Mead. It can be sweet, dry, robust, sparkling, or a variety of other just as delightful sounding adjectives. It can be paired with meats, desserts, snacks, and used in various recipes.
But just what is is about mead that makes it different?
First, mead’s primary ingredient, honey, makes mead what it is. A simplistic overview of how to make it includes simply taking honey, water, and letting them ferment. Other items are added to change flavors and adjust alcohol content, but for the most part, honey and water are the heart of what makes mead, well, mead.
Mead is also the the most ancient of all alcoholic beverages, something that sets it apart from wine and beer. Honey and water are readily found in nature, so it’s believed by many historians that mead was originally first made on accident.
When ancient man discovered some fermented honey and it’s, shall we say, enjoyable quality, of being alcoholic, a desire to replicate and better the process was born. That’s right, grapes came later. Not a bad accident.
From there mead took off! It is referenced in centuries of literature, incorporated in historic artworks, and was even used in ancient ceremonies. For centuries it was used for everything from curing ailments, to assisting with fertility with its aphrodisiac qualities, to simply becoming closer to the gods with it’s magical powers.
In ancient times, mead was power. We like to think it still is.
In recent years, mead has had a reawakening with the brewing community. It can bridge a gap between those who love wine and those who love craft beer. While the mead making process and the actual consumption of mead with a stemmed glass is more similar to that of wine, mead itself has been lovingly embraced by the craft beer community for the pliability of the beverage.
The enjoyment that it brings has become a modernized and more civilized.
So, the next time you try a sip of your next mead, don’t just approach it for what is simply in front of you, embrace it’s uniqueness, it’s history, and the centuries that it took to get that tasty little sip to where it is today.