HOMER - At the Ring of Fire Meadery in Homer, it’s all about zymurgy; that’s the art and science of fermentation.
“Brewing stuff is kind of fun. Coming up with different flavors and adding fruit to come up with these interesting combinations,” said Eric Clarke, who calls himself a zymurgist.
It’s not beer they’re brewing or wine they’re whipping up… it’s mead. Alcohol made from honey.
“We not only utilize raw, unpasturized honeys that we get directly from beekeepers we know personally, but we're using fruits and berries either grown or wild, crafted here in Kachemak Bay to flavor some of our varieties,” said manager Beth Carroll.
If you’ve never heard of a meadery you’re not alone. Managers say while Ring of Fire has been around for eight years, meaderies are relatively new to the scene.
“Meaderies in the United States are kind of like microbreweries in the 1980s. People were starting small breweries instead of the large scale ones and meaderies throughout the US are doing the exact same thing and people are starting to rediscover meads,” said Clarke.
“I like to tell people mead is technically the oldest alcoholic beverage on the planet. We were making meads accidentally when we lived in caves. But it's now undergoing a renaissance period,” said Carroll.
It’s nothing new for locals. In fact, meads are a must-have for many.
“I loved mead growing up and I'm such a beer person, but mead is such a wonderful, sweet alternative for me,” said Homer resident Lauren Bell.
While the honey adds a touch of sweetness, meads range from dry to dessert and Ring of Fire says there’s something for everyone.
The company only makes about 500 cases a year so most of the reserve bottles are only sold at the tasting room in Homer. Some are available at stores and restaurants around the state.