Building a Foundation of Mead

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  • By Nic Bradley
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Building a Foundation of Mead

As ancient as any beverage on earth, mead, also known as "honey wine" has found new life with inspired artisan producers.

What is mead, you ask?

 

Mead is simply the product of yeast turning honey and water into alcohol.  It’s as simple as that.  Because mead has a lot of the same processes and equipment as wine making, some refer to it as honey wine. But given that the base ingredient is different, you cannot simply lump mead in with wine.

 

Mead is as old as time, but also as new as the day.  An archaeological dig turned up mead-like beverages in burial sites such as King Midas, and as long ago as 8,000 years.  For centuries, honey was the most prominent source of sugar, which meant that mead was aplenty.  

 

In the 1600’s more affordable sugars became available and mead was nearly forgotten about.   Eventually, the fermentation of grapes and sugarcane (and eventually barley) made the fermentation of honey scarce.  

 

In the last few decades, though, mead has made a roaring comeback with history buffs and hipsters alike jumping on the bandwagon.

 

The Taste of Mead

What does mead taste like?

 

In its most simplistic and basic form, mead tastes like the flower that the bees were pollinating. It is rich, earthy, and floral.  But mead doesn’t just stop there. The different yeast strains and different varietals of honey all add to the flavor of the mead.  Other things can be added to manipulate the taste like spices, vegetables, fruits, nuts, cocoa, the list goes on and on.

The general conception is that mead is inherently sweet. This is not always the case though. Mead can be dry or sweet and all levels of sweetness that exist in between. There are many different styles of mead like there are in wine, beer, or cider and even has its own category of hybrids with these alcoholic beverages.

 

Though meaderies are not as prevalent as breweries are in the United States there are a few meaderies that are very well known, worldwide. One of which we are able to bring into The Wine Country. Superstition Meadery out of Prescott AZ has made a name for itself for its wide range of styles of mead and has continued to earn medal after medal at the Mazer cup (known as one of the biggest mead competitions in the world). Their Berry White series are always a great grab at The Wine Country. They are an impeccable combination of berries(be it raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, or strawberry), white chocolate, and honey. The Berry White series are their most highly decorated meads in the Mazer Cup. Another great grab from Superstition Meadery is the highly sought after and extremely unique Peanut Butter Jelly Crime, a mead aged on peanuts with blueberry juice added. Peanut Butter Jelly Crime was a bronze medal winner in the 2017 Mazer Cup.

Superstition Berry White Series - $84.99/500ml

Berry White, Straw Berry White, Blue Berry White, Black Berry White

Superstition Peanut Butter Jelly Crime - $39.99/750ml

 

We will be hosting our very first evening mead tasting on August 2nd for the 7 at 7 (honey)wine tasting, 7 p.m. at The Wine Country.  Cost is just $30 to sample 7 of our most outstanding meads   Both of the previously mentioned Superstition meads will be on display as well as a few other slices of honey heaven. Give us a call or sign up next time you’re in the store!

 

Featured Meaderies:

Superstition Meadery

Moonlight Meadery

Dansk 

B. Nektar

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