It’s Saturday! That means no work (hopefully), no class (hopefully), and a full day’s worth of tasty beer drinking (or at least one awesome beer, at some point). Luckily, it’s night eight of my 13 Beers of Halloween. But, a word of warning. Tonight isn’t actually a beer. It’s something entirely different, but hopefully just as delicious. It’s B. Nektar Meadery’s Necromangocon, brewed with black pepper and mangoes. And if you know anything about the Evil Dead series, you should be growling your best “Groovy”. Now, I’ve never had a mead before. I know they involve honey, but that’s about as far as my mead knowledge extends. So, whether you’re like me and don’t know a thing about meads, or if you’re drinking one right now, go grab your chainsaws, load your boomsticks, and let’s go get our mead on.
The initial bottle smell is a potent floral bloom, with a spiced kick at the back edge. The mangoes aren’t all that noticeable, but there is an overall sweetness that’s been drizzled over everything. It provides a rich glaze that’s similar to an apple-less cider, with a thick honey sweetness that contains hints of big flower and pepper notes. It’s very intriguing, and pulls me in deeper, begging me to drink. Just as if Professor Knowby was reading some kind of mead-drinking incantation.
The first bottle taste is a crisp sweetness that glides over the tongue. The floral notes reveal themselves as the mango, with a tropical sweetness and brief tang that compliments the honey quite well. The mangoes are followed by a spicy pepper kick that settles at the back of the throat. It’s a lingering heat that keep’s the tongue warm, without overpowering or masking any of the other flavors. There are also hints of ginger amidst the pepper, which adds a sweet, herbal spice that makes the heat linger even longer. The overall flavor is quite crisp, without a strong aftertaste, delivering its flavor up front, and then jumping out of the way so that the next taste can have its time. Normally, a combination of mangoes, honey, and black pepper would seem more like something eaten on a dare, rather than anything I’d want to taste. But as a mead, those same ingredients work very nicely with each other. Nothing is overpowering, and the flavors last just the right amount of time. It’s a tasty, fresh delivery that is awesomely refreshing.
Once poured, the aroma is a super crisp, spicy bloom of flowers that bubbles up into your face. The mango is once again hidden under the floral notes, but the honey, ginger and pepper are a bit more noticeable this time. Actually, the aroma reminds me a bit of Crispin’s Pear cider- a mellow taste and aroma with sweet, fruity dominating flavors. The difference between that cider and this mead is an earthier profile from the pepper and ginger, and the warming, tingly heat provided by both. It pours a thick, pale gold with constant bubbling and no head at all.
The poured taste is much the same as the bottle, but everything is a bit more potent. The pepper and ginger heat clings and warms even deeper. The mangoes impart more of their tropical tang and profile to the sweetness of the mead, and the floral notes are a bit richer and pop a bit more on the tongue. In addition, the sweetness clings to your mouth longer than from the bottle, pushing the aftertaste to a lengthier limit. It’s wonderfully drinkable and exchanges some of its crispness for a rich, smooth feel once poured. Despite that, it still retains a bubbly edge that makes you do that lip smacking noise with every drink. You know the one.
In the end, I can say my first mead experience was fairly awesome. The off the wall combination of mangoes, ginger and black pepper makes for a delightfully refreshing and drinkable brew. The overall sweetness is lovely on the tongue, and its major bubbliness keeps each drink crisp and fresh over and over again. It doesn’t last too long flavor-wise, but the pepper and ginger heat clings to the back of your throat as a gentle warmth long after you’ve finished drinking. The honey gives it a sweet, syrupy flavor and feel, but it also bumps up the price to around $8 a bottle. Despite that, it’s definitely tasty enough to justify one, or two, or five a month…Or week.
My suggestions for this mead are during the summer months, when you need a refreshing thirst quencher, but want something more exciting than just water. On the other hand, it can be a tasty winter drink, with the pepper and ginger heat keeping you warm on even the coldest of winter nights. My horror genre recommendation isn’t actually a genre, it’s the Evil Dead series – Evil Dead 1 and 2, Army of Darkness, and the 2013 reboot. Watch them all in a row while enjoying a bottle of this mead. B. Nektar’s Necromangocon earns a soul-swallowing A-. Watch out for the trees, everyone.
Lasting Strength: 9/10
Overall: 9/10 A-