Mead's Big Comeback! October 29 2014
Mead, the ancestor of fermented beverages, is making a huge comeback and meaderies are popping up all over the world once again. Mead, is an alcoholic beverage made from fermenting honey and water. Fruits, spices, grains, and sometimes hops can be added to this process to flavor and preserve the honey wine. Meads can be carbonated, dry, or sweet. The first indication of man's knowledge of mead dates back to 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. Nomads wondering out of Africa to the Mediterranean carried with them bees and honey. They also carried yeast strains, however they did not know.
The origins of mead can be traced back to an African bush. Feral bees were well established and elephants roamed the continent. Extreme conditions of drought during the dry season, and torrential rains in the rainy season were common as they continue to be today. This weather pattern would eventually cause hollows to rot out the crown of the Baobab and Miombo trees where elephants had broken branches. During the dry season, the bees would nest in these hollow trees and during the wet season the hollows would fill with water. Water, honey, osmotolerant yeast, and time created mead! African bushmen would then take the bees and this honey wine with them on their journey. Eventually, mead began to die out and was only presented to royalty. Many blame this on Marco Polo's return to Europe with sugar cane. Thankfully, monasteries kept mead alive! Monks would make beeswax candles from the honey combs from the bees they cultivated. They would wash the honey off of the wax with hot water and create mead for them to enjoy.
Today, there are two organizations that represent the mead market. They are, International Mead Association (IMA) and the International Mead Festival. These organizations are focused on taking mead into the mass market and we think they're doing a pretty good job!
The Porch has some fantastic meads that you should come down and try! Currently, we have Necromangocon from B. Nektar Meadery, Black Fang also by B. Nektar, and Crafted Meadery's Limited Edition Barrel Aged Borealis. There's one Borealis left at The Porch! So come and get it!