While checking out Santa Barbara’s new Aussie-Indian restaurant, Bibi Ji, I was impressed not just by the wall of wine bottles but by the glowing cooler of beer. And not just Kingfisher imported from India that’s barely distinguishable from other macro lagers, but a veritable cold treasure box of great craft beers. So it came as a shock to the system when I found myself ordering something from one of just four taps: mead.
Mead, for those even familiar with it, can sometimes have an image problem. The perception of honey wine is that it’s strong, still, and super-sweet (perfect for getting the Ren Faire crowd in the mood to follow their lascivious proclivities). But this stuff on tap — Pink Jasmine Mead from Carpinteria’s Apiary — was, refreshingly, none of the above.
It’s so sessionable that a healthy-sized glass ($8) doesn’t impair judgement. It’s carbonated, thus making it ideal for scrubbing the palate between bites of tandoori chicken and Punjabi kadhi. And best of all, it’s quite dry, having allowed honey’s sugars to ferment out.
Pink Jasmine is further embellished with foraged jasmine, the stuff you’ll find blooming all over town. For added localness, the mead’s base is orange-blossom honey. It’s currently on draft at The Apiary’s tasting room in Carpinteria, conveniently next to brewLAB, for those who’d like to sample their way through meads, cider, and then some creative beers.
4191 Carpinteria Ave., Ste. 10, Carpinteria; theapiary.co.