New Year, New Mead: Valkyrie's Choice

This week, we sat down and interviewed Ricky the Meadmaker about the next in our New Year, New Mead campaign. Here's a look at Valkyrie's Choice.

 

What are the tasting notes for VC?

Color - Straw Yellow

Aroma - Wildflowers, Grass, Earthy

Flavor - Floral, citrus, light lingering honey

Closest Comparison - A gewurztraminer

 

How did VC come to be?

Before we ever sold our first can, we knew that we wanted a straight mead (a mead with only honey, water, and yeast) in our lineup. We actually launched with two of them, Mannaz and Valkyrie’s Choice, with Mannaz being a lower ABV, funkier mead. Valkyrie’s Choice, however, was so incredibly popular that we actually discontinued Mannaz (will we bring it back, who knows???) and made it our flagship.

Concept sketches for the original Valkyrie’s Choice logo by John Stanhope, 2013.
How did you pick the name Valkyrie’s Choice?

In Norse mythology, or at least the small pieces of it that we have records of, the valorous slain are divided into two groups with half being led to Valhalla by the Valkyries. (Bet you didn’t know that half of them go to Freyja in Folkvangr. And those are just the valorous, let’s not even get into where everyone else goes.*)

In Valhalla,the warriors are welcomed with endless battle, ham, and flagons of mead. We couldn’t imagine that these Winged Women of Battle wouldn’t grab a pint before heading back down to scour the fields of the slain once more.


*For more on the import of Folkvangr… ummmmmm… go back in time 1,100 years and ask someone. We really don’t know much.

Original Valkyrie’s Choice label, 2013
Valkyrie’s Choice is one of the oldest meads that Groennfell produces. How has it changed since its creation?

As a straight mead, Valkyrie’s Choice has changed every time we have switched to a new honey; it even changes a bit throughout the year and year-to-year as forage for the bees changes. We have also played around with different yeasts and fermentation temperatures. For a while, Valkyrie’s Choice had an almost winey character from our fermentation temps, but Meadiacs thought that we were losing some of the honey profile, so we dialed the temperature back a bit.

Original art for the current Valkyrie’s Choice label features the fields of Valhalla. By Erik Benepe

 

Legends speak of a 9.2% VC, and of course the Oak VC. Are there plans for either of these to come back? Can you tell us a little about them?The 9.2% Valkyrie’s was the original strength, but due to a 100-year-old law, we can’t package it for sale outside of Vermont, so we brought it down to 6.9% and called it Valkyrie’s Choice for Export.

Oaked VC… depending on when you’re reading this, look for some exciting news in the next few weeks.

For a brief time in 2016 and 2017, the Valkyrie’s Choice can sported this Valkyrie helmet, drawn by Erik Benepe.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about VC?
What we have learned from Valkyrie’s Choice has informed everything about our brewing. There is nothing more terrifying or more edifying than knowing that you are working with nothing other than honey, water, yeast, temperature, and time.

 

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