Two Seasons Meadery Opens in South Anchorage
By Sue Todd
Two Seasons Meadery’s recent opening was an overwhelming success. Located near Dimond Blvd. on 82nd Ave., this addition to the craft-brewing scene brings something new. Mead has been sporadically available in Alaska for some time, but Anchorage has had a dearth of choices the last few years. Since Ring of Fire in Homer closed in 2012 and Celestial Meads sold to Denali Brewing in 2016, there has been limited variety in stores.
Vincent Cook, along with four partners (one silent), opened the door to Two Seasons Meadery on ¬¬Aug. 24 with a soft opening, followed by a grand opening one week later. Partner Kevin Sobolesky and Cook are the only two who live in Anchorage, and they do the bulk of the brewing. Christopher Peterson lives in Portland, and Kevin Prestegard lives in Juneau. They both perform administrative work, and assist in the taproom when they are in Anchorage.
Cook explained how the meadery came to be. “I drank mead in college,” he said. “It was my go-to. I started home brewing mead in 2016 so I could have what I wanted.”
He soon was talking with each of the partners separately about opening a meadery. He brought them all together to brainstorm in Aug. 2017. In June 2018, the dream became a plan, and Anchorage’s new meadery was on the way to being a reality.
Mead might be the first alcoholic beverage known to humans. Some say it predates both beer and wine, and it has a different nomenclature from beer or wine. It is defined as an alcoholic beverage fermented from honey and water. Mead is more than the thick, syrupy medieval drink associated with Vikings.
Mead is sometimes sweet, but it can also be semi-sweet or dry. It may be still, carbonated, or sparkling. Much of what is on tap at the meadery is Hydromel, which for the purposes of Two Seasons means less than 9% ABV. The five meads currently on tap have a broad range of flavors.
Sitka Delight, a dry Sitka spruce tip flavored methaglin (a hydromel flavored with spices or vegetables) is a surprisingly subtle and refreshing drink. Spruce tips can often overpower other flavors. However, in this mead it is perfectly balanced and has a relatively low ABV of 8.5%. Also dry, Tessarae is a Mosaic dry-hopped methaglin that might appeal to the beer drinker. It is clean and fresh tasting, without a hint of sweetness.
For the cider fan, the Cyser Soze is a delightful choice with an off-dry hint of apple. A Cyser is defined as a mead made with apples or apple juice. Included under the category of hydromel is a subcategory called melamel, generally described as a mead made from fruit. There are several subcategories of melamel, and cyser is one of them.
Meadarita is another melamel. Made with agave and lime flavors, this mead is a top seller. Mild sweetness is tempered with a slice of lime. Whether a fan of margaritas or not, one should give it a try.
The last option on the menu is the Kazamiera. With an ABV of 15.4%, it is a standard mead (over 9% ABV) that also falls under the category of methaglin. It is surprisingly drinkable, in spite of its high ABV.
The process for making mead is fairly simple. Water is heated to pasteurization temperature (180 degrees) in an induction tank, after which honey is added. The honey/water concoction is then pumped into a fermenter. Flavor may be added at this point, but not necessarily.
The mixture is cooled to room temperature before yeast is activated and pitched. Fermentation takes about two weeks, and if it was not done before, adjunct flavor may be added at this point. The flavoring will stay in the fermenter for two to seven days. Once the brew has become clear and the yeast and other particles have settled into the bottom of the fermenter, taste tests are performed to determine when it is time to be pumped into kegs.
As an alternative to kegs, Two Seasons is looking into a bottling operation in the near future. Patrons who have joined the Founders Club are guaranteed three bottles of mead per quarter, a case per year. The cost to become a founder is $250, and it also includes some free merchandise and recognition on the soon-to-be-installed wall of gratitude.
The meadery is off to a great start, and a steady stream of customers keep the bar staff busy. The servers are enthusiastic family members volunteering their time, for now, to get the meadery off to a great start. The facility has room for growth, and at the current rate, the meadery could be adding more fermenters soon. The taproom is clean and inviting with plenty of buddy bar seating, a few bar height tables, and two comfortable picnic style tables for larger groups.
Two Seasons is a welcome addition to the Spirits, Beer, and Cider bike tour map, and those who feel they need to “work” for their pour will find it conveniently close to the King Street group of tap rooms.
Cook encourages folks to check out the meadery to see what it’s all about. Mead has much more opportunity for nuance than other products, and there is surely something on tap for everyone.
Two Seasons Meadery
801 E 82nd Ave Unit D-3, Anchorage
Thur.-Fri. 4-8 p.m., Sat. 12-8 p.m., Sun. 2-6 p.m.
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