Review: Half Pints Honeywood Sparkling Barrel Aged Mead

Five years ago Half Pints came out with their very first mead, Heiðrún's Sweet Mead, which was the very first Mead or Braggot I ever had by a Manitoban brewery. The Mead was also the best introduction to honey wine that I could've ever asked for, to this very day Heiðrún's Sweet Mead is probably my favourite mead of all time.

I was at my local LC yesterday and right before I was about to pay for my beers, one of their product advisors came up to me and asked if I picked up any of Half Pints' Honeywood Sparkling Barrel Aged Mead, I've definitely heard of the mead but picked it up? Never! I didn't even know it was in Brandon. So of course I had to pick a bottle up and the face of one of the other advisors lit up when they saw the mead, while not a beer fan, she's a huge wine fan and mead is up her alley. She joked that she's going to be recommending it to everyone so I better pick up as much as I can because it'll be gone ASAP.

Honeywood's label description: "Crafted exclusively from Manitoba wildflower honey and then matured for one year in oak barrels, Honeywood is now ready for its close-up.  Pouring flaxen hued with sparkling clarity, the sweetness of this mead is tempered by tannins from the oak to deliver a long and satisfying finish.  Honeywood co-stars nicely with BBQ fish or fowl and - like Meryl Street or them Hemsworth boys - will continue to impress with age." 12.6% ABV

Appearance: Clear with a good amount of carbonation in the body, has a bit of a light yellowish body to it that's reminiscent of a white wine (such as a Chardonnay). The head is very minimal with incredibly tiny bubbles mostly near the side, touching the glass.

Aroma: The first thing I got when I took my first sniff of the mead was that it brought me back memories of Heidrun, it's sweet, very honeylicious, a bit syrupy, notes of oak to give it a bit of a woody bitterness and spice to it, and a hint of a white wine-like profile as well.

Taste: The first impression I got was that it was decently boozy - the oak barrels popped out to give it rich oaky woodiness as well as a bit of a whisky/bourbon-like spirit vibe to it. It's decently sweet with a tad bit of a sweet honey syrupiness to it. It's quite dry on the palate and definitely carbonated for the mouthfeel. The aftertaste gives off a hint of apple at the end. There's also a bit of a white wine vibe I'm getting but that's just in my first couple sips, afterwards it's mostly rich oak and sweet sweet honey.

Overall Thoughts: This is a mead worth sharing - it's quite sweet and boozy thanks to the oak barrel aging used, I definitely get a decent amount of warmth from this mead after a few sips in. This definitely will pair well with BBQ fish or fowl as stated on the label - for me it would be a dessert worthy mead or else paired with a nice roasted chicken (preferably Portuguese-style). I paid $11.99 before tax for this mead, making it one of the more affordable meads in Manitoba at the moment, worth every cent.

I'm absolutely glad to see an entire mead industry popping up here in Manitoba, our honey is second to none so it's no surprise that meaderies and breweries are making this heavenly beverage. Bee Boyzz Meadery started selling their mead a few months ago and I happened to sample a bottle last month, I'll be reviewing their mead in hopefully the next few weeks, same with one of Rigby Orchards' meads.

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