Sad news in the craft brewing world: Nectar Creek Meadery is closing their doors for the last time this weekend. Stiff competition in the craft beverage industry has claimed another victim and I really feel like we are losing something unique. I wanted to re-post my original review here in their honor. I have been back many times since this came out and thoroughly enjoyed each visit. I wish the owners and staff well in their next ventures and will do my best to stock up on their delightful Top Bar before it leaves stores.
This week’s review will focus on a new category of craft brewing, at least for me: mead! While admittedly I’ve never been a huge mead fan (most that I have tried are too cloyingly sweet), I recognize that many people enjoy fermented honey. A good friend and coworker suggested I pay them a visit and has heaped high praise on their brews, so finding myself with a free Saturday evening I decided to stop in. I hope you enjoy my review of the epitome of apiary excellence that is Nectar Creek Meadery.
- Mead – I was pleasantly surprised by everything I tasted here. As I’ve mentioned, I am not a big fan of the honeyed sweetness that is inherent to many meads, however that overpowering flavor did not play in to most of their offerings. I think their meads appealed to me as they all tended to be carbonated and more towards the dry side, negating my least favorite part of this brew. My favorite was the Top Bar, a coffee flavored session mead that managed to capture the flavor of a cup of coffee sweetened with just a hint of honey. My second favorite was the Nectarade, a lemon-lime tribute to Gatorade and an incredibly refreshing drink for a hot evening. I honestly did not know mead had such versatility, so kudos to Nectar Creek for being bold and crafting quality brews. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – Even from the parking lot I was impressed with Nectar Creek’s tap room. Set in a gorgeous one story modern with a touch of industrial looking building, the public area is bright, spacious, and airy. They have ample indoor and outdoor seating available, including at the large bar that dominates the room. The facility looks to be newly built and you can see the attention to detail that went in to the planning and construction, from the massive parking lot to the intricate honeycomb design on the bar surface. Food-wise they offer a variety of lighter pub fare and their prices are right on par with most of the other craft brew places around. They are open 7 days a week and until 10 pm on Friday and Saturday, making them a perfect spot to hang out with friends. Score: 4/5
- Ambiance – Bright, cheerful, full of locals having a good time. They have plenty of entertainment options with televisions on the walls, board games, and a couple lawn games. They even have occasional live music out on the lovely patio with a view of the mountains. I loved the ambiance of Nectar Creek and felt like we were encouraged to sit and relax for as long as we wanted. The most telling thing for me is that as someone who has never been a big mead fan, I will be making plenty more trips in the future, in part so I can enjoy evenings with friends at a fun location. Score: 4/5
- Location – They found a great spot in a small town, even if they are a bit off the beaten path in Philomath, Oregon. The biggest drawback for them is the relative lack of things to do around the brewery. While I certainly would not want to leave until closing time, should you wish to venture out there are not many restaurants or other bars close by. At least they have ample parking, so you won’t have to worry about finding a spot, even on the busy nights. Score: 3/5
- Customer Service – Exactly how I would want my business to run. The staff were friendly and very helpful, answering my many questions about mead and allowing us to taste a bunch of options. Our drinks were poured quickly, and the food brought to the table with alacrity. High marks for great customer service. Score: 4/5
Total Score: 19/25
Final Thoughts: I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised by Nectar Creek. From a gorgeous brewery to some delightful meads, I had a wonderful time during my visit and look forward to coming back. I highly recommend stopping in at Nectar Creek next time you are in the area, and maybe even grabbing a few six packs to take home with you.