- Oliver Parini
- Kelly Klein
Groennfell Meadery co-owners Kelly and Ricky Klein have wanted to serve full pints of their honey-toned beverages since they opened their Colchester meadery in 2013.
But, as the couple started looking into the first-class liquor license that would make that possible, their plan morphed into something bigger, says Kelly. The license requires that the establishment make food available to patrons. Rather than check that box by offering pretzels or Hot Pockets, the Kleins decided to invite guests in for something unique to the area.
"We realized that we wanted to be a place that people would really want to come to," Kelly says. "We realized that was a great opportunity to make the space more welcoming." The couple outfitted their former tasting room with wood and expanded its infrastructure to accommodate up to 12 meads on draft (and soon nitro meads).
The mead hall will serve Scandinavian-style sausages simmered in cranberry mead, as well as pickled herring and Nordic cheeses imported by South Burlington's Cheese & Wine Traders. The curds will include fudgy, caramel-sweet Norwegian gjetost and more familiar Danish blue and Havarti, all served with traditional black bread.
The sausages — crafted using Groennfell's cranberry Fenberry Draught craft mead — will come from Bessery's Quality Market, whose new facility will open in Burlington's New North End in May.
To celebrate the new endeavor, Groennfell and sister company Havoc Mead, which shares the space, are hosting a Feast Week. Events previewing the new fare — along with specialty meads on draft — include a free community lunch on Wednesday, January 27, and a grand-opening party with live music on Saturday, January 30. "We want this to be something special," Kelly says. The hall's regular hours will be Wednesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Groennfell isn't the only Chittenden County craft beverage maker in the news this week. In April, three former Switchback Brewing brewers will open Foam Brewers in the former San Sai Japanese Restaurant space on Burlington's waterfront.