Bergen House’s new meadery in Middletown focuses on supporting the community


MIDDLETOWN – “We exist to enrich our community. We just happen to make great mead ”is the motto of Bergen House, a new mead located in the old Trolley Barn at the foot of Main Street.

Talon Bergen opened the business in September of last year.

“This is the most important thing for me,” he said. “We’re not just here to make money, but really to be a part of Middletown – to serve the surrounding community.”

For Bergen, that meant a number of things – from their prices to how they treat people. He pays his only bartender, Tod Davis, a living wage, and tells customers that a tip is not necessary. All tips, so far, at $ 10,000, are donated to local charities.


Bergen said he made a donation to the St. Vincent de Paul Amazing Grace Pantry and Soup Kitchen in Middletown, as well as to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on suicide prevention efforts among young lesbians. , gay, bisexual, transgender, homosexual and questioning.


Other organizations contacted him. “The one that surprised us the most was Prudence Crandall in New Britain,” Bergen said, noting that the nonprofit is focused on domestic violence.

“They contacted us and pointed out that they have more demand than they have had in the past 47 years. This kind of thing shocked us, ”he said.

It is important for the owner that his business continues to donate to important causes, rather than having the idea of ​​“just flash in the pan”.

Bergen started brewing beer in 2011, right after joining the US military. He immediately fell in love with the science of fermentation. “I really kept learning and growing and doing more and more things. I started to make cider, wine and all that.

When his friend gave him a bottle of mead, a wine-like alcohol made from honey, Bergen said he was surprised. “I expected it to be sweet, after reading about it, but I haven’t tried it before. I was just surprised by the complexity. The offering he gave me was really dry and I really enjoyed it.

After leaving the military, Bergen said his intention was to start a brewery. When he left New England to serve his country, there were very few such places.

This was not the case when Bergen returned in June 2017, highlighting how the popularity and number of microbreweries exploded from the mid to late 2010s.

Then the inspiration hit. “I was at a Yard Goats game, and gave my wife a cider, and she looked at me and said ‘I’d rather have one of your meads,'” Bergen said, recalling a game from 2018. ”I realized that she’s not the only person who doesn’t like beer and wants an alternative besides the same cider over and over again.

Bergen said he and his wife, Emilie, started out slow, making two or three batches of mead a week as they tweaked their recipe to make it less alcoholic and more refreshing.

The couple, residents of South Glastonbury, considered possible locations in the area. “When we found the trailer barn in Middletown, we thought, ‘This makes sense,’” he said.

“We eat outside here. We pass through Middletown daily. It’s definitely part of our community, whereas Manchester and West Hartford are not the same. I visited a lot of buildings, but when I walked into this building I knew where everything was supposed to be, ”Bergen said.

The brick building with its large open space is utilitarian and space perfect, said the owner. Customers will find a shelf full of titles they can take, read, and keep or bring back.

Bergen is really encouraged by the reviews that customers leave, especially the ones where they say they will come back. “And they come back and they bring friends,” he said. “It was really cool. It strengthens faith in what we’re doing and makes me realize we’re on to something.

Bergen has eight taps behind the bar, and he always makes sure there is at least one mead made only from honey, water, and yeast. It helps people understand the basic concept and taste of mead, he explained.

“It’s not beer. It is not wine. It’s honey wine, he said. “Then we also have much more robust flavors.”

This includes a strawberry, mint and mango chipotle. These meads encourage more loyal customers than a staple variety, Bergen said. Its most popular flavor is wildflower honey fermented with Norwegian farm brewer’s yeast.

“Honey is such a dynamic ingredient,” he said. “The difference between orange blossom honey and sage blossom honey is vast, and they produce very different products.”

Currently open Friday through Sunday, Bergen said mead and taproom will also start opening Thursdays in August.

Mead is located at 725 Main Street, Unit 27, Middletown. For more information, call 860-358-9326 or visit bergenhousect.com or Bergen House LLC on Facebook.

About Joshua M. Osborne

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