating Hub 

Tugwell Creek

Tugwell Creek is a honey farm & meadery located near Sooke, just off the road that winds along the water beyond Sooke proper. As the first meadery to start mass-producing product in Western Canada in 2003, they seem to have started a trend and there are now half a dozen meaderies in BC alone. The Tugwell property is set up much like a winery, with a small tasting room on the ground level, just past the parking lot. Self-guided tours of the property have recently been set up, providing a bit more of an educational experience to your visit.
Mead is a very interesting alcoholic beverage for many reasons. Historically, it is very likely the oldest fermented beverage in the world. The term "honeymoon" refers to the month after the wedding when the couple were secluded with a plentiful stockpile of the alcohol. This was because mead was thought to promote fertility, and surprisingly some recent scientific studies support this superstition. Mead is still often gifted to newlyweds today, although the connection between these ideas has become less concrete. Mead is also interesting because depending on the fermentation process and added ingredients, mead can end up tasting like a liqueur, wine, beer or even cider. The style preferred by Tugwell Creek tends towards the wine variety, however their seasonal batches are often quite small and provide opportunities for creativity.

July 1, 2012
We took a long, leisurely drive out to Sooke on Canada Day. On the way to French Beach we stopped at Tugwell Creek for a tasting. They had three samples in the tasting flight, all of which were available to take away home for enjoyment later.

Harvest Melomel 2010
"Harvest Melomel 2010"
A 'Melomel' is a mead that include berries. The berries in this variety are all from the property, and include marion, logan and goose berries. This was the clearest and driest of all the meads we tried. It also had perhaps the most neutral flavour, with the berry taste hard to pick out compared to the distinct spices and fruit tastes in the other two meads.
This was probably our least favourite of all three - the flavours were pretty subtle and the mead was pretty dry, neither of which are our taste.

Solstice Metheglin 2011
"Solstice Metheglin 2011"
'Metheglin' is thought to be related to Welsh word for medicine (literally 'healing liquor'), and historians believe this style was often used in folk medicine during pagan times. This spiced style of mead has a strong ginger flavour, accompanied by a savoury spice blend to balance out the sweetness. The sweetness level has also been balanced out by aging in French Oak barrels for six months prior to bottling. Unlike the other meads in the short flight, this one was able to be stored in the fridge for a few weeks without spoiling. This is the one we bought a bottle of to bring home, and it went down very well with our meals for the next few nights!

Original Sin 2011
"Original Sin 2011"
Unlike the other two meads in the short tasting flight, this mead was unfiltered and sparkling. It was much sweeter, and the incorporation of the apples and quince meant that it was reminiscent of a cider. The 'original sin' name comes from the thought that while apples are thought of as the fruit Eve is said to have given to Adam, historians believe it was more likely quince. This mead was only made in a very small batch, and there are only a few cases left, and only available directly through the meadery.
This one reminded us a lot of the cider we buy from Sea Cider, but with a little bit of honey flavour to even things out. Interesting take on a mead!

July 1, 2012
The tasting itself was pretty straight forward. The room is pretty small, so it was just a few of us gathered around. The information was interesting and helpful for learning about mead, and although you could tell that the woman had repeated that same 15 minute speech thousands of times she still brought a good sparkle to it. I'm excited to come back and try the guided tour and different meads in future!