Wednesday, February 7, 2024

White Bear Meadery Sima

My quest to find non-alcoholic things these days is hitting a fever pitch. I want to try all the non-alcoholic things (except you kombucha). Literally all of them. But one thing I never thought I'd ever see was non-alcoholic mead. I mean, non-alcoholic mead is just honey water, right? At least that's what I thought until I stumbled across a post on Instagram about White Bear Meadery and their, surprise surprise, N/A mead called Sima. Based on a Finnish drink, this stuff is a spiced, citrused mead with NO ALCOHOL. I was sold theoretically but I had to be sold physically too, so I hurried on over to their website to try and get some cans. I put in an order for two cans, paid them, and waited for delivery. What I received was 26 cans (a 24 pack and my two cans). Whoops.

There was, naturally, an error in shipping and, after telling them that I'd pay for the excess that got mis-shipped to the wrong address, they told me just to keep them. It was around this time that I started noticing some...inconsistencies with the cans. Some were full to the point of bulging, some were underfilled. It wasn't until I was woken up by a loud pop at night that the trouble began. I went into the kitchen the next morning to see that a can of the Sima had failed at the top can seam line and...blown open. Guess they were overpressured for a reason. Now, I'm not saying this to slander White Bear Meadery. Not at all. It's just a precautionary tale, really. You see, here's what I figured. You have a sugar laden, unfermented mead being put into cans, potentially on the same line as normal mead. This means cross-contamination of yeast (from the fermented mead) into the non-fermented cans, causing them to, in essence, ferment in the can. Hence the loud pops and the cans opening at the seams; the overpressure of fermentation caused them to pop. Much like over-dosed bottles of beer, these things happen. I just found it interesting that it could still happen when the thing ISN'T EVEN FERMENTED.

But enough of the diatribe about neat science-y things. How exactly WAS the stuff? Well, let's take a look at a few photos first and then dive into the tasting notes.


Nose: nose is all sweetness and candy. Massive lashings of fresh honey and citrus with a clove undertone that belies some of what's to come. It's rich and heady with no hint of alcohol whatsoever to balance what could be a very sweet drink. Some vanilla comes through too, though I'm not sure what it's from.

Taste: A blast of honey, fresh and wild, coats the tongue. As this fades, the spice mix comes in, clove and ginger in turns. The carbonation is gentle and provides a good balance to the sweetness. For something that doesn't have the hallmarks of a classic mead to balance it out...the balance on this is quite nice. It's not too honey heavy, not too citrus focused, and not too browbeating with the herb mix.

Overall, a VERY refreshing quaff with no frills about it; it's not trying to be a mead you cellar as I don't think it'd be good cellared as the brightness of it will fade very quickly. Most times I find myself not reaching for my Glencairn to taste it as it's fine as it is (and loses nothing) from just drinking it straight from the can. You get the unctuous honey qualities that flit around with lemon and lime (peels and maybe juice) that bless it with citrus kick that then folds into a wonderfully Christmas-y bouquet of clove, maybe a little nutmeg, and some good ginger to boot. I doubted the semi-dry nomenclature at first but I'll be damned if it truly does drink semi-dry, at least for a mead. A fantastic drink...if you can deal with the problems I dealt with with aplomb and grace. These things are like hand grenades of deliciousness: always ready to pop at a moment's notice.

ADDENDUM: Naturally, the people at White Bear Meadery were not happy with my comments and I can see why. Allow me to explain and rewrite some of this.

When I do tasting notes, I write them into Blogger first, then write an ending that I intend to replace later. This time I didn't do it and I regret that. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age, maybe I'm just more empathetic, I dunno. But I will amend this with this statement. This stuff is good, VERY good. I've talked with them about the problems and let them know months ago so this shouldn't be a problem again. I highly recommend you TRY their mead because if it's as good as the Sima is, then you're in for a treat. I didn't mean this post to be as slanderous as it came out to be and I apologize for my lack of editing and judgement. I really need to hire an editor but, for the time being, it's only me editing these things and when I get into the nitty gritty of things I'm passionate about, it can come off misconstrued. I will endeavor to be better. Seriously, go buy some Sima. It's a great mead despite what happened.