Podcast Episode 140: Jeff Herbert of Superstition Meadery on Envisioning and Making Best-in-Class Craft Beverages

The cofounder of Arizona's Superstition Meadery has always been driven to explore what makes something the best. In this episode, he walks through the process of innovation they’ve built to support those aspirations.

Jamie Bogner Jun 21, 2020

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Mead has long had a stronger affinity with beer and homebrewing than it has with the wine world, and the growth of flavor-forward, ingredient-laden meads has, in many ways, mirrored the rise of similarly designed craft beers. Superstition Meadery, in Prescott, Arizona, has been one of the leaders in that new-school approach, stretching the definition of mead and widening the relevance of one of the world’s oldest fermented beverages. Inspired by innovation in the craft beer space, and in the culinary world, they’ve brought flavors and approaches to the mead world that excite and delight, from white chocolate-inspired fine bottled meads to milkshake meads in cans.

In this episode, Jeff Herbert (cofounder and co-owner of Superstition with his wife, Jennifer) walks through the steps that brought them to where they are today—early homebrewing, mead inspiration, technical evolution, and current innovation. He walks through their approach to quality, testing concepts, solving the mead-making problem of time, healthy fermentations, honey flavor and mechanics, yeast management in the meadery, methods of adding fruit, improving extraction efficiency, fine-tuning fruit expression for complexity, the impact of aging, and more.

As brewers and craft drinkers stretch out and explore adjacent fermentations, mead is increasingly finding its place in their hearts and minds. Herbert makes a great case for its relevance, driven by a creativity, enthusiasm, and ambition that you can hear in his voice.

This episode is brought to you by:

G&D
G&D Chillers: As the brewing industry’s premier choice for glycol chilling, G&D Chillers has set the standard on quality, service, and dedication to their customer’s craft. For 25 years G&D has led the way on innovative solutions that match their brewing customers immediate and future needs. With a wide selection of custom built chillers; G&D offers the Nano chiller, the perfect solution for Nano breweries all the way up to their larger capacity units like the Vertical Air Chiller, built for higher volume operations. Contact G&D Chillers today for your chiller sizing needs at 800.555.0973. Reach out online at Gdchillers.com

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Old Orchard supplies craft juice blends from the heart of Beer City USA. As the industry blending experts, they supply major national brands and growing breweries alike. They've been the best-kept juicy secret in craft beverage for years, but now the secret's out. Breweries across the board are experiencing a seamless transition to Old Orchard as their new juice supplier. So hop aboard the Old Orchard fruit train; their sample kit starter pack is waiting for you at www.oldorchard.com/brewer.

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This episode is brought to you by Hopsteiner–your premium hop supplier dedicated to delivering quality hops and hop products in every package. Visit Hopsteiner.com for a complete list of offerings or select “shop hops” to start ordering today.

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Born out of a basement in Milwaukee a decade ago, Spike has grown to become a leading manufacturer of premium-quality brewing equipment. So, if you’re looking for a reliable system for home or a commercial-grade Nano for your brewery, this is the time to buy! Spike is offering CB&B listeners a special 10% off all three-vessel system purchases, while supplies last. Visit spikebrewing.com/craft and enter the code CBB at checkout. Spike Brewing—pursue what’s possible.

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This episode is brought to you by Brewers Publications, publishers of “Historical Brewing Techniques: The Lost Art of Farmhouse Brewing” by Lars Marius Garshol. Equal parts history, cultural anthropology, social science, and travelogue, “Historical Brewing Techniques” describes Northern European farmhouse brewing and fermentation methods that are vastly different from modern craft brewing. Order your copy of Historical Brewing Techniques today at BrewersPublications.com.

Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].

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