The craft beverage industry is an ever-growing landscape with new characters every week. One of the fermented drinks that recently started to get more attention is mead. With this development across the US landscape, meaderies are popping up in some of the most unlikely places. Within the estimated 400 commercial mead makers there is Unpossible Mead in the small town of Dwight, IL. Owner Brian Galbreath is bringing his take on traditional and experimental meads to the Midwest landscape in an award-winning way. We were able to sit down with him, sample some meads, and talk shop to get a better insight into this fermented honey wine.
Plain and simple this is a great reference from The Simpson’s. If you are not familiar there is a joke about the character Ralph failing English in which he replies that is Unpossible. This sets the backstage for the meadery to be something different and fun which is what I experienced when I was there.
Brian started his journey fermenting ciders at home around 2013 before transitioning over to meads. This baseline curiosity and exploration shows the range of the products that he brings to the table. The varieties of honey, styles of meads, and flavors going in mixed with a trial and error approach yield some great results.
This award would go to their honey tomato lemon wine called “Love Apple”. This unique blend of tomatoes, lemon, and honey makes for an earthy yet oddly satisfying product. There is a lemon flavor up front with a subtle sweet tomato flavor at the end that brings the sweetness of the green tomato out instead of the vegetal qualities. This is a must-try for those looking for something different that tastes great too!
Since we were able to get to Brian’s taproom we were able to try a variety of meads on hand including the following:
Brian enlisted two different artists to help create his packaging labels and each brings it own unique character to the meads. One label that stuck out was the bochet which shows a witch over a cauldron brewing something wicked. The “Moving to the country” also was interested with its influence from the song by “The presidents of the United States of America” which has a can of peaches and a guitar on the front.
You can get their meads at any location through their self-distribution, at some local spots around the area, on Vinoshipper, or in the taproom itself.
The taproom which is off of the main drag in Dwight felt very industrial yet a bit gritty (in a good way). The bar top is rustic with dark designs made from an electrical connection made through the wood. There are touches of metal fixtures around the building including lights that fit with the exterior, giving it more of a manufacturing/industrial sense that is enjoyable.
Although mead is not for everyone Unpossible has enough offerings to please many palates. I would recommend stopping by the taproom to get a hit of mead-making knowledge from Brian and take a walk through the menu. This is certainly a hidden gem of Illinois and a must stop for the curious alcoholic beverage drinker.
If you need a better look into what mead is, visit our introduction to mead article.