This week, we sat down and interviewed Ricky the Meadmaker and CEO Kelly about the second in our New Year, New Mead campaign, taking a look at Old Wayfarer.
What are some tasting notes for Old Wayfarer?
Color - Golden Brown
Aroma - Caramel, Buckwheat, Toasted Oak
Flavor - Mellow honey with notes of bourbon, vanilla, and toasted marshmallow
Closest Comparison - Bock Beer
Old Wayfarer was inspired by a beverage purportedly made in what is now Northern and central Germany from the early middle ages to the present. It was mead made with a combination of wildflower honey and a product known as Honeydew honey, which comes from the sap of pine trees. It took us a long time to find a honey that was as dark as the original, but wasn’t overly bitter. Since these meads were produced and aged in oak, we also learned how to replicate that flavor using specially designed staves of toasted American oak.Where did the name come from?
The Old Wayfarer (also translated as “The Wanderer”) is one of the many names given to Oden (or Wuotan, in Old High German) when he takes the guise of an old man traveling our world. His purpose here might be to deliver wisdom, to test our courage, or merely to keep an eye on things. Some might notice a similarity to a certain Gray Wizard, and that is no mistake. Tolkien was a huge fan of Old Norse and Germanic myths and based many of his characters on his discoveries in these texts.
The biggest thing that has changed since our first batch of Old Wayfarer is the way in which we oak the mead. For the first few batches, Ricky had to half-dangle into a dirty tank and use a special wet/dry vac to get oak chips out of the cone. (On one infamous occasion, a brewer forgot this step and started cleaning the tank, so utterly packing the CIP ball that we had to spend over an hour with a fork, screwdriver, and razor blade cleaning the chips back out.
We now use an amazing product from a father/daughter-owned cooperage which much more closely replicates barrel aging with full-length staves. It’s like putting the barrel inside of the mead, rather than mead inside of a barrel.
As with all of our meads, part of the reason we brew it this way is to make it easier for homebrewers to replicate the mead at home!
Old Wayfarer 2017 Can DesignOld Wayfarer led to one of the meadery's more intereting collaborations. Can you tell us about that?
One of the funniest things to ever come from Old Wayfarer was our friendship with Stormforged Studios! They have characters called Wayfarers in their television show, and reached out on a lark just to chat. Learn more about them here.
Old Wayfarer 2019 Can Design