These photos were taken Thursday evening at Great Society Cider & Mead in Long Beach when they held another in their continuing series of “Meet the Maker”; where cider and mead aficionados get an opportunity to meet the owners behind the cideries and meaderies that produce the brews that are the primary focus of Great Society Cider & Mead. Thursday evening’s event featured Michael Fairbrother, founder of the world renowned Moonlight Meadery.
The evening was broken up in two sections; the first was open to the public and everyone was able to enjoy a Moonlight flight or any of ciders and mead that completed the 20 tap list while chatting with Fairbrother. It was obvious that many people had come from as far away as the San Diego area for the opportunity to speak with him. Some people just wanted to tell Fairbrother how much they enjoy his product while others brought samples and came with questions on the process when it comes to making cider or [especially] mead. The second portion of the evening was a private event featuring five pours of various Moonlight products paired with specific appetizers.
Great Society Ciders & Mead founder Otto Radtke introduced Fairbrother to the group, stating that when he heard Fairbrother was coming back to Southern California to do another collaboration with Smog City Brewing he knew there was no way they could not hold an event featuring Moonlight Meadery, but they would also have food pairings so new fans of craft cider and mead could experience how they can complement each other.
Fairbrother told us about how he worked at a software consulting company and was a homebrewer when he discovered cysers, ciders and mead; it was not long before he tried his hand at making mead and started entering them in competitions. Fairbrother comes across as a pretty confident guy, but I get the impression that he was a little surprised when his mead consistently won. It was not long before he considered moonlighting as a brewer; hence the name Moonlight Meadery.
Moonlight started off in Fairbrother’s garage and on July 7th 2010 he released his first bottles of mead; they sold out in a day, and he quit his day job the next day. Fairbrother was quick to give credit to Surly Brewing Company founder, Omar Ansari who, when he heard that Fairbrother was going to moonlight making mead, asked him how he could possibly do something he loved “part-time.”
The food pairing was pretty interesting; it definitely was not something that would come naturally to me.
We started off with Them Little Apples, a 6.5% cider that was paired with prosciutto and Stilton blue cheese. This was followed up with Moonlight’s Blood Moon Mead which was made with blood oranges; at 11% we were just getting warmed up. This was paired with a shrimp skewer and the flavors worked really well together.
Our next course featured Moonlight’s Desire Mead, a blend of blueberries, black cherries and black currants. At 16.7% this was a delicious and boozy concoction that went amazingly well with the Clove Mascarpone Crostini it was served with.
We then moved on to Fling, a strawberry and rhubarb mead that was not as tart as you might expect with rhubarb and/or strawberry and it paired nicely with the filet mignon skewers. For dessert we were treated to Kurt’s Apple Pie cyser that was paired with cheesecake with compote. While the cheesecake was nice, the Kurt’s Apple Pie was outstanding and really did taste exactly how you would expect a 14% ABV apple pie to taste.
This was a very fun event and I would suggest that if you are interested in cider and mead, or want to be, you should visit Great Society Cider & Mead and you should probably follow them on Facebook as I am confident they will have more of these pairings in the future. Great Society Cider & Mead is located at 601 E Broadway in Long Beach.
If you enjoy mead and do not see it at your favorite bottle shop or restaurant, Fairbrother asks that you simply ask for it; his experience has shown that if enough people ask, stores and restaurants start carrying it. Cheers!
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