The Midwest certainly has its fair share of meaderies. I’m terribly fond of my most local one–New Day Craft down in Indianapolis–but my absolute favorite is Mogadore, Ohio’s Crafted Artisan Meadery. About an hour south of Cleveland (two and a half north west of Pittsburgh), a visit to Crafted would be an easy detour for anyone interested in visiting the Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft and Magick. And it would be well worth it if you want to try mead created by a master in the most creative flavors imaginable.
One of those fantastically imaginative brews is their Bananas Foster Forever, clearly inspired by the dessert Bananas Foster, which takes bananas and vanilla ice cream, drenches them in a sauce of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liquer, then sets it all on fire. It is a dramatic dessert, and Crafted’s description of their mead is no less dramatic:
It is said that once, long before the Birds and the Bees, there was the Banana and the Bee. The rowdy Banana came from the wrong side of the tracks, so it was instantly a scandalous relationship. Things were hot for a while, practically a flambé. Their love didn’t last long, though, as it was steeped in good times and a heavy dose of a certain Caribbean libation. After the flames settled settled they decided it would be best to stay BFF’s.
And oh my goodness is this session mead good. It is a bright gold in the glass, pours fizzy, and retains some light carbonation after the pour. It doesn’t whack you over the head with banana, though the scent is there. It’s strongly tempered with vanilla and molasses, with coffee and cinnamon lingering.
But when you drink it, well…my first impression was of eating a banana split. That first swallow is very much ‘fruit’ and maraschino with a background of vanilla, butterscotch, and Hershey’s chocolate syrup. But when you swallow it transforms into banana, rum, and coffee and finishes with aftertaste of buttered toast. It is surprisingly amazing, and very drinkable without feeling like you’ve become a diabetic afterwards. Is it going to charm the pants off of an oenophile? No. Is it damn delicious? Hell yeah.
Most of Crafted’s creative mead are limited brews, and when I had my first bottle of Bananas Foster Forever, I actually mourned the fact that it would soon leave my life. But then I heard that it won the silver medal in the 2017 Mazer Cup International Mead Competition for sweet session meads, and it got promoted to being a year-round offering. So that means I can enjoy this brew for at least a few years to come. Huzzah!