What is Mead?
Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from honey. In the same way that beer is made from barley and wine is made from grapes, mead simply means honey. It is also gluten free!
It can be made in many different styles. It can be more like beer, more like wine, sweet, dry, still or sparkling. You can use only honey or add nearly anything to flavor it from berries and other fruits to herbs, spices and more.
Our meads tend to be more wine or spirit-like though we do make a line of session meads which are lower ABV and carbonated in cans that are wonderfully refreshing. Our barrel-aged meads are particularly unique.
Mead is believed to be the oldest fermented beverage, predating even beer and wine. Nearly every ancient culture that had access to honey, independently figured out how to turn it into alcohol.
Exploring the Varied Types of Mead
The world of mead is vast and varied, with each type offering its unique flavor profile and characteristics. As mead makers experiment and draw from historical recipes, a multitude of mead varieties have emerged. Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular types:
Traditional Mead: This is the purest form of mead, made only from honey, water, and yeast. Without the addition of other flavorings or fruits, the quality and characteristics of the honey used take center stage.
Melomel: This is a fruit-infused mead. Depending on the fruits used, there are sub-categories like:
Pyment: Mead made with grapes or grape juice, often resembling wine.
Cyser: Mead made with apples or apple juice.
Hydromel: A lighter version of mead, hydromel is diluted and has a lower alcohol content, making it similar to beer in its strength.
Braggot: A blend of beer and mead, braggot is made by fermenting honey with malted grain. Depending on the recipe, it can either lean more towards beer or mead in flavor.
Bochet: A unique type of mead where the honey is caramelized or burned before fermentation, giving the drink a rich, toasty flavor.
Capsicumel: A spicy mead made by adding chili peppers. It offers a delightful blend of sweetness from the honey and heat from the peppers.
Acerglyn: A rare type of mead made by blending honey with maple syrup, resulting in a delightful mix of the two sweeteners’ distinct flavors.
Metheglin: While originally referring to mead infused with herbs and spices, it’s commonly associated with any spiced mead today.
If these unique and sometimes archaic names sound intimidating, don’t worry, you don’t have to use them. Mead culture is thankfully fairly open-minded and laid back. As long as you are enjoying what you are drinking, that’s all that matters.
To dive even deeper into what mead can be, check out our post “What is mead?“.
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