Mead, also known as honey wine, is said to have been the first alcoholic beverage, coming before both wine and beer. Originating in Northern China and Dating back to 7000 BC, this beverage has been part of cultures all over the world.
Many say mead was the nectar of the gods on Mount Olympus. Though we probably wish we could all be Athena, goddess of wisdom, sipping on mead and watching shirtless Zeus walk about, the next best thing is absolutely Bellingham’s own, Honeymoon.
Honeymoon Mead & Cider started ten years ago in Anna and Murphy Evans’ basement. Anna said Murphy has always loved to make things and began experimenting with mead. In 2003, the couple partnered with Robert Arzoo and rented the space at 1053 N. State Street Alley. After renovating the old glass warehouse, Honeymoon’s doors opened in 2005.
“We’re our own sweet thing,” Anna said. And she’s right. Honeymoon specializes in mead, a wine made from honey, which has been dissolved in water and fermented. Now the sole owners of the winery, the Evans pride themselves in using the finest local ingredients.
They source the honey from a company in the North Cascades with 1500 hives. Anna said it’s important for them to use light, delicately flavored honey, generally of the fireweed, blackberry or wildflower variety. The duo is particular about the type of yeast they use. Anna said that because the yeast is alive, no two batches of mead turn out exactly the same. The mead is left to sit from three to nine months.
“Making mead is an experiment and an art,” Anna said. “There is always something cooking back there, and it’s all a learning experience.” The outcome, Anna said, should be slightly sweet mead with floral notes. Not a fan of sweet wine? No problem. “My palate has expanded to like mead,” Anna said. “I’m more of an IPA girl, but I’ve come to love it.”
Anna recommends putting wine preferences aside, sitting down with a sample of their Lover’s Mead and welcoming the possibility of enjoying mead as its own beverage. Anna was right: the Lover’s Mead is tauntingly sweet, yet delicate. The honey is prominent with intermittent floral notes. Aside from the alluring flavor, who wouldn’t want to sip “Lover’s Mead” with a dear one? Paired with roasted garlic cloves swimming in melted Brie, this is a showstopper.
“I think it’s lovely, and it’s great with cheese,” Anna said.
Honeymoon has made its mark in Bellingham, whether it’s in stores or at the shabby-chic tasting room itself. The exposed brick walls, earthy wood panels and sparkling twinkle lights set an ambiance that screams rustic romance.
“We’re grateful to have been here this long,” Anna said. “We just love where we live and have found a way to be part of what makes it so cool.” After nine years of success, it’s clear Bellingham loves Honeymoon, too.
1052 North State Street Alley, Bellingham