Saturday, October 20
Drink Like a Viking
Mead —mankind's oldest successful attempt at turning wholesome natural products into mind-altering substances — is enjoying a resurgence. Credit Game of Thrones, maybe. But both Forbes and The New York Times have given the fermented honey beverage the nod of late as a top food trend, and artisanal meaderies are popping up all over the countryside. Among them, count Kent Waldeck's Mogadore-based Crafted Artisan Meadery, a small-batch maker of five distinct styles of honey wine. Waldeck, a marketing pro and longtime home brewer, turned to mead-making for its creative challenge. "While mead is basically fermented honey, it's an open palate," he says. "You can add any flavor you want — herbs, fruits, peppers, hops — as long as it tastes good." To ensure top flavor, Waldeck makes a point of sourcing fresh, regional ingredients: honey from a Van Wert beekeeper, cider from a Canfield orchard, and freshly picked blueberries from a grower in Michigan. "The quality of the ingredients directly translates into the quality of the mead," he says. "Ultimately, I think it's the fact that mead is a local product that is driving its resurgence." Waldeck has produced 1,200 gallons of the beverage (and gone through more than 5,000 pounds of honey) since launching his operations in June; you can buy it at his tasting room and at select retail locations listed on his website. Current offerings range from a full-bodied but delicate Tupelo Dry Mead to the sweet, spicy Apple Cyser made with local apple cider. Hop Nectar is a skillfully balanced, outrageously fragrant blend of wildflower honey and Cascade hops; the best-selling Blue Honey Melomel is a complex, semi-sweet blend of hand-crushed berries and wildflower honey aged for three months on French oak staves. All the varieties check in at a sturdy 12 percent ABV. Prices range from $25 to $29 for a standard 750-milliliter bottle. Crafted Artisan Meadery marks its grand opening today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with demos, tastings, and tours of the facility. Also on hand: Kent acoustic guitarist Jon Mosey and the JiBaro Gourmet food truck. "Mead is a unique product," says Waldeck. "Mainly, it's a new experience — and that's what people are craving." Learn more on the website.
1189 State Route 43, Mogadore, 330-628-4444, craftedmead.com
Saturday, October 20
All Hail the Ale on the Towpath Trail
If the fourth annual Cleveland Beer Week (Oct. 19 - 27) teaches us anything, it is that nearly every human activity goes better with beer. That includes tonight's bike ride along the Towpath Trail, sponsored by Century Cycles. "The 'All Hail the Ale' night ride is in tribute to the post-ride beer," explains Scott Cowan, owner of Century Cycles stores in Peninsula, Medina, and Rocky River. "It's a long and sacred tradition in bicycling that we're proud to celebrate and uphold." (Notice he said post-ride; imbibing brewskis from your bike seat is not encouraged.) The 13-mile jaunt begins at 7:30 at the store's Peninsula location. At the halfway point, staffers will be serving up pretzels, sausage, cheese, and other salty snacks — all the better to prepare you for that post-ride bash at the Peninsula Winking Lizard, where they'll be tapping an exclusive brew from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company just for the event. Adding to the merriment, riders who decorate themselves or their bikes in beer-themed costumes will be eligible for assorted prizes. The ride is free, although staffers will be collecting cash donations for the Malone Scholarship Fund, which is the official Cleveland Beer Week charity. Helmets and headlights are required, and you'll be asked to sign a waiver. Details are on the Century Cycle website. For a full calendar of other Beer Week festivities, check out the special section in this week's paper or go to clevelandbeerweek.com.
1621 Main St., Peninsula, 330-657-2209, centurycycles.com
Monday October 22
Sushi Classes at Parallax
Some of us dream of making the world's greatest sushi. The rest of us dream of eating it. Whichever camp you fall into, you can get your fix tonight at Parallax, as the Tremont restaurant launches a three-night series of sushi-making classes. For an all-inclusive $135, you'll get a trio of hands-on lessons on crafting and cutting your very own rolls. After each class, staffers will tidy up and then sit you down to a three-course prix fixe dinner, sushi and wine included. Each session begins at 6 p.m. and wraps up around 8:30 p.m. The first installment is tonight; classes continue on Oct. 29 and Nov. 5. Call the restaurant to register.
2179 West 11th St., 216-583-9999, parallaxtremont.com