New Year, New Mead: Buckland

1. First of all, what are the tasting notes for Buckland?

Color - Pale straw
Aroma - Fresh spring air
Flavor - Green tea candy and citrus
Closest Comparison - Lightly chilled Viogner

2. Tell us how Buckland came to be?

Buckland has, perhaps, the most storied history of all of our meads. Invented long, long ago for our annual What the F Is Up with Tom Bombadil Party?, the first batch was a whopping four kegs, all which were enjoyed over the course of a week or two.

About a year later, a young man named DJ Tetreault applied for a job as an assistant brewer, but he made the questionable decision to make demands during his interview. Not the normal kind of demands, y’know “I want Saturdays off and $155/hr starting wage.” 

(Gomez the llama, courtesy of Meadiac Krystal J.)


No, he said that he worked for us if and only if we brought back Buckland.


So, dutifully, we launched it the next year under the name Spring Fling. Why this name? To be perfectly honest, we can’t remember. It did alright. But it had customers convinced Buckland was only appropriate for spring, which really isn’t true (more on that below).

And so, after finally convincing ourselves that we wouldn’t get a cease and desist from the Tolkien Estate (or, if we did, we’d frame it), we launched Buckland under its true name the next year and that’s when it became a fan favorite!

3. Tell us a little background about the name Buckland and why you chose it.

For those who aren’t deep nerds about the Tolkien Legendarium, the quick version is that Tom Bombadil is an enigmatic figure whose origin and purpose is never really explained. He inhabits a region close to the Shire known as the Old Forest, and immediately adjacent to this ancient land you will find Buckland!

(Tom Bombadil by the Brothers Hilderbrandt)

Buckland is the home of the Brandybuck family of hobbits, who have a very odd reputation among hobbits. You may recognize the last name from Merry Brandybuck, a companion of Frodo on his quest to rid the world of the One Ring. Merry is actually a sort of princeling of the Brandybuck family– at the time of Lord of the Rings, his father is the Master of Buckland, the highest office in the land of Buckland.

But why are the hobbits of Buckland so odd? Well, they do very strange things like lock their doors at night (because they live close to the Old Forest which is full of malicious things), ride in boats (hobbits by and large cannot swim), and they even maintain a sort of militia. After the Ringwraiths come to the Shire searching for the One Ring, the Buckland militia chases them out.

Perhaps their oddities can be traced back to the fact that Bucklanders are descended from the Fallohide species of hobbits. Of the three species, Fallohides are taller, braver, and more curious than their fellows. They’re also the species that originally founded the Shire, so they have that going for them.

Tolkien likely got the name from Buckland Abbey,  a 700--year-old house in Buckland Monachorum, which is in Devon, England.

All of this to say, if we were going to live in the Shire, we would want to be from Buckland.

4. Buckland is one of the most popular meads in our line up for cocktails, as far as Meadiacs are concerned. Do you have a favorite or recommended Buckland cocktail that hasn’t made it to the site yet?

Buckland is my second favorite mead to use in cocktails (my first favorite is Nordic Farmhouse). One of the best things about it is that you can use it in place of seltzer in nearly any drink that calls for seltzer or club soda to bring in those rich tea and bright lemon flavors.

My favorite combination is to use it in place of the seltzer and lemon in a Tom Collins creating - you guessed it! - a Tom Bombadil!

1.5 oz. Old Tom Gin

Splash of Simple Syrup (or Gomme Syrup)

Top with Buckland in a Collins Glass

(Image courtesy of Ransom Spirits)

5. Why is Buckland seasonal instead of year round?

Great question! It just feels like it should show up on a bright spring morning, then drift away to rest for the winter.

The first time we brewed it was in October, so we’ve always sort of just followed that trend. We brew it in time for May Day, and make room for it when The Wild Hunt breaks across the autumn sky.

Besides, doesn’t that make it a little more special, only coming around once a year? We get a lot of requests to make it a year-long brew. What can we say? We have always been big believers that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

6. Anything else you’d like to share about Buckland?

Even though we think it’s the perfect drink for a fresh spring morning (as mentioned above), several members of the staff hold back a few cases at the end of the season as an apres on the slopes.

It was also voted by our Certified Meadiacs as the most appropriate brew for New Year’s Eve celebrations. You can see a cocktail brewed up by Meadiac Bryan B. below that was crafted for that exact reason.

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