Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Bløm Meadworks opens this Saturday

Bløm Meadworks, Ann Arbor's first meadery is opening this Saturday at Noon. It's located at 100 S 4th Ave on the first floor of the Courthouse Square apartment building. I went to undergrad with Lauren Bloom, who co-owns the meadery with her husband Matt Ritchey. They were kind enough to grant me an interview and give me a tour last Friday.

Matt labeling cans of mead. 

Matt cut his teeth as the head brewer at Chicago's Begyle Brewing. While he was brewing though, he discovered he was allergic to gluten. Bløm Meadworks is a way for Matt to maintain his love of brewing without poisoning himself with gluten. His experience brewing definitely shows in the quality of mead Bløm is producing. The mead at Bløm is quite good and made from Michigan honey, which is pretty cool. There are plans in the works to make some smaller batches with honey from Washtenaw County.

Bløm offers a simple menu. In addition to mead, they have coffee, tea and a rotating cheese plate.

Mead is pretty simple to make as far as alcohol goes. You take honey, mix it with warm water and wine yeast and let it sit for a while and you've got mead. From that simple recipe though, you can create a wide range of different flavors. Because the ingredients are not boiled before fermentation, a lot of the volatiles from the honey are preserved in the end product. Bløm specializes in session meads, which have an ABV closer to that of beer rather than wine. Bløm's meads are dry to semi-dry and range from 6.2% to 6.4% ABV. I sampled two on my visit and they were both delicious. The first one I tried was the Hopped, which as the name suggests is a lightly hopped mead. It was nice and crisp with a bitterness that was not overpowering. It had a really nice floral finish somewhat reminiscent of goldenrod. The second mead I tried was the Spring Gin, which is brewed with the Ann Arbor Distilling Company's botanicals that are left after the distilling process. The Spring Gin mead was very light and crisp and had a subtle lavender finish. I expected it to have a very strong juniper flavor, and was pleasantly surprised at how well the flavors were balanced. I think it's the perfect thing to drink on a nice spring night.

All of the fermenters at Bløm are named after old family dogs.

Another exciting thing about Bløm is that it has the potential to really liven up the streetscape in a slower corner in downtown. The areas just one block north and one block south are pretty vibrant. Bløm gives will give people a reason to hang out on this stretch of 4th Ave and might bring some life to the area. There are also two more commercial spaces available on the first floor of Courthouse Square (the old Performance Network space) and if those get rented as well, we could really see this part of downtown change.

Cans of mead waiting to be labeled. 

1 comment:

  1. Arbormoon, the mobile software firm that currently has space at 123 N Ashley, is moving into the western most space at Courthouse Square along Huron. Obviously an office user so not as much of a block enhancer but Huron is tough.