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What is Mead?
Not Beer or Wine, Mead!
Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from honey. Although it falls into the legal classification of wine, it is drastically different. Mead, although made from honey, is not always sweet. The Mazer (mead maker) can change the recipe to produce anything from completely dry (no sugar) to a dessert mead.
The first difference between wine and mead, is that wine is an alcoholic beverage made through fermenting fruit, where mead is fermented from honey.
The most notable difference between wine and mead is the taste. Wine made from grapes, the most common form of wine, has tannins present in the skin of the grapes. Tannins are what give grape wines the distinct dry mouthfeel many people associate with wines, especially dry reds. Mead on the other hand, unless fermented along with grapes or other fruit high in tannins, does not have the dry mouthfeel. This difference makes mead stand out in a world filled with wines and beers.
Mead is believed to be the first form of alcohol to be discovered, with the first recorded recipe dating back to 9,000 BC. Many people have never heard of it, but most have seen it consumed in TV programs and movies, mostly those taking place in Viking or Renaissance eras. Friar Tuck from Robin Hood was famous for producing mead, and the play Beowulf takes place in a Mead Hall. During the Roman and Greek eras it was known as the Nectar of the Gods and was commonly drank from horns, chalices, goblets or steins.
Mead is also where the term honeymoon originated. The term refers to the requirement of a dowry to contain a month (a moon) worth of mead. It was (my wife and I agree with this) believed that mead helps a couple to conceive a child during the honeymoon.
Traditional meads are meads made using only honey and water, they have no added flavors or colors. We produce traditional meads with varying levels of sweetness. We also produce traditional meads using honey sourced from mostly one type of flower, known in the honey world as a varietal honey. varietal honeys drastically affect the flavor and characteristics of the mead.
A melomel is a mead fermented with added fruits. These fruits are added for flavor, and are in addition to the honey which for us allows the meads to be about the honey and not the fruit. Examples of these meads include Plum, Blueberry and our famous Jamaican cherry. This is our most varied mead category and we are constantly trying out new fruits. We only use whole fruits, often and whenever possible, hand picked by us.
A methleglin is a mead made with the addition of spices, it is the traditional name for a spiced mead. Our 2016 Homebrew Competition Peoples Choice Award winner is a methleglin we named Holiday Spiced Mead. Another example is our Orange Cream, which is imbued with vanilla bean.
This category is for meads that are not part of the other categories. there are very many more styles (we have a poster in the shop which describes many of them). Some examples of these other meads include our Horseradish, habanero, and Caramel meads.
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