My Ohio wine friend Jim Sperk just shared some very interesting information about mead that I wanted to share with you. For those of you who don’t know, mead is the name given to honey wine. Thank you to Jim, Moonshine University, Hidden Legend Winery and Lancashire Mead Company for their help with this article.
Why Should We Focus on This Drink Right Now?
We are entering that time of year when wedding bells are most likely to be rung. Plans are made for the honeymoon. The term “honeymoon” actually comes from the tradition of drinking honey wine for a full moon cycle after a new marriage. Mead in medieval times was considered an aphrodisiac. It was common for the father of the bride to include a month’s worth (a moon cycle) of mead as part of her dowry. Dad’s hope was this liquid gold gift would ensure grandchildren.
How Does Mead Compare to Wine or Beer?
Mead isn’t a wine or a beer. It exists in its own category. Traditionally, it is fermented with three basic ingredients: honey, yeast, and water. Sometimes, spices are added.
People often say they are brewing mead. But truth be told, this drink is made just like wine, using the same cold, yeast fermentation method that is used to make grape wine. It is even aged like wine, usually for two to three years.
How Does It Taste?
According to Lancashire Mead Company, “The simple answer would be that a standard, real mead tastes like a medium sweet wine, with a similar texture to sherry but with a distinct tone of honey. However, mead will also taste differently due to the honey it uses – early or late season honey; specific pollen honey like clover or hawthorn, etc. – the colour will also vary for the same reasons. This is before you consider any fruits or spices that have been added. We believe the best way to know what mead tastes like is to try it yourself 😊”
What Is the History of This Drink?
This drink is the oldest known alcoholic beverage in the world. It predates beer and wine by thousands of years! But in modern times, it hasn’t been very popular. Why is that? According to Hidden Legend Winery, “For the longest time mead was relegated to medieval reenactments and period films. It’s easy to see why no one thought it was a drink still available and it wasn’t till recently that homebrewing laws were struck down or relaxed. With the influx of people making their own brews came both the craft beer movement and the reintroduction of mead.
Mead hasn’t been served in the states beyond rare occasions here and there, usually surrounding a Viking or medieval theme. Even then, it just wasn’t made. There were less than 25 meaderies in the 90s but, thankfully that has grown to over 500.” Mead is on the rise now, with a meadery opening up, according to the American Mead Makers Association (AMMA), every three days.
What Types Are Available?
There are many, many types of meads. They can be carbonated or still, high or low in alcohol, and thick or light. They can also be very different depending on the type of honey used.
There are also a number of distinctive styles, which adds to its diversity. The most common are melomel, which is created with the addition of fruit; and metheglin, which refers to a mead combined with spices. But there are even more varieties out there that are made in other unique ways: some served heated (mulled mead), or those made with caramelized honey (bochet), and still more incorporated with maple syrup (acerglyn).
If you are looking for that special gift for that newlywed couple, consider stopping at a local meadery and purchasing a bottle or two.
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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