Mead, the honey-wine of the gods, now made in Everett
It’s a science and an art: Mead maker Erik Newquist checks the amount of sugar content in a batch of mead using a specific gravity scale at his facility in downtown Everett last month.
EVERETT — Nearly every civilization has their own version of mead. Now, so does the city of Everett, thanks to Aesir Meadery.
Mead is a honey-based alcohol that can be traced back thousands of years. It can be found in records dating as far back as 1700 B.C. Tales in Greek mythology tell of ambrosia or the “drink of the Gods,”stories passed down of Vikings drinking it at celebrations.
In the alleyway off of Everett Avenue, between Colby and Wetmore avenues is Aesir Meadery. During the day, it’s easy to walk by it without knowing, as the business has a garage door for an entrance and sits around the corner from a rather
unassuming parking lot at Colby and Everett avenues where Midnight Grocery sits. Inside, however, is a sweet-smelling room full of barrels, buckets of honey, woodworking tools and glass bottles.
It’s a passion for Aesir Meadery’s owner, Erik Newquist, who has been in business for two years now, creating mead in-house for businesses and restaurants all over Washington. What once was Newquist’s hobby has become his career.
Newquist first tried making mead in college, just for the fun of it. He was in school for chemistry and microbiology.
He ended up really enjoying the drink, and continued to make mead while using it as a way to keep in touch with his Scandinavian heritage,
which traces back hundreds
of years. An Aesir is a member of one of the clans of Norse gods. Thor was one.
After college, Newquist had
a few jobs, but found in each job that he was lacking passion. His friends
suggested making mead his full-time gig.
“At the time there was less than 100 licensed meaderies in the U.S., and I thought, ‘that’s not a bad place to be,’” Newquist said, “so I just started going down the path.”
Now Aesir Meadery is an award winning meadery that is growing out of its small building space, due to the large demand for the drink. The business is technically considered a winery by the federal government, but because there are no grapes used in mead, everything is labeled as a “non-standard wine agricultural product.” This means the process of making mead can take months, as everything from recipes and labels have to be submitted for approval, explained Newquist.
Then, to make mead it involves a process of fermenting honey and yeast, and adding in the ingredients to create each mead’s specific flavor.
Currently, Newquist has golden plum mead, cacao nib mead and a citrus mead at the meadery. Soon he’ll be bottling coffee meads. He loves experimenting with new flavors, and is currently in search of the right syrup to make a maple mead, for one.
Last year, Aesir Meadery was a finalist in the wine category of King 5 TV’s “Best of Western Washington competition.
“I was half a percent behind Chateau Ste. Michelle ... I was in first up until the last week. But again, I’m in a garage in Everett and I just barely got beat out by a giant winery and concert venue,” Newquist
His mead has been placed in first and second in all
other competitions he has entered.
Lynnwood resident Josh Carter visited Aesir Meadery in December, and was
pleased with the hospitality he received during his visit.
“It was lightly drizzling and a bit chilly outside, but Erik’s hospitality was warming enough...It was a fantastic
and very informative experience, and I plan to return soon because I’ve run out of the elderflower mead I brought home,”Carter said.
Newquist encourages people to visit.
“Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to six, I’m always here. If the door is closed, just knock,” he said.
Once inside, visitors can sample various meads that are in the works, learn about the meadery and purchase mead if they choose. If you’re look-ing for Aesir mead elsewhere, it can be found in Everett at the Sno-Isle Natural Foods
Co-Op (2804 Grand Ave.), Brews Almighty (3011 Grand Ave.) and Wicked Cellars
wine shop (2616 Colby Ave.).
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