Obviously, to some extent, this proclamation issues from individuals who have only imbibed incompetently homebrewed concoctions or overly-sweet commercial meads.
And yet, more often than not, it comes from mead fans, even Certified Meadiacs. Why should our regulars be surprised to like a mead from their local mead hall and from one of their favorite meadmakers? Because Ricky and Erik make weird stuff sometimes.
We have brewed with everything from coffee to smoked tea, peppers to Italian seasoning, hot sauce to melon liqueur. Have they all been great? No. Have they all been drinkable? Oddly enough, yes.
So how do you do it? How do you make a new Firkin Friday week after week without a real swing-and-a-miss?
There are three tricks:
- You brew a lot.
- You eat and drink a lot.
- You pay attention when doing any of the above.
Cuisines from all around the world have been using honey for millennia. Spicy works with honey, sour works with honey, fruits work with honey, herbs work with honey, nuts work with honey, different varietal honeys even work together. There really is no better base product for experimenting with wild flavors than mead.
So, really, the trick is to start thinking in reverse. Rather than thinking of what ingredients might go in mead, try to think of things which you already put honey in.
Do you add lemon and honey to your tea? That’s how we invented Buckland Mead!
Do you put honey in your BBQ Sauce? That’s where Campfire came from.
Do you like Malaysian honey chicken? That’s the inspiration for our first pepper-spiced mead.
Really, it’s that easy, but it all starts with paying attention. Start thinking in terms of flavor profiles and you’ll automatically start thinking outside of the box.
Heck, if the guys over at Burlington Beer Company managed to make an absolutely killer beer with peanut butter in it, you know the old bard was right when he said,
There are more blends in heaven and earth, dear Meadiac,
than are dreamt of in your Papazian.