Even casual beer drinkers in San Diego have probably heard of the annual Great American Beer Festival, otherwise known as GABF. Every year, local brewers earn multiple medals at the festival’s competition.
In the world of mead, the closest GABF equivalent is the Bloomfield, Colorado-based Mazer Cup, which is an international competition for home and commercial mead makers. This past weekend, local operation Lost Cause Meadery earned a silver medal for its Devilish Grin mead, becoming the first commercial Southern California mead makers to medal.
“Devilish Grin was made for our grand opening party. Since then, it’s been one of the top sellers in the tasting rooms,” said Billy Beltz, co-founder and mead maker.
Currently on tap and also available in bottles, Devilish Grin was entered in the competitive “open category” of semi-sweet wares. “It’s basically a catch-all for a lot of different meads that don’t fit into other specific categories,” he said. Lost Cause is located in San Diego’s Miralani Makers District.
This commercial mead, made with tart cherries and black pepper, is a twist on one that Beltz used to make as an amateur; that mead also medalled in the Mazer Cup’s home competition. Three more of Lost Cause’s current meads, Zydeco Buzz with coffee and chickory; FresYes with Fresno, Chipotle, and Ancho peppers; and the oak-aged Buck It All all received medals as home-made meads, and they all utilize locally-sourced buckwheat blossom honey.
FYI: Mead is a centuries-old alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops et al.