A Wylde Ride Through Life
Like a meandering bee, life doesn’t always take a straight path. For Dylan Wylde of Wylde Works, his indirect path is intended, spending his life not just stopping and smelling the flowers, but also collect their pollen. Open since 2010, Wylde Works is known in the area for its raw honey and meads and other fermented honey libations.
Dylan’s beekeeping journey began when he was turning 30 and questioning the life he had lived up to that point. Taking inspiration from his father, Dylan decided he wanted to take on a big, new project each year for the next 30 years. He began as a playwright, producing an off-Broadway play that traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. He wanted to do something radically different for the next year and settled on agriculture.
It was while at a beekeeping convention in San Diego that he got drawn into the craft. Attendees were a little guarded, so he mentioned he had some beehives to loosen them up, despite not having any. Someone there offered him a small pollination contract and he quickly had to get some bees, collecting about 20 beehives from people’s yards and the surrounding areas.
Over the years he began to build his colony and produce honey, starting off with the wholesale market before expanding into the local farmers’ markets. With so much honey on hand, he decided to make a batch of mead with his homebrewer friend. That first late night of tasting their mead was filled with singing and laughter, and Dylan was enamored with both the beverage and moment that they had created. He soon traveled to Europe and began to learn from the mead makers over there, gravitating towards the less sweet meads of France.
Today, Wylde Works’ selection of raw honey and fermented honey drinks can be found regularly at the farmers’ market and store shelves around town. Dylan’s artistic background is still apparent with unique poems by him decorating each can and label art designed by his wife, Sydney, an artist, sculptor, and musician, among other creative talents. With their farmers’ market booth across from so many open vacancies on State Street, Dylan and Sydney got the idea that they may be able to open up a tasting room that could bring the kind of creative communal experience that they would like to enjoy. It has been an arduous process, but the tasting room is set to soon open.
The Wylde Works Tasting Room is located at 609 State Street, next door to Night Lizard Brewing Company. As of now, they are only permitted to serve on the parklet, however they hope to soon get the final approvals to finish the tasting room. The large brick walled space will get a warm, wooden seated section along with some equipment for production in the back. There are beehive boxes dotted throughout the space and lining the parklet, forming furniture in the cozy drinking spot. The parklet is open for service from Tuesday to Sunday (3 pm – 8 pm) with Friday and Saturdays often staying open a little later.
The tasting room offers an array of Dylan’s distinctly flavored honey-based brews. There will always be his two core sparkling meads as well as a seasonal selection, such as the current Mocha Mead. The Honeycraft: Dry Hopped Mead has a distinct gooseberry tartness from the Nelson Sauvin hops with a refreshing accent of honey. The Honeycraft: Special Dark is his other mainstay and is brewed with caramelized sugar. It has flavors of turbinado and toast yet is still light and drinkable. Honey wines have a more potent alcohol content and Dylan wanted these flagship brews to be more quaffable and lighter impacting. In addition to three hard (6.5% ABV) jun kombuchas, Dylan is also currently serving his three regular (1% ABV) jun kombuchas: Mugwort, Tulsi, and Ginger & Turmeric. Of course, he has several special projects in the works that may show up soon at the tasting room.
With both Dylan and Sydney’s artistic backgrounds, they hope to make the tasting room a hub of creativity. From theater, poetry readings, and talks to art shows and live sculpting and painting classes, they plan to make the space a vibrant cultural experience. Dylan is already lining up an eclectic mix of live musicians to start seeding the culture of the tasting room. On Thursday nights from 4 pm – 8 pm, Ben Betts will be playing his solo show of covers and original tunes in the exotic twang of steel drums and guitar. Swing by the parklet to listen along while sipping on some sparkling honey mead in the summer sun.
For Dylan, this scene is just the next big journey on his wild ride through life.