JARED’S NOTE: One of my favorite craft beer finds isn’t beer at all. The B. Nektar Meadery from produces a first-rate range of meads and ciders from its home in Ferndale, Mich., just outside of Detroit. The Wife and I happen to love their work and Al Dente is devoting this week to reviewing the meadery’s six year-round offerings.
My friend Mike and I were at the opening of the Syracuse World of Beer two or so years ago when we first encountered the Zombie Killer. The deal was that your first two or three draught beers were free, as was the food. They charged for bottles and cans of Bud Light and Michelob Ultra for the guests that didn’t understand why there were there. Mike leans to the darker beers and I to the lighter, but this was the middle ground we both dove into at the urging of the bartender.
The In-Laws were able to procure one or two during their southward trip but it was largely out of my grasp here in Syracuse until one day I was at the Byrne Dairy in Liverpool. There it was, a shelf full of Zombie Killer. I bought the six bottles and rationed them, sharing a couple with Mike but hogging them for myself.
The Zombie Killer occasionally makes appearances at Byrne Dairy, Party Source and Sam The Beer Man in Binghamton. I don’t see it as often at World of Beer, but as the manager explained to me, there is a reason. It’s all New York’s fault. You see, B. Nektar is considered wine in the eyes of New York State, so it is imported differently. It’s sold just like cider and beer, but the receiving the distribution is a product of the bureaucratic garbage that continues to suppress the proliferation of craft beer in the Empire State. (According to Seek A Brew, 301 breweries distribute in New York. By comparison, Illinois is first at 410.)
By definition, Zombie Killer is a cyser; an apple- and honey-based mead fermented with spices. B. Nektar gets crazy and adds cherry for extra tartness. The result is a well-balanced blend of sweet, tart and dryness, almost like a cross between a honeycrisp apple and a cherry. It’s the gateway to the rest of the range. There’s not a lot of carbonation so it is quite light in feel and volume, but the flavor is bold.
B. Nektar Meadery Zombie Killer
Container: 500mL bottle
Price: $6.99 Point of Purchase: Steamer’s Basin Trading Company, Bushnell’s Basin, N.Y.
To The Eye: Pink and clear. The light carbonation adds a lacing that goes away quite quickly.
To The Nose: Tart cherry and apple scents.
To The Palate: It his sweet and tart, the combination of the three major ingredients. Light in body and mouthfeel. Very balanced in terms of flavors.
Aftertaste: Clean and crisp like a dry apple cider.
The Wife Factor: She likes this. Often times, I’m forced to share with her. I don’t like sharing.
Boozy Factor: Moderate.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 9