Mead, under its definition by the state of CT, is wine made from honey, water, and yeast. An ancient form of alcohol, this rich beverage is typically associated with Vikings. Despite that, Talon Bergen (owner of Bergen House Meadery & Taproom) jokes, they do not plan on wearing horned helmets in the taproom any time soon! In preparation for his new meadery, Talon chose to stick to the art of brewing rather than dress-up gimmicks. This adherence to an artistic vision stems from nearly a decade of homebrewing, and a desire to bring something fun and creative to Middletown’s North End.
The Story Behind the Mead
Talon first started getting into mead when he ran out of beers to have his wife, Emilie, sample. “People kept telling her that she, ‘just hadn’t tried the right beer yet,’” Talon told me during our interview last week, “But I assured them that she had tried all of them!” Being a serious homebrewer, Talon wanted to share his love of alcoholic beverages with Emilie. After exhausting nearly every beer style, all it took was a gifted bottle of mead for inspiration to strike. Talon found the style fascinating. He was also shocked that almost no one was offering it on tap yet. The final piece of the puzzle clicked in when Emilie tried and actually loved the mead that Talon had brewed up! A clear vision emerging, he set to work on his plans for a local meadery & taproom.
Building the Mead Menu
Flash forward to now. With some winning recipes created, Talon is eager to share his love of mead with the community. Taking a firm philosophy of respecting the integrity of the liquid and keeping it as natural as possible, Talon plans on launching his meadery with around eight varieties. These include ginger, single source, minty or tea-based, a bochet (more on that in a bit), hopped, and fruit-based mead. The bochet is one variety that Talon is eager to perfect. Traditionally you need to boil honey in a kettle over a wood fire for many hours to make this heady variety. Putting a spin on this will take some modification to take it indoors, but Talon is confident he can pull it off!
In this vein of trying new things, Emilie and he are currently taking a honey sommelier class. At first sticking with wildflower and orange blossom honey, this class has introduced them to many new types of honey. Inspired, they plan to use some of these exotic flavors to bring an even further depth of flavor to their mead. This means new taste experiences for even the most veteran beer & cider drinkers.
Bergen House will be located next door to Perkatory in Middletown’s North End. Aesthetically, they are aiming for an open and clean layout with all their meads on draught (just like any other brewery). The meadery will feature games, places for people to hang out, and even an outdoor patio for drinking. Though it is still very early days, the estimated soft opening is slated for December, with the full open in January.
Besides mead, they want to feature some beer eventually as well. Other future plans involve live entertainment. This may include Bob Ross paint nights (run by artists certified in Ross’ style), music, and running clubs. Basically, the Bergen’s told me, building community is their guiding factor. They are in favor of paying their employees living wages and they will be donating 1% of gross profits to local charities. As Talon put it, “We exist to enrich our community, we just happen to also make great mead.”
To find out more information about Bergen House, follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Also, follow me on Facebook and Instagram as I’ll be posting up my thoughts on a few of their meads later this week. As usual, if you have a place you want me to check out, drop a line here, and until then I’ll see you where the pints live!