By Maggie Nelson
When thinking of mead, it’s likely your thoughts are filled with images of thirsty, slobbering Vikings sitting around a rustic table. However, Nick and Phillip Lorenz, two Corvallis locals with a passion for quality brewing and agriculture, intend to create an entirely different idea. These brothers, the founders of Nectar Creek Honeywine, have been producing Nectar Creek Session Meads since September of 2012. They are working to “bring mead to the masses,” as Phillip puts it, and are doing just that with their approachable, easy-drinking, clean, dry, and refreshing mead.
Mead is often credited with vaulting humanity from the dark of the caves to the enlightenment of culture. Fermented honey water has more depth than its simple ingredients would suggest.
Phillip worked primarily with beers at first, for approximately eight years, before starting the Nectar Creek business with his brother. During that time, Phillip worked for Queen Bee Honey Company, a local business which along with Olsen Honey Farms provides the honey used in making their mead today. In the early months, it was just the two of them, producing about 500 gallons of mead a month, with just three 250-gallon fermenters. Now, there are five full-time employees, three 1,000-gallon fermenters, one 500-gallon fermenter, and they are producing around 2,500 gallons of mead a month.
Although simple in nature, a characteristic implicit in mead, the Nectar Creek meads consist of a complex layering of flavors, sweetness, bitterness, and aromas. Currently, there are six meads available for purchase at the tasting room: Waggle, their peach mead; Pollinator, their wildflower; Brood, their raspberry; Sting, their ginger, which won a silver medal for best session mead at the Mazer Cup—the largest worldwide mead competition; Chicory—their single varietal series and Phillip’s personal favorite; and finally their Reserve Series Kumquat Mead.
They are currently providing mead all along the I-5 corridor from southwest Washington down into southern Oregon, with hopes to be delivering into California by the end of the year.
You can find them waggling around the PSU Farmers’ Market every Saturday, or at their tasting room here in Corvallis.