One of many nice unsung tales in native meals and beverage is how a lot downtown Phoenix drink tradition has grown in simply the previous few years.
Large leaps ahead have been made with openings like Sauvage (natural-leaning wines), Little Rituals (erudite, imaginative cocktails), The Theodore (tightly curated craft beer bar), and Arizona Wilderness DTPHX (brewing mastery from staple types to experimental beers). Subsequent month, the scene is ready to spring forward even additional, and with a drink which may set Phoenix aside: mead.
Sure, mead. The “honey wine.” The boozy fluid straight out of Beowulf and King Midas and Viking longships. Mead has a nasty rap in U.S. consuming circles, one which in some ways has been earned. Most mead is cloying and greets your tongue with all of the tenderness of a sledgehammer fabricated from sugar cubes. However wide-ranging Arizona craft drinkers know that mead may be restrained and eye-widening, identical to beer or wine or sake.
Superstition Meadery — primarily based in Prescott and a neighborhood craft favourite — is quickly to debut a big indoor-outdoor restaurant and mead vacation spot. Jeff and Jen Herbert, co-owners, are slated to open within the lavishly restored Jim Ong’s Market constructing at 11th and Washington streets, or particularly 1110 West Washington Road, subsequent month.
“Our mission assertion is to reintroduce the world’s oldest beverage to mankind,” Jeff says.
Since opening in 2012, after they rented 18 sq. ft from a Cranium Valley vineyard in central Arizona, the Herberts have been doing simply that, having crafted greater than 300 meads. Some spotlight the soul of the traditional beverage, honey, together with wildflower, mesquite, ironwood, and different honeys, all sourced from Arizona till this yr (as newly launched canned “session meads” use Brazilian honey). Different Superstition meads sculpt and bend honey’s flavors by way of methods like including fruits and spices, or barrel ageing. Simply this fall, Superstition gained six medals on the Mazer Cup, a world mead competitors — probably the most of any meadery.
In a method, Superstition Downtown will shift the Arizona meadery’s public-facing locus to metro Phoenix, the place the Herberts went to grad faculty (at ASU), and the place Jeff labored as a firefighter, commuting from Prescott in recent times till retiring in December 2019.
“We’ve got extra prospects in Phoenix than anyplace else on the planet,” Jeff says. “Although we have now distribution in 26 states and to dozens of nations, virtually everybody that is aware of about our firm lives in Phoenix. And never simply the Valley, however Phoenix particularly.”
Mead fermenting in onsite demijohns.
Superstition Downtown will seat some 120 individuals, characteristic a wide-ranging mead-and-food pairing program, and have some 35 Superstition drinks when the doorways open. A few of these will run by means of the 24 faucets of the lengthy, polished, L-shaped bar topped with wooden salvaged from the splintery wake of a west-of-Flagstaff twister. Many of the 24 faucets will dispense meads, however some will pour ciders. (One Superstition cider, Blueberry Spaceship Field, is the world’s top-rated flavored cider on RateBeer.)
The brand new downtown drinkery has a pitched ceiling of uncovered wooden and rafters and, over an open kitchen, a decrease overhang of ancient-looking-but-new tin. There’s a lounge space of upholstered chairs and an ample patio outdoors. The wide-open kitchen will end up a full restaurant menu, a lot from a wood-fired grill.
This meals, eclectic and geographically diversified, pulls from the Heberts’ world travels. Superstition has taken them throughout. Their meads have been poured in locations like Spain, Thailand, Japan, and a Michelin-starred restaurant in Norway.
Superstition Downtown will likely be, Jeff claims, the “solely mead-and-food-pairing idea on the planet.” Adolfo Heredia, greatest identified for a future as head chef at Tuck Store, will captain the kitchen. The menu will include many steered mead pairings. Meals-wise, there will likely be a tapas menu and a fuller menu. Starter boards laden with many small bites will include, if you would like, many mead pairings.
Superstition’s mead will nonetheless be crafted in Prescott, at a web site faraway from the Courthouse Sq. tasting room. The exception: a number of potion-looking demijohns on cabinets alongside one uncovered brick wall, honey-light or darkly opaque meads-in-progress of absorbing flavors from oak spirals and chile peppers, fruits and coconut chips.
“We use entire fruit,” Jeff says. “We freeze fruit with liquid nitrogen. We use fruit juice. We use all totally different sorts of barrels, all totally different sorts of yeast. We don’t restrict ourselves to any explicit forms of components or course of. We’ll use something accessible to make the absolute best mead.”
That has meant spending $500 per pound on Tahitian vanilla or procuring small-batch bursage honey. It has resulted in meads like Peanut Butter Jelly Crime, which takes the sandwich’s precise flavors, or Berry White, a raspberry-and-white-chocolate mead that has scored a Mazer Cup gold medal, a mead thought-about top-of-the-line anyplace.
Upon opening, many Superstition drinks will likely be accessible for takeout and restricted supply. Superstition will even be releasing its first wine, an orange wine of orange muscat and sauvignon blanc grapes.
5 meads that simply medaled on the Mazer Cup in Denver.
No matter mead’s perceptions, the downtown Phoenix drink scene is about to get a honey-flavored jolt when Superstition Downtown opens. Not too long ago, this scene has advanced in so many instructions. The following rung ought to carry Phoenix into really new territory.