Mead or “honey wine” is an alcoholic beverage, made from honey and water via fermentation with yeast. Its alcoholic content may range from that of a mild ale to that of a strong wine. It may be still, carbonated, or sparkling; it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.(1)
Most likely the oldest alcoholic beverage, mead can be made simply by diluting raw honey with water and letting the naturally occurring yeasts ferment it. The majority of contemporary mead producers however add lab-grown yeast to ensure a quick fermentation.
Honey is a rather variable agricultural product. The flavor, color, and sugar content of the honey change with the seasons based on the nectar sources available to the honeybees. This variability combined with the advent of the “modern” wine bottle and cork that made shipping and trading wine easier, the decline in bee keeping, an increase in beer making and cheaper sugar for other beverages contributed to the decline of mead’s popularity.
Luckily, a renewed interest in “craft” and Local products has brought interest back to mead. Mead can be produced completely locally in Georgia. Raw local honey is available all over the state (pretty much anywhere in the world as well) and a wide variety of seasonal fruits, herbs and spices to complement the honey are also accessible.
Mead also tastes wonderful…just thought I should mention that important fact as well.
Producing mead in Georgia and creating demand for it would support the local economy, sustainable agriculture and the health of the bee population. These are the main reasons why I’ve had so much interest in the beverage. I have been brewing mead at home for some time now and will be brewing it commercially soon…hope that you will buy a bottle from me when it’s ready.
What have your experiences been with mead? Good, bad, indifferent…I’d love to hear them.
Photo credit: looseends1. Rose, Anthony H. (1977). Alcoholic Beverages. Michigan: Academic Press. pp. 413.