Sorry craft beer, your little cousin’s all grown up – ancient, enigmatic mead is poised to become America’s new booze of choice. They say history repeats itself, and in this case, we can’t wait. Are you ready to fill your AleHorn drinking horn with mead?
It’s steeped in history and legend
While the first planted harvested hops and grapes were still just gleams in a caveman’s eye, bees had been busy doing their thing for time immeasurable. The simplicity of mead’s recipe (honey + yeast + water + time = party) led to its independent discovery by people all over the world from Africa to China.
Just like today, alcohol was one of the ancient world’s greatest unifying forces. No matter where your ancestors came from, there’s a good chance they drank mead out of cow horns.
Mead’s also become a very important thread in our common cultural fabric. George R.R. Martin and J.R. Tolkien and Chaucer are just a few of the storytellers who have used honey brew to add richness to their tales.
After hundreds of years of playing second fiddle, mead is back!
Last year, American Mead Makers Association reported a 42% spike in business, which they attribute to the recent resurgence of fantasy epics like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. Since 2011, mead’s become the fastest growing alcoholic beverage category in the US.
The sheer number of mead breweries means that the quality and variety will only increase as mead’s popularity gains steam, so you can become a mazer in no time.
It’s easy to make your own
Even though it’s ridiculously simple to make, different factors will affect the taste of your mead, from the location of the hive right down to the composition of your water. Many mazers even choose to add spice or fruit to change the flavor.
It’s friggin’ delicious
One reason you may not find mead at the bar right away is because it defies categorization. It’s not made with a fruit or grain, and it’s not even honey wine, which is something else entirely. This makes it tough to label and even tougher to regulate.
Mead can be dry and subtle or as sweet as dessert. It can be flat or bubbly. Drink it chilled or warm. If you haven’t had it, forget what you think it might taste like – its complexity and variety deserves an open mind.
Do it for the bees
It may not be scientifically proven that using more honey products saves bees, but the recent plague of colony collapse has made it essential to shift our focus to preserving hives. The more we value the work bees do, the more we’ll put into saving them. Falling in love with mead is a great way for us to connect with these ancient messengers of the gods.