VESTA: The Fire-Flavored Mead

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Gwynne Spencer reports: "Mead was the first wine" is the motto of Bacchus Meadery.  Their new Vesta Mead takes on a unique red chile flavor that fires up your brain and taste buds. Named after Vesta, the goddess of the fire, this delightfully light and spicy mix of honey and whole red chiles is not sweet, as are many meads. Made only with pure Colorado honey from Mad Hava hives in Lyons, Colorado, and using an ancient formula of water, honey, and yeast, mead-making brothers Jason and Adam Kittel will soon begin taking orders for bottles and cases of Vesta as soon as they get this new flavor federally approved for their small meadery in Loveland, Colorado.

"Mead has always been linked with love, and so we located in Loveland," Jason admits. Mead was traditionally the drink for a month after marriage, to assure fertility and sons (thus the word  "honeymoon"). While Bacchus Meads take a little longer for birthing (4 months), they still have a delicate, non-sweet, non-cloying light clean taste, not chunky like some meads. The red chile flavor is unique to Bacchus.

"Now drink it just the way I tell you," advises Jason in his chile-red toga. "A little taste on your tongue, another little taste on the back of your tongue… shoot the rest of it all in one gulp and feel it on the back of your throat." An early morning taste-tester at the Mancos Renaissance Faire on June 28th smiles broadly, "Ahhhh…..mead for breakfast. It’s what America needs." The heat in the mead comes from fresh whole red peppers resting in the mead, "like little tongues of fire." It lives up to its name, Vesta, whose sacred flames were kept alive for thousands of years.

At about $15 a bottle plus shipping (about $7), Vesta will be a great fall gift for balloonists and Bacchanalias. On their website, here, you’ll also find: Stator, made from a very traditional mix of clover and wildflower honey; Priapus, a smoky sweet vanilla-and-maple mead made using a Celestial Seasonings tea; Cupid, with a bright "make you happy in the morning" cherry flavor with a dry start and a tart finish; Bellona, made with agave nectar begs for a sliced lime as an alternative to margaritas; Venus, an almond-tinged mead; Slascha, chocolate-spiced to warm your winter bones, and of course, Vesta, the chile-powered mead.

The Bacchus Boys will be offering taste testings at Castle Rock Wine Festival (July 25th), Palisade Pirate Festival (August 21), Breckenridge Wine Festival (September 5) and Colorado Mountain Wine Festival (September 19th). They are hoping to make it to this year’s Fiery Foods show, too. For more information, call (303) 552-1987 or e-mail here.

Gwynne Spencer writes from her secret rebel base by the Mancos River under the watchful brow of Mesa Verde. Reach her here

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