Mead me at the Gala

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By Joe Cardello
The Colchester Sun

Owner Ricky Klein gives a speech during the Black Tie Gala hosted at Groennfell Meadery on March 21. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Owner Ricky Klein gives a speech during the Black Tie Gala hosted at Groennfell Meadery on March 21.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

“It’s because a tuxedo makes a man look as good as a man can look,” said owner of Groennfell Meadery Ricky Klein. “And plus I needed a place to wear my tuxedo.”

Anyone who had been in search of a reason to strap on a cummerbund or give their high school prom dress a second breath of fresh night air had that opportunity on March 21 at a very peculiar location. Groennfell Meadery tidied up their brewery on Hercules Drive and hosted a Black Tie Gala to raise money for the Friendly Viking Fund, which benefits Lake Champlain International (LCI) and Vermont Fresh Network.

“We had more people than we had expected and more than we hoped for,” Klein said. “We’re really happy that we could make a big chunk of change to help those non-profits because there’s been a lot of news about the lake and it’s going to need some help right now.”

Over 60 people costumed in their classiest apparel helped raise $800 in proceeds at the event. For $30, guests had access to an open bar, live music by jazz guitarist Taylor Bickford and an assortment of edible delights served up by Waterworks’ pastry chef Nicole Maddox. Her delicious treats included black bean sliders, artichoke bruschetta and polenta squares topped with pickled grapes.

“She’s very creative,” said Groennfell Meadery co-owner and Ricky’s wife Kelly Klein. “I didn’t try the black bean sliders, but apparently those were really good because they were gone before I even got over there.”

The meadery, LCI and Vermont Fresh Network all offered up raffle prizes including free mugs, water bottles and a fish poster.

Groennfell Meadery isn’t taking much of a breather from their hosted events.

“Are you ready for this?” Ricky asked, “Pirates versus Vikings. It’s going to happen on April 25.”

Groennfell Meadery recently began sharing space with a new meadbrewer Erik Benepe. The new craft-mead brewer’s “Bitter Bee” – a hopped mead – and “Root of All Evil” – a ginger mead – are currently only available – on tap – at the meadery.

“This is the first Groennfell-Havoc party and it’s going to be meadmaker versus meadmaker,” Ricky jested.