A chat with an award-winning mead maker
If you haven’t tried mead yet, there’s a place that has your name on it. Lost Cause, located in Miralani Makers’ District, is an award-winning meadery churning out mouthwatering sippers sure to tempt your craft loving tastebuds. (Check out PACIFIC’s Booze 101: All about mead for the lowdown on this honey derived beverage before heading over.)
Co-owned by Billy and Suzanna Beltz, the meadery just took home five medals (tying with St. Ambrose Cellars out of Michigan for the most medals this year) from the prestigious Mazer Cup International, the world’s largest mead competition.
After the meadery’s wins earlier this year, PACIFIC sat down with head mead maker Billy to talk about the award winners, aging mead and favorite pairings.
PACIFIC: What inspired you to open Lost Cause?
BILLY BELTZ: I was making mead for several years before we opened. I started as a home brewer, making mead as a hobby, and entered a few competitions for fun. I started winning awards, got better, and after a while we thought, “this can actually work as a business.”
What’s the meaning behind the name?
We wanted a name that was really about following your passion regardless of how crazy it sounds. We both come from corporate backgrounds, and we wanted to take a leap. We thought about celebrating those leaps of faith, even if it sounds crazy to someone else. So it was our Lost Cause.
Tell us about your recent awards.
We had been going to the Mazer Cup International for a few years, and we won medals at the home level, and then at the commercial level. This year we took five medals, which tied us for the most of any meadery in the world.
Can we still get any of the award winners?
Only two of the five are still available: the wine barrel-aged Easy Bender, with strawberries and blackcurrants aged over nine months in cabernet barrels from 2 Planks in Vista (won Bronze for dry Melomel) and the Blåsvader, with blueberries, caramelized honey, bochet, cinnamon and vanilla (won Silver in the open semi-sweet category).
How do you feel mead is fitting into the craft beer craze?
I think the craft beer scene has helped the mead industry, because craft beer drinkers are adventurous. They’ve been receptive to mead, it lends itself to experimentation with different styles, so it fits well with the San Diego drinker. We are finding each month more and more people know and are getting excited.
What should a first timer try at Lost Cause?
A full flight because mead is so diverse, you have to try a few to get the whole experience to see what you gravitate toward. Approach it like wine tasting, and the aroma is half the fun. Slow down, and really pull out all of the complexity.
Can you age mead?
Yes, mead is like good wine. Flavors become more integrated, you lose the bright florals, and the sweetness won’t be as powerful, but the richness develops.
Buck it All, our traditional mead, paired with gorgonzola is amazing. A lot of our semi-sweet meads pair well with Thai food and Mexican food.
Your favorite mead?
(laughs) Whichever one I haven’t tasted in a while. I drink more quantity of beer and wine, but taste mead more than anything else in the world. I believe it is the most diverse alcoholic beverage on the planet, with how many different ways it can go.
8665 Miralani Dr. #100, Miramar, 858.609.9415, lostcausemead.com
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