Post-Gazette Blogs

Trying to mead the demand

dave me cranberry clove

Two years ago, David Cerminara was ready to take a leap.

After several years of working professionally as a brewer at Penn Brewing in Troy Hill, Mr. Cerminara had begun thinking of a way to pursue his private passion: brewing mead, the prehistoric style of wine made from fermented honey. The Carnegie native found a space in his hometown and, in the summer of 2014, opened up Apis Mead and Winery with a half-dozen varieties of his modern spin on the ancient drink.

Back then, Mr. Cerminara thought he had found a unique niche; nearly a year and a half later, that’s still the case. As it was when he opened, much of Mr. Cerminara’s professional time is spent educating the customers who walk through his doors; for example, while he makes what he calls a traditional mead — the sweeter, thicker, boozier liquid some of us expect when we hear the word — he concentrates on making a more drinkable beverage: lighter and featuring different flavors than the honey that is the backbone of each version.

As he expected when he surveyed Pittsburgh a couple of years ago and saw a hole in the market, the meads of Apis are in demand, both in his tap room in Carnegie and in bars and restaurants around the region. That’s put some strain on his brewing system, which has doubled in size since he opened and, with the arrival of several new tanks, will increase his capacity again.

That will allow Mr. Cerminara’s experimentation to continue unabated. Yes, as he says, there are meads on his tap list that are just honey, yeast and water, but the fun comes in trying some of the meadery’s more unusual combinations. Habanero peppers and mango? Delicious. Bourbon-barrel aged pumpkin and spice? A perfect warmer for weeks leading up to winter. Cranberry and clove? Thanksgiving is coming, and a bottle of that mead should be on your table. If you’re looking for something that might fall along the lines of a traditional wine, definitely try a bottle of Mr. Cerminara’s mead made with Sangiovese grapes.

It’s understandable if all of this sounds a bit intimidating, but don’t be afraid to stop by Apis at 212 E. Main St. in Carnegie. You’ll likely find Mr. Cerminara there, and he’ll be happy to help you get acquainted.

Post-Gazette coverage of Apis Mead and Winery:

Category: Allegheny County | Tags: , ,