Discovering the World of Texas Mead in La Grange: Blissful Folly Farm Celebrates a Different Type of Drink
A Texas couple uses science and bees at their unique farm.
John and Wendy Rohan began producing small-batch meads in 2009 at their Blissful Folly Farm in La Grange. That actually makes it the oldest meadery in Texas. The drink does not have a long history in the Lone Star State. But with National Mead Day coming up on August 7, Rohan Meadery in La Grange is rolling out a mead red carpet.
On National Mead Day, Rohan is offering a tasting of its award winning meads, ciders and beers — with live music on the farm from 2 pm to 6 pm.
“Houston and Austin are our biggest draws, but people come from all over,” Wendy Rohan tells RoundTop.com. “We have a lot of seasonals, so when people come in, we’ll always have around seven to nine meads to taste. The lineup is always changing.”
Blissful Folly Farm is home to Rohan Wines and Meads, Blissful Folly Hard ciders, and La Grange Brewing Co., which will celebrate its first year this August ― ensuring something for everyone to sample. Tastings are just $10 for your choice of four sips.
For some, the idea of honey-based mead is forever linked to the Middle Ages (thanks to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament or a stroll through some kitschy Renaissance festival). How else can one wash down their turkey leg you might ask?
But the history of the fermented honey and fruit goes back much further. Some say all the way back to China as early as the 7th century B.C. Of course, the Greeks and Romans were also big fans, as were the Anglo-Saxons, who spread the libation across Europe.
There are many varieties of mead to enjoy:
The kind you’ll find at Rohan Meadery are “created in a Czech-German style, resulting in a drier, more nuanced end product.”
Mead is similar to wine, in that each batch is subject to its own terroir ― depending on the specific region that the bees collect their nectar, and influenced by the climate, so different years will have differing flavor profiles.
Honeybees do the heavy lifting, collecting nectar from more than one million flowers in order to produce a single pound of wild honey. And that’s the really the secret of the sauce. Every mead at Rohan begins with all-natural Texas honey ― some sourced right there on the farm, by their partners at Bee Wilde Honey. They began keeping bees for the health of the farm in 2010, and now sell bee balms and creamed honey for your tea.
“We both have science backgrounds. We began fermenting things like beer early on,” Wendy Rohan says. “We wanted a place to grow community, so we started with our winery, then began experimenting with meads.”
Rohan’s award winners read like a farmers market with meads, just brimming with fruit flavors, including peach, raspberry, pomegranate, pear and even Rio Star grapefruit. Their wines range from full-bodied to rose, and La Grange Brewing Company has seven brews and counting, including Hazel, a hazy IPA, and Otis which is a raspberry pecan oatmeal stout. There is even a dry or sweet cider to sample.
“We are finally getting the chance to barrel age our meads, and we’re working on a port right now ― our collaboration with Copper Shot Distillery in Bastrop,” Wendy Rohan says. “Plus, you’ll find our session meads on tap at the farm.”
A brand new product ― Rohan Reserve Resilience ― was just introduced on July 24. The Rohans describe it as a sherry-oaked aged cherry melomel with flavors of dark, ripe cherry and currant and a lingering sherry finish. Next up, the Rohans are working on a classic Mexican tempeche ― the age-old beverage fermented from pineapple cores.
You can schedule a tour at the 30-acre Blissful Folly Farm. Visitors can learn about the farm’s sustainable, pollinator-friendly practices and come across chickens, guinea fowl, goats, mini-sheep, two donkeys, multiple bee hives, two acres of wine grapes, and a small fruit orchard.
The family-friendly venue serves cheese and meat boards and even a smattering of fresh pizzas. Tastings at La Grange Tap Room are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 6 pm, Fridays from noon to 7 pm, Saturdays from noon to 8 pm and Sundays from noon to 6 pm.
There is even live music under the pavilion on Saturdays from 2 pm to 6 pm, with free admission. Check Rohan’s website for the upcoming concert schedule. And mark your calendars for November 6, when Rohan Meadery will host the 9th annual Texas Mead Fest at Blissful Folly Farm.
After all, you can never have enough mead.
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