Greetings and welcome to my new brewers column. Wines, ales, and drinks of many sorts have
been known to pass the lips of many an attendee at our gathers. Whilst I enjoy these other
pleasures myself, my first love is mead. But what exactly is mead? And where does it come
from? Answering these questions is my first job. There are many historians
and experts who believe that mead was the first alcoholic beverage made by man. The
Egyptian and Greek empires were known to produce this as long ago as five thousand years.
Fruits were not as widely grown in ancient times and thus were not used as early for
winemaking. Cane sugar was completely unknown as well. This left honey as the primary
sweetener for making wines. When honey is diluted with water and allowed to ferment mead
is the result. When different ingredients are added to this basic recipe the mead is known
by a different name. Following are some of the most common of these:
Melomel- honey mixed with fruit juice and fermented. A few exceptions exist.
Cyser- a mead formed from honey and apple juice. Obviously this is one of those exceptions.
Pyment- grape wine with honey added.
Hippocras- a mead made from honey,
grape juice, and herbs. Named after the
Greek Hippocrates the father of medicine. He was known to make such meads.
Metheglin- mead with herbs and spices added. This is named after the Welsh word medclyglin or medicine.
Well, that is enough for now. In the following ARTICLES I will explore a few stories and myths surrounding mead, I will get into the actual brewing process, and reveal what equipment is required for that purpose. Mayhap we shall even explore the joys of ale brewing as well. 'Till then raise a glass and toast the bee, for without him we would have no honey and therefore no mead!
a bit of mead lore...