Groennfell Meadery was featured on the WCAX "Made in Vermont" segment on Monday, December 30, 2013. They got some great footage of us brewing a batch of Mannaz. We hope you enjoy the video!
Huge news! As of tomorrow, December 31st 2013, Groennfell Mead is available anywhere in Vermont that you can buy beer, cider, or wine. We are now working with Farrell Distributing, so if you can’t get a bottle at your local bar or liquor store, go ahead and ask for us; Farrell would be more than happy to bring them a case of mead.
Note: The Bourbon Barrel Mead was so popular it's already in development for future release! If this was your favorite, go ahead and vote for your second choice above!
There’s a story going around that a “honeymoon” is so named for the historical practice of drinking mead for the month after a wedding. Some slightly more elaborate versions of this tale state that this was done in the hopes of increasing fertility. You will find this story on so many websites and lists of facts about mead that we won’t even bother giving a citation; Google-up your own citation if you must. Or, better yet, visit almost any meadery in North America.
The term “honeymoon” is a very common one appearing in languages as diverse as Welsh (mis mêl), Portuguese (lua de mel), Hebrew (ירח דבש), Tamil (தேனிலவு ), Arabic (شهر العسل), and Bengali (মধুচন্দ্রিমা). In every case the term translates either to “Honey + Month” or “Honey + Moon.” The mere geographic scope of the word is pretty freakin’ cool. But, abandoning its cognates for a moment, let’s jump back to English.
The earliest citation in English is from 1546, though the term almost certainly predates this substantially, given its linguistic kin and the context in which it is first recorded. In fact, just a few years later in 1552, Abcedarium Anglico-Latinum pro Tyrunculis refers to it as a time which the “vulgar people call the hony mone” indicating that it was already a common term used by the lower class.
So, what does this mean for our pet etymological story?
The list of Red Flags:
1. Every language which has the term “honeymoon” has a word for “mead.” It is quite unlikely that every single one of them would have either chosen to employ (or preserve) the use of “honey” when “meadmoon” could have been substituted.
2. We have no evidence to suggest that the drinking of mead for the first month of a marriage was a common practice anywhere, even with the dipsomaniacal Vikings.
3. The term is present in many cultures which do not commonly consume alcohol (notably in the Middle East and southern India).
4. The earliest etymologies describe the term as “the first month after marriage, when there is nothing but sweetness and pleasure.” (From the famous Samuel Johnson Dictionary of the English Language.)
5. The story sounds like it was made up for marketing mead.
There you have it: Another tour guide etymology shattered! Nevertheless, we now have a fine opportunity presented to us.
Just because the word “honeymoon” doesn’t come from the practice of drinking mead for a straight month after your wedding, it doesn’t mean that you must eschew the opportunity! The photo with this article is one of many bottles of mead enjoyed by the owners on their honeymoon to Norway surrounded by several arcane Norwegian references.
So, in conclusion, if you’re on a tour of a meadery and the tour guide tells you that they have a “honeymoon mead” and proceeds to tell you a cock-and-bull story about where the word comes from, don’t be an asshole. Just keep your damn mouth shut and enjoy the samples.
It’s cold in Vermont today. Tonight it’s going to be very cold. Next week it’s supposed to be very, very cold.
For those of you who are from warmer climes, here’s a quick explanation: If your car starts with just a little bit of complaining, it’s probably just cold out. If you can’t wear jeans anymore because the denim will freeze and crack, then it’s most likely very, very cold. Vermont children start complaining somewhere between the two.
Now, why does this matter to you as a meadmaker? Well, it doesn’t unless you happen to be like our meadmaker: Stingy.
Our meadmaker abides by the belief that paying to heat his apartment is a sign of weakness. This is no joke, Ricky attempts to keep his home warm through the winter exclusively by making soup three times a week on his stove and the metabolic warmth he generates from being alive. When asked whether he’s ever suffered from hypothermia, he tends to respond, “Suffered from? No. I’ve participated in hypothermia on numerous occasions, however.”
This might be possible for Ricky and his perhaps overly-understanding spouse, but cold temperatures are a no-go for yeast. At lower temperatures, mead fermentation becomes sluggish, sometimes even inefficient to a point where it begins producing off flavors.
Over the years, however, Ricky has come up with numerous solutions to his frigid fermentation conundrum. We present, in no particular order:
Ways to Make Mead When Your Home is 52 Degrees Fahrenheit
Well, we hope that one of these works out for you!
Do you have other ideas? Post them in the comments or on our Facebook page. We’d love to know how you brew in the winter.
Groennfell Meadery is Vermont’s premier craft meadery. Inspired by Old Norse legends, brewed with extraordinary ingredients, Groennfell’s meads are unlike anything you’ve had before. Crisp, clean, and astoundingly drinkable, the only way to explain any one of Groennfell’s meads is to try one yourself.