There’s only one place on Long Island to quench your need for mead, and it’s in Lindenhurst.
W A Meadwerks opened at 26 West Hoffman in September as the only operating meadery in Suffolk or Nassau counties. But it isn’t the first on the island; that title belonged to Long Island Meadery in Holbrook, which is now closed.
For the uninitiated, mead is a type of wine derived from honey instead of traditional wine grapes. Mead has a vast history, with some historians dating traces of the beverage to early civilization in ancient China.
According to Meadwerks owners Joe Abruzzo and Roger Wanner, the honey base makes for a versatile alcoholic beverage.
“We can make the meads from 4 percent (alcohol by volume) to as high as 16 percent,” said Abruzzo. “Within those ranges, we can make them sweet, semi-sweet, dry, fruity, spicy, and the combination of it all.”
“The possibilities are endless,” added 57-year-old Wanner.
To make the different flavors, Abruzzo and Wanner use different ingredients, such as tea leaves, hops, pumpkin and apples. Meads also come in the still, carbonated, or naturally sparkling kind.
According to the two, the best seller in Lindenhurst has been the ResQ mead, which is 6.8 percent with a taste of strawberry and raspberry.
“Everyone loves it,” said Abruzzo, 39. “It is not too sweet; it’s got a little fruit, and you have honey and oats on it.”
the story of W A Meadwerks
W A Meadwerks founders, who are craft beer enthusiasts, stumbled upon mead nearly two years ago.
The first to experience the beverage was Abruzzo, back when a buddy offered him some.
“My friend Jesse showed up at my house with Black Agnes mead from Schramm’s Meadery in Michigan,” he said. “After the first sip, I was in awe.”
He went on to describe the sweet black currant mead to Wanner, and it was off to the races.
The two began researching and later experimenting in Wanner’s basement.
The tasty beverages they were concocting prompted the two to enter mead contests across the U.S., where they earned several first and second prize finishes.
Not long after, W A Meadwerks opened its doors in the Village of Lindenhurst.
After a successful grand opening in September, the meadery has been in steady growth mode.
“We are adding three new tanks, which will double our capacity,” said Wanner. “And we are upgrading our canning operation.”
The company has teamed up with other breweries across Long Island, including BrickHouse Brewery of Patchogue, to offer its meads on tap lines off-site.
In addition to pouring mead, the 1,200 square-foot tasting room also sells meats and cheeses.
“We wanted to create a place where people can hang out, have a few meads and enjoy themselves,” said Abruzzo.
Below are some meads offered by W A Meadwerks:
Grape Drink (6 percent): Grape flavored from Concord Grapes.
Cherry Pit o’ Misery (6.8 percent): Milkshake-styled mead with a semi-sweet taste of tart cherries and lactose.
Orange Ya Glad (12.1 percent): A traditional mead from orange blossom honey.
Is It Autumnal? (12 percent): Pumpkin spiced mead.
Three’s Company (14 percent): Tastes from blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry in the mead.
Scroll down for photos of W A Meadwerks by Nicholas Esposito.