Musician Jake Hand offers an “Evening at the Meadery”


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By Michael Strüb

With this influx of new businesses that Sapulpa is seeing, Dancing Skeleton (609b S. Main) is a must on the ‘new experiences’ list of things to explore.

Mead, one of the oldest forms of alcohol, is usually correlated with ales or lagers.

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While Dancing Skeleton’s products are referred to as “honey wines,” mead is a perfectly accurate description. It pertains to one of the oldest processes of fermentation.

Instead of fermented grapes, or hops and barley, this meadery ferments honey.

So, the question is. “Do you feel the need? The need for mead?” Maybe the better question is, “to mead or not to mead?”

(Insert uncomfortable silence.)

Friday evening, I found myself bellied up to the bar at the tasting room for Dancing Skeleton Meadery. Graciously welcomed by owners Alex and Marcie Long.

So, why the name “Dancing Skeleton?” Well, Dancing Skeleton was the name of a 1990’s Christian heavy metal band in west Tulsa, where Alex grew up. “Every time they had a show, I was stuck working,” says Alex. “The one time I wasn’t working, I was too lazy to go.” They soon broke up. The name always stuck in Alex’s mind as fun, and a reminder to never pass up an opportunity. After leaving his career in I.T. and Cyber Security, He decided Dancing Skeleton was the perfect name for his meadery.

Sapulpa first got its taste of mead wine in 2020, when Dancing Skeleton dawned a booth at the 31st Annual Route 66 Blowout, and has each year since. On the market now for 3 years, Mr. Long has secured a location just off Main Street and just south of Bryan. After an anxiously-awaited thumbs up from city council, “we made our next batch, sealed it up, and went to work on construction,” says Alex. The Meadery officially opened on September 2nd.

With a total of sixteen meads, the blends’ names all derive from the actual ingredients. Take S.T. Barnaby, for instance. “Star Thistle” is a flowering weed that the bees hover around, shaping the taste of the honey. Star Thistle is also known as “St. Barnaby’s Thistle.” Then, you have blends such as “Oklahoma Fall Harvest.” Made from the dark, rich and even spicy honey that comes from the fall harvest. Quite the contrast from the bright and sweet Oklahoma Spring Harvest. “Think of it as the types of blooms the bees are around given the time of year,” says Donnel Dobbs of Dobbs Farms, a local supplier of honey available at Sapulpa retailers.

Now on this evening, It just so happened that Jake Hand (of Wagoner) was performing an acoustic set. Jake is a friend from Alex’s previous career. Jake showed up in a Roland 808 T-shirt. So, of course now we have to be friends.

Jake Hand.

Dusting off a little bit of red dirt and filling the tasting room with classics by Radio Head, U2, even an homage to Eliot Smith. Jake’s voice and song selections seemed to complete the experience. Unlike some of the stale and pretentious tasting rooms I’ve been to, Dancing Skeleton Meadery started taking on more of a vibe as the night progressed. A silent death match of checkers at one table and date night couples experiencing a little something new throughout. Phones were down for the most part, unless trained on Jake, who was at one point owning a killer rendition of California Dreaming.

Alex gives great descriptions of the different flavors and processes going into each of his wines. He doesn’t overcomplicate it with the technical jargon of a would be Sommelier. However, he will gladly answer any question regarding any aspect of the passionate process he goes through to make these wines. 

If beer is more your thing, Dancing Skeleton also provides the option of craft beer, supplied by Tulsa’s Gravity Brewing Company.

Dancing Skeleton also bottles red wine.

A malbec, made from Argentinian grapes, and Cabernet Sauvignon made from Napa Valley grapes are available. Both are at about 14% ABV, which is creeping a bit toward a port wine, but still very smooth.

So, as the night comes to a close, Jake pours some Pink Floyd over us. Yep, let’s all say it together: “like warm honey.”

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