Saturday, June 27, 2015

Back to reality

My vacation officially ended yesterday. Sure we packed up and had to check out by noon today, but we got back and put everything away, so that doesn't count. 
The dog was happy, even overjoyed, to see us. I can't say I've seen him do a happy dance with such enthusiasm before. We're settling back into things and there's tomorrow to acclimate before I head out into the 'real' world.
One of the things that make a vacation for me is doing something unexpected and outside your routine. My buddy and I went on a wine tasting tour of the Hill Country. Others in my family are bigger wine drinkers than I am, but I can appreciate quality.
Our first stop was actually a day or two before the wine tour officially kicked off. (See? There's that unexpected and outside the routine I talked about.) When stuff like that happens, just go with the flow.
The flow, in this case was Blue Lotus Winery. Our reason for the visit? They are one of the handful of wineries to make mead.
Here's the list. Sweet strawberry mead that tastes like jam. Light and crisp peach mead. We got to talking to the brew master. I had a few questions for him on how I could improve my brewing skills. After trading stories he disappears in back, returning with a glass of dark amber liquid. 'I want you to try this, it's not on the menu.'
Oooh, an experimental flavor! How cool. The sweetness of honey combined with the bitterness of hops. That's right. He made a mead and then proceeded to brew it as if it were a beer. Wonderful flavors hit my tongue and left me stunned. Now here's the lesson I've been trying to learn when brewing: Patience.
The stuff I make is all well and good, but there is something in the aging process that improves the flavor. We're talking three to five years. On the bottle it suggests the mead ages well over ten years. I don't know if I can wait that long.
On the bottom of that last link is one called the Necromancer. No arguing about it, the price is steep, but what do you get? Aged in oak barrels and caramel flavors reminded me of single malt scotches, but without the burning down your throat. We also walked away with some apple cyser that was on tap. It was such a hit we went back the next day and got three more bottles. That made the tubing down the river much better.
Tomorrow I'll post about the other wineries and places I visited.

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