Meads, from left to right featuring: strawberry and black currant, blueberry and lemon, cherry and black pepper, buckwheat honey, toasted coconut and chocolate, watermelon and mint.
If I tried to tell you everything going down at Miralani Makers’ District, reading this article would take an hour. Let this suffice: in a pair of neighboring Miramar business parks, nine individual beer and booze companies have formed a de facto co-op of tasting rooms. There’s sake, wine, vodka, and organic beer to try, so summon a car share and don’t schedule anything important for the rest of the day.
8665 Miralani Drive #100, San Diego
And consider at least one stop in particular: 8665 Miralani Drive, Suite 100. That’s where you’ll find a restaurant, a cidery, and one of the country’s best young mead producers: Lost Cause Meadery.
Craft mead is still gathering momentum in San Diego, and given the heat wave, I wondered how popular a lineup of meads measuring around 12-percent alcohol by volume would be during summer. But before settling in to order a six-mead taster flight, I already had my answer.
The Sunday afternoon crowd filled both sides of a squared off bar: Lost Cause mead pouring on one side, Serpentine Cider on the other. Larger groups of friends gathered around tables throughout the space, sampling both beverages. When a barstool opened up, I squeezed between two parties of mead enthusiasts, including one gentleman who’d brought his own, decorative drinking horns.
The bartender encouraged me to sample Buck It All, a traditional mead aged in oak barrels, and to focus on the character of buckwheat blossom honey and the wood. I tried to focus, but I got caught up appreciating the balancing act between sweetness and lightness in this San Diego International Beer Competition gold medal winner.
I continued the $12 flight with a new release: Uncharted Watermelons, flavored with real watermelon, and mint. The mint aroma struck first, and lingered after each sip. The subtle melon left room for the orange in the orange blossom honey to distinguish itself from the buckwheat.
The perceived sweetness, and light carbonation, make it easy to overlook these meads’ potency, so things started to move a little quicker as I got deeper into my flight, and didn’t slow down as I pored over several fruited meads. The tart combo of a strawberry and black currant mead reminded me of a dry punch. One of the meadery’s most popular is Bolt Fan Blues, which bring together blueberries and lemon to contribute a meringue-like sweetness.
The flight took a U-turn when I got to Mounds Rushmore, a nitro mead flavored with cacao nibs, vanilla, and toasted coconut. The sensationally creamy mead lives up to its candy bar potential, all smooth, sweet, and desserty.
But my favorite has to be the silver medal winner from this year’s Mazer Cup (the world’s biggest mead contest). Called Devilish Grin, the tart cherry mead stands out thanks to a zip of black pepper, just at the point the cherry cordial and cola might start to taste heavy. They make an entertaining duo. Even on a hot day.