What Is Mead?
Mead is any fermented beverage in which the primary fermentables come from honey. All mead, regardless of style, includes three ingredients: Water, Honey, and Yeast. To this, most mead makers also add: yeast nutrient, clarifying agents (also known as finings), and stabilizing agents.
Archeological evidence suggests that humans have been intentionally producing mead since 7000 BCE. It has a long and storied history with social and religious import ranging from the Hindu Rigveda in 1700 BCE to Greek Myth to the Viking Age and modern Scandinavian culture.
Is Mead Wine?
No. Mead is mead. While it is true that some meads are wine-like, the same can be true for beer (e.g. Lambics and Bière-de-Champagne). It is also true that mead is classified by the Alcohol and Tobacco Taxation Board (TTB) as “Agricultural Wine,” but so are cider and saké.
Mead is its own beverage with an enormous range of potential flavor, sweetness, and alcohol profiles. Saké and mead have suffered similarly from being thought of as wines. Saké has really only begun to gain traction in the American market since importers and producers have taken an active role in saké education and terminology. We at Groennfell believe the same of mead: only when patrons understand that mead is its own distinct beverage will it really carve out a share in the overall alcoholic beverage market in the United States.
How Is It Made?
Essentially, mead is no more complicated than mixing together honey, water, yeast, and nutrient, and then being patient. Nominal complexity is added when recipes become more involved with fruit, extract, and herb additions, but all of these are, in and of themselves, no more complicated than remembering to do them at the right time with proper sanitization.