Monday, March 9, 2009

Marvelous Mead!

Did you know?

Tradition held that giving a bridal couple a "moons" worth of honey-wine or mead would ensure a fruitful union.

What do you get when three chemical engineers from the Oak Ridge National Security Complex get together and pool resources to pursue their collective favorite hobby? Some marvelous mead. Yes mead.

For those who haven’t visited a renaissance fair in the last 20 years, mead is a type of honey wine.It’s thought to be the oldest alcoholic drink known to man and many ancient cultures believed it possessed magical properties. But John Cosgrove, Hal Jennings, and Bill Chase, partners in Tennessee’s first and only meadery, Anderson County’s Shady Grove, while dedicated to reviving the ancient Magic of Mead,” take a scientific and well practiced approach to their craft, relying on both tradition and innovation when it suits their needs. Every bottle of Shady Grove mead is hand-crafted and their sparkling meads are bottle-fermented using traditional Methode Champenoise, yet modern state of the art equipment helps them along the way.

What began as a labor of love for these three friends has turned into a full fledged business. It takes a lot of time, effort, attention and resources to make mead. Fifty gallons of raw unfiltered honey goes into every 250 gallons and it takes 6 to 8 weeks for the 1st fermentation; 4 months overall.

Not surprisingly, Shady Grove’s sparkling meads are popular libations at many a renaissance wedding, and they provide a refreshing change of pace to traditional sparkling wines at any celebration. Not overly sweet, the honey provides a nice soft undertone to offset the grapes that are added to the honey water before fermenting.

You’ll find many varieties of “Melomels” or fruit flavored meads in both sparkling and still varieties at Shady Grove. If you plan on visiting the area, you can stop in to the meadery’s modern tasting room and sample all the varieties of mead produced there. More often than not you’ll find John, Hal and/or Bill behind the bar , spreading their enthusiasm for mead and answering curious questions from their guests. Be sure to call or visit the website first, as they’re not open every day.

If you can’t make it to the tasting room, check out their website for information on where to buy Shady Grove retail and which restaurants are including it on their menus.

Click here to access our full feature on things to do and see in Oak Ridge/Anderson County, Tennessee.


Shady Grove Meadery is located at 709 Norris Freeway in Lake City, Tennessee 37769. Phone 865-426-4900 or click to

For more information about visiting the Oak Ridge area in general, visit the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau website at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave us a comment