Snoremark started out as a garage brewery in 2010. It has since moved out of the garage and into a former pig stall as it developed into a professional meadery. Today Snoremark is recognized as a serious player in the Danish mead scene with its high ambitions of brewing dessert wine which satisfy even discerning palates.
The brewery is situated on the picturesque estate Snoremark which is also the home of the owners Karin Sloth and Thomas Bredholt. The old farm in the small village Tågerup north of Roskilde is raised high above the landscape with a view to all corners of the world. Roskilde Fjord, middle age churches and barrows characterize the area and both the village and the farm reaches far back in the history of Denmark.
In 2011 Thomas submitted some of the first brew to the Danish Championship in mead brewing at the yearly Honey Festival arranged by the Danish Beekeeper Association. The competitors were experienced mead brewers from all over the country, but Snoremark Apple mead won the first prize for its rich taste and good balance.
It encouraged us to scale up the production. Karin spend a year experimenting and refining recipes to ensure a high, stable quality. The production has increased ever since and today Snoremark is brewing 6000 liters of mead a year.
At Snoremark we enjoy continuing accolades and experience a growing interest from people who have gained taste for the golden Nordic drink. Thus in 2015 Snoremark Apple mead was honored a gold medal at the big food fair Nordic Food Contest and named Fruit Wine of the Year in the category “Other Fruit Wines” at the Danish Forum for Fruit Wine.
In 2016 Snoremark Apple mead took the first prize and four out of six of the top places at the Beekeepers Associations Danish Championship in mead brewing and in 2017 Snoremarks Apple mead was once again honored as the best mead of the Year at Danish Forum for Fruit Wine.
Thomas is beekeeper at Snoremark. In 2010 an overwhelmingly large production of honey made him donate 30 kg to Karin on the one condition that it was used for mead brewing.
Old recipes were studied and different varieties tested but Karin wasn’t quite satisfied with the sweet-sour-bitterness balance. With the 30 kg of honey secured, she started. The most crucial for her was a gut feeling that the water, which is the usual base together with honey, should be replaced with fresh pressed apple must. In addition she collected herbs and berries in nature to bring greater variation and fullness to the mead.
The recipes at Snoremark are developed with focus on taste, aroma and a sense of which berries and herbs will create an overall good taste with honey and apples. Great attention is paid to the balance between the different elements. When Karin is in the process of brewing it is not unusael to hear her (despite being a very rational person) talking to nature considering the right choices for the brew. She states the apple mead chose her not the other way around. All she does is listen to how it wants to be brewed.
The first batches of brew contained wild rosehips collected by the fjord. Roship is from ancient times known as a very suitable fruit for brewing dessert wine and this was what Karin created.
The second batch with hobs contained more bitterness and became a fantastic drink suitable for any cheese board. Later Karin also developed recipes for varieties with buckthorne and meadowsweet.
In addition to apple mead we also have a minor production of classic English sparkling cider.
Listen how the yeast go crazy in the brewery when adding honey.
We took over Snoremark as sole owners in 2007. Not being trained farmers we knew we had to keep a narrow focus to succeed with our project. Most of the land was sold but we didn’t want to sell it all. An old worthy estate should not be deprived of all its land so we chose to keep five acres. Next was the challenge of deciding how to utilize the land. The choice fell on apples.
The apple is an amazing fruit. It is Danish to the core, has a huge variety of flavours and is created to grow in the heavy soil at Snoremark. It was our ambition to establish an apple plantation with classic English cider apples. Our trees are grafted as standard trees. This results in tall majestic trees as we know them from the old plantations of England and Normandy. In contrast to traditional dwarf trees, standard trees has a big deep rooting which fully exploits the nutrition from the deeper layers of soil resulting in a more complex taste.
The plantation has 15 different sorts. The 14 are classic cider sorts. They have a higher amount of bitterness which gives the taste depth and character. This make them perfect for cider brewing and – it turned out – for mead brewing. The 15th tree is an old Danish sort Ingers Apple which originates from Tågerup the village where Snoremark i situated.
The first couple of years Karin kept busy experimenting with cider brewing. She acquired a lot of inspiration from a visit to the heart of the English cider district Herfordshire. The local cider producers willingly shared their knowledge of both brewing and how to run a plantation. A year later, when the bees at Snoremark produced excessive amounts of honey, the mead experiments began and today mead is the main product at Snoremark.
In fact the development of Snoremark Apple mead has moved faster than our plantation can follow. In order to meet the demand we collaborate with a range of organic apple plantations who deliver apples for our mead and apple gløgg.
A bee hive consists of up to 60,000 bees: one queen, a couple of hundred drones and the rest worker bees. One hive produces 30-50 kg honey in one season.
It takes 160 gr of honey to make one bottle of apple mead. To produce this the bees have to collect 1.3 kg honey because a large amount is spend as fuel. To collect enough honey for just one bottle of mead the bees fly 40,000 km. The honey is made when the bees suck nectar from the flowers into their honeystomach where it is mixed with enzymes. In the hive the bees use wax to build honeycombes where they store the very fluent honey. The honey is evaporated until the water content is 20% and the cell is sealed with a wax lid. When the honey is ready to harvest the honeycombes are removed from the hive, the wax lids are scraped off and the honey is extracted in a honey extractor.
As the bees fly from flower to flower collecting nectar they pollinate trees and bushes. The apple trees at Snoremark are completely dependent on the pollination of the bees in order to grow fruit and that goes for all our other fruit trees and berry bushes as well. We have a number of bee hives at Snoremark which pollinates our trees and deliver honey, but the Danish farmland is not very bee friendly. There are way to few areas with wild nature and summer flowers. When the spring bloom is over, there is not much nutrition for the bees during the summer, so we have a number of beekeepers from urban areas with lots of summer flowers that supply good Danish honey to Snoremark Apple mead.
Karin SlothBrew Master