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Epicurean Kentuckian: Official EK Mead

2011-06-09 - Bloomington, IN - Photo by Epicurean Kentuckian.
Anyone else who OD'ed on English Literature 101 and actually read the impossible Beowulf instead of sensibly letting a classmate tell them about it or rationally relying on Cliff's Notes, will appreciate Oliver Wineries' Camelot Mead, a honey-based drink, made by Oliver Wineries in Bloomington, IN.

It's the best - and now the EK's official Mead of record - according to one who has tasted both the Mead produced by Oliver Winery and another brand from a big box liquor store near Louisville. Perhaps the bigger story is of the winery itself. A first visit to the winery, many, many decades ago, was fascinating. There weren't many around these parts in those days. The Camelot Mead, then, was sold with a limited number of other Oliver wines from a tiny concrete block building surrounded by a treeless parking (gravelled, at the time). The building was scantly larger than tiny Dispensary Building on E. Fortune ST now used by the City of Columbia Street Department to keep rakes and hoes and other equipment.

Today, Oliver Wineries is a meticulously landscaped vineyard, park and tasting patios more akin to a great state park or a mini-trip to Disney Land, with no hint of its humble beginnings except for some photos on the wall. Visitors are inspired by the giant concrete frog sunning itself beneath a man-made water fall.

On a hot June day, even with tourism down this year, the parking lot at Oliver Winery seems perpetually filled with mostly upscale cars. One reason is the impeccable Southern Hospitality - as good as it gets, Southern Indiana friendliness - which has Nice down to a pure science.

If you go (See Google Place Page).Going through Greensburg, Summersville, and Allendale, KY, and heading north, its about 214 miles. Allow about 4 hours for the trip, plus pit stops. While at the winery, a side visit to Bloomington, which like Columbia has a post secondary institution, might inspire one to join a movement twin with that city, if one doesn't think Monteagle, TN; Ithaca, NY, Madison, WI; Austin, TX, or Cookeville, TN - all similarly cosmopolitan towns where culture and enlightenment is, as in Columbia, the major industry - wouldn't be better choice(s). -Ed Waggener

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