I can’t believe we’ve finally reached the last installment of Into the Pint Glass! It’s been a fun year — I’ve learned so much about the histories of various beer styles and discovered new favorites along the way. This link-up, as always, is hosted by Mariah and Katie. Today we’re talking about Mead!
Before this week, I’d never tried mead outside of a renaissance fair setting. In fact, I’d never even thought to try mead at home. It was relatively difficult to find in my liquor store — hidden in the very back, on the bottom shelf, next to the dessert wines. Even after the employees had pointed us in the right direction, it took several moments to locate the few bottles we had to choose from.
What is mead, exactly? Similar to wine (and, in fact, often referred to as honey wine), it’s made through the fermentation of honey with water. Fruits, spices, grains, or hops are occasionally added to expand the flavor.
Mead is significant to our understanding of beer because it was the first known fermented beverage: the earliest ancestor to all fermented drinks. Traces of it can be found in ancient Chinese pottery as early as 7000 BC and in European ceramics around 2800 BC.
Over time, regulations, taxation, and newer varieties of fermented beverages aided in pushing mead into obscurity. That is, until its recent revitalization at renaissance fairs worldwide.
Brewed locally in Santa Cruz, California, this mead is brewed with three types of local California honey and without artificial flavors. It can be enjoyed chilled or mulled in spices (a packet of mulling spices comes included with each bottle). I chose to enjoy it mulled in spices, and thus cannot speak to its flavor when chilled.
It pours a deep yellow-gold, the mulling spices extremely present in the scent — particularly cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. The scent of sweet honey is extremely present as well. The mead’s flavor is smooth and sweet, but mild; there is no tartness here at all. With an ABV of 10.5%, I can certainly feel myself getting tipsy, but can’t taste any alcohol whatsoever. Overall, this is a very pleasant drink.
Did you try a mead for this week’s Into the Pint Glass? What have your favorite beers been throughout the challenge?
Like this post? Check out the rest of the series.