Griffin Meadery is located in Willis and is owned by Felix Ho and Bruce & Bridgett Leslie. The meadery opened in January 2013 but held their grand opening of their tasting room on December 5, 2015. In the meantime, Griffin Meadery showcased their meads at farmer markets and wine festivals, and we have encountered them a couple times during the years. Now we finally had a chance to visit their tasting room.
When we arrived at the meadery, our eyes followed the paved road that led to buildings on the right so we missed the meadery located immediately on the left as you enter the complex. Returning to the meadery, we do not know how we missed it, but somehow we did.
We were greeted at the door by Bridgett Leslie who then guided us through a tasting. The meadery is a large room with tables in the middle, a nice couch seating area in one corner, a small gift shop in another corner, and the tasting bar in the rear corner.
Tastings are done while standing at the tasting bar. There is a tasting fee for five meads and you can buy a glass of mead too. If the tastings are not poured from the taps, a measured pourer is used in the uncorked bottles, and it depends on which mead in how it is served. If some of your party are not mead drinkers, non-alcoholic soda, Gatorade, and water is available for purchase. Since you are drinking mead made from honey, a nice honey stick can satisfy your appetite while tasting.
If you are not aware of what mead is, the simple explanation is it is made by adding water to honey and then fermenting it. There is archeological evidence that suggests mead is the oldest alcoholic beverage. Here’s a tidbit of information. Mead is also the source of the word “honeymoon,” which originated with the tradition of giving a bride and groom enough mead to last one month to promote fertility.
Griffin Meadery uses mostly local honey but includes two meads from outside of the state. Here are the meads that were available at the time of our visit:
- Awesome Blossom – orange blossom honey traditional mead aged in oak (dry)
- Heritage – toasty wildflower honey traditional mead (dry)
- Schokolade – 100% cacao and buckwheat honey in a dark chocolate style (dry)
- Schatzi – dark and hoppy German beer-like mead in a brown ale style (dry). This really looked like and tasted like a beer (see photo).
- Summer Schatzi – light and hoppy beer-like mead done in an IPA style (dry)
- Kindred – local wildflower honey traditional mead (semi-sweet)
- Scarlet – dark red and tart. Black currants and wildflower honey (semi-sweet).
- Limelight – fresh minty and lime done in a mojito style (semi-sweet)
- Fuego – jalapeno and wildflower honey. Hot and spicy (semi-sweet).
- Ambrosia – cinnamon, vanilla, and wildflower honey (sweet)
- Apple Melody – apple pie style with cider, spices, and wildflower honey (sweet)
In addition to glasses of mead, you can also get a growler to fill and refill with your favorite mead. As mentioned previously, there is a small gift shop available with clothing, honey, and candles. Griffin Meadery has a mead club so you can enjoy the many benefits the meadery offers to their mead club members.