Libations — Kookoolan Meadery takes second in division at Mazer Cup International

Chrissie Zaerpoor considers the Mazer Cup International Mead Com­petition to be the Oscars of the mead world. So when her entry, “Elegence,” won silver in her category, she was excited.

“There’s nothing bigger than Mazer,” Zaerpoor said. The annual competition had about 350 commercial entries this year as well as 500 homebrewed entries.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - International champs -- 'Elegance' from Kookoolan World Meadery in Yamhill won silver in its category recently during the Mazer Cup International  competition. Kookoolan owner Chrissie Zaerpoor said there were more than 350 entries to the contest, and as far as mead competitions go, Mazer is likened to the Oscars.For Zaer­poor, mead has always been a passion.

“I’ve been a mead home brewer since 1997 or thereabout, back in the day when I was an engineering manager at Intel,” she said. In 2005, she opened Kookoolan Farms in Yamhill.

“We’re a highly diversified grass fed farm,” she said. Offerings include pasture raised chickens, lamb, beef, eggs and an organic vegetable subscription. But for Zaerpoor, it’s always been about the mead.

“Mead was what I did first and the farm wasn’t a glimmer of conception yet. I’ve been making mead for a long time and have been serious about it for a long time,” she said. “It was always the intention to get a full winery license to offer a meadery. I got my license in 2009 and released our first mead in November 2010. It was a habanero-saffron-vanilla mead, which alas is sold out.”

With one fermenter, she can only produce one batch at a time.

“When I get a mead moved into a barrel or bottles, I can start the next batch,” she said. “It’s a very small handcrafted production.”

But that doesn’t mean she isn’t always thinking of the next idea.

“I’ll have two out later this year. One is a bourbon barrel-aged Dwojnik, which means the recipe starts with equal parts honey and water,” she said. “It’s an extravagant amount of honey which results in a big high alcohol mead. That’s a repeat product; I also produced that in 2011 and it was tremendously popular.”

She said she’s also working on a rose petal mead, a personal favorite because it pairs well with Persian and Indian food.

Despite her small personal production, Kookoolan has more than 120 different meads from around the world available.

“As best as I’ve been able to confirm, there’s no larger collection of meads for sale on the planet,” Zaerpoor said.

To learn more about Kookoolan, visit her website at kookoolanmeadery.

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