A can of Havoc Mead Psychopomp and a flared tulip glass partially filled with mead

Havoc Mead Psychopomp

Arguably more popular now than in whatever time Renaissance Faires are supposed to take place, mead is a tough beverage to pin down. Is it supposed to be sweet or dry? Is the yeast gonna be funky or no? I’m not sure, so I’d never call myself an expert—or even a journeyman, but after trying a few different Havoc Mead/Groennfell Meadery meads, I can definitively say that their brews come down on the not-too-dry, with a bit o’ funk, line on the mead spectrum.

Havoc Mead Psychopomp Sour Cherry Mead

  • Cherry with a little camphor and earth
  • Not too sweet, not too dry. Funky, astringent fruit. Almost no heat from alcohol
  • No residual heat, sour-cherry flavor lingers

16oz. can. 6.9% ABV. Gluten Free.

I learned about Havoc Mead Psychopomp in probably the worst way: A Facebook ad, dammit. There it was, a red-labeled can with a raven on it saying, “Psychopomp Sour Cherry Mead.” For weeks, I resisted each time it came up on my feed, but little did Facebook know that I was sold from the very first time the ad popped up, not because it was a mead or that it was flavored sour cherry, but because the label had a raven on it saying, “Psychopomp.”

A four pack of Havoc Mead Psychopomp Sour Cherry Mead. The label is red with a black raven saying the mead's name in a word ballon
A 4-pack of Havoc Mead Psychopomp. Photo from Havoc Mead

Both the raven and the psychopomp, you see, reminded me of The Sandman, in particular issue #52, Cluracan’s Tale, where an elf meets a psychopomp. Now there is no raven in that particular story, but if you know The Sandman comics, you know Matthew, the raven. If none of this makes any sense and is completely irrelevant, that is fine. The thing of it was, I was going to buy this damned mead because it reminded me of a favorite comic book run that ended two decades ago.

Havoc Mead is located in Vermont, and because of probably stupid legal reasons, it has no New York distributor, but it can ship its mead to New York residences. So after initially looking, pointlessly, at my local distributors, I finally clicked on the damned ad, which took me to the site where I learned I could get Havoc Mead directly to my door.

The 4-pack of Psychopomp is $14, a perfectly fine price. But there were shipping costs, and doing some hand-waving math in my head to justify ordering more stuff so I wouldn’t have to pay for shipping, I went with a variety case that had 3 different Havoc Mead 4-packs, including Psychopomp, and 3 Groennfell Meadery 4-packs. The two meaderies seem like sister companies, although they have entirely different websites, and it is probably an interesting story why there are two, but I don’t know what that story is. At any rate, it all seems to be brewed at the same physical location.

Let’s focus here for a paragraph and talk about how Psychopomp tastes, with the understanding that I know that I like it, but I don’t know if it represents any Platonic ideal of mead. It hits the tongue slightly sweet, but finishes dry. It’s got some undeniable funk, which reminds me of a genuine, wild-yeasted lambic. The cherry flavor, not too sour, is big in the nose and hits right in the center of the tongue. It’s good. If someone gave me this and told me it was a lambic, I’d never question it. Having the 4-pack, I thought I’d save some for friends when this interminable pandemic is over, but, no, they’ll have to try some of the other flavors, because this one hit a lot of high marks, and they’ll just have to order some for themselves.

The mead weighs in at 6.9% ABV, but does not drink like that at all, making it—Lord, help me—crushable, but not sessionable. This, one can hope, might be the only time I write something like that.

The other meads I received from both Havoc and Groennfell were either good or very good. This means I have more content to fill the site, so I’ll save those for other reviews.

And so, Facebook has my number now. I clicked on its link, and its inscrutable algorithm now knows I’ll buy mead and like things with ravens. It doesn’t know my The Sandman fanship, though, because I made a more obscure connections in my own head than it can make, at least for today.