Tomorrow Don and I will celebrate our 6 year wedding anniversary. Actually, we've been celebrating it all weekend and making new friends in the process. Although we were lucky enough to already have great friends rooted in this small town, when we decided to move back we still wanted to find intentional ways to expand our circle and get re-rooted into this much loved community of ours. I turned to the social networking site, www.meetup.com for suggestions. Meetup is a website devoted to helping people connect regionally with other people of like interests. There were a few meet and greet groups already established Bellingham on Meetup, but nothing that I felt specifically drawn to. In the past I have used Meetup.com for very specific interests like hiking and volleyball, and I even joined a wiener dog group at one point. Since I didn't see anything that was specifically speaking to me, I ended up deciding to create my own meetup group centered around one of the things which I personally am very interested in, and that is exploring all of the different local wineries and wine shops that this area has to offer. It turns out it's something a lot of other people are interested in as well and in just a short amount of time we have gained 41 new members and already had two successful events with over a dozen people in attendance.
Tonight, for our second event, we met at Honeymoon Tasting Room off of State Street. If you don't know where it is, it's a bit difficult to find. It's actually in the alley behind Pepper Sisters Restaurant. Unlike a formal wine tasting experience Honeymoon actually specializes in meads (wine made from honey), although they do carry a few traditional wines and their own dry cider. It's an intimate setting and plenty of room for a good sized group if you show up towards the beginning of the evening around 5pm. We were 14 total in attendance for the evening and quite comfortable at that size.
The manager set us up with a couple of tasting trays to sample their many products. I admit I kind of skipped over the regular wines and focused on their meads since this is what they are known for. What I quickly discovered was that while each mead in and of itself was interesting and unique, I didn't find myself to be a great lover to the extent that I could sit down and drink a whole glass. The real potential in mead lies in it's ability to mix well and pair with other liquors. That was the serendipity discovery of the evening that created endless possibilities for new fun surprises.
The two greatest strengths on their menu were the Hot Spiced Mead and the Cyser. The Hot Spiced Mead was a basic combination of their boldly flavored Wassail Mead with a splash of Orange Mead and Dry Cyder served warm like hot apple cider. The Cyser though is about the coolest discovery on earth since it's a completely new type of drink I have never experienced. It's a chilled dry cyder flavored with your choice of fruity mead (Orange, Strawberry, Raspberry, or Blueberry). I am especially fond of the Strawberry, although several people tried the raspberry and am told that one was quite good as well. I can see going back from time to time for either of these two drinks when I'm in the mood for something outside the standard beer and wine menu. The only thing I could see myself buying by the bottle would be the Wassail Mead for home consumption as this is the best mead option they had for serving warm and would be a fun treat for entertaining.
Another thing Honeymoon does very well are the appetizers and desserts. Between the attendees at our table, we got quite a variety and everything was top quality including an antipasto plate (featuring Genoa salami, provolone, olives, marinated artichoke hearts, pickled asparagus, sliced apple, and rustic sliced bread), a delicious cheese plate, and a trio of artisan spreads served on bread as well. The dessert menu was also well sampled with special compliments to their blueberry topped cheesecake and their amazingly rich dark chocolate truffles.
Overall this was a fun venue with some good hospitality. This probably would not be the place for you if you are looking for a traditional wine tasting experience but if you are in the mood for something a little different with some excellent food pairings and a nice mellow atmosphere give Honeymoon a try. They are open Monday through Saturday from 5pm to 11pm and also offer live music five days a week starting around 5pm. They even have free Wi-Fi if you're looking for a new setting to get a little studying done or catch up on work.