Interview by Dalia Colón
Brian Wing shares his passion for local mead making at Green Bench Mead and Cider. He is excited about the growing rediscovery of mead and readily shares the history of this ancient beverage. The bees that are kept at Green Bench travel around St. Petersburg, Florida and Pinellas County to collect wild pollen from sources, like palmettos, mangroves and flowers.
Green Bench Brewing Company is a St. Petersburg, Florida craft brewery and in 2015, they expanded their label to include Green Bench Mead and Cider. Brian Wing, the founder of the division, talks with Dalia about the mead movement and how meaderies are growing thanks to pop culture appearances, like in Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.
Did you know that Green Bench has its own apiary? It’s a sure-fire way to ensure that the honey is real and hyper-local. Brian shares how the honey mead changes based on what the bees collect, so as the season changes and flowers and crops grow, the flavor is impacted by the pollen collected. Orange blossom flowers, palmetto, mangrove, and other wild flowers that are two to three miles from the Green Bench apiary can be tasted as notes in Green Bench’s mead. “It’s a time capsule,” noted Dalia.
Brian talks about the history of this ancient beverage, the economics of honey and how quality ingredients matter to the taste of mead. Mead tastings can be hyper local or mead brewers can get experimental by importing honey where bees collected pollen from other regions. Mead tasting can be similar to a wine tasting as there are various floral and fruit notes, sugar content, and even tannins.