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Amazing Mead

Mead was regularly served in the Middle Ages in a hardwood bowl called a Mazer. There is some discussion in the field of etymology that the common word Amazed might be derived from the experience of being served Mead in a Mazer. I.e, if I gave you a bowl of Mead, you would have thereby been A-mazed.

Whatever the truth is behind the word, it is truly amazing how versatile and diverse Mead has been historically. Consider the following:

  • Mead encompasses alcohol content from as low as 2-3% (called hydrogels) to honey wines between 14-21% ABV (called sack meads), and everything in between. In our tasting room, with have a range from 4.8% to 18%.

  • Honey has long been combined with malt grains (braggots), grapes (pyments), stone fruits (melomels), spices (metheglins), and many other adjunct ingredients that were added for taste or for healing virtues (or both). In fact, it is likely that our ancestors began brewing pure malt beers and grape wines after they had first used them as ingredients in Mead recipes.

  • Not a little of the healthcare in the historical past involved including herbs in home brewed Mead, carefully selected for their known benefits in treating various physical issues and maladies. The Mead makers were typically older matriarch family members who were skilled herbalists. The image of an old hag bent over and stirring an iron cauldron full of bubbling broth while throwing in obscure herbs has in more recent times been attached to witchcraft. But originally it was our family doctors, otherwise known as Grandma.

  • It is well known that consuming local honey has beneficial effects on our allergic responses to airborne pollen. It is likely that some of that benefit transfers to fermented Mead provided that Mead is made from local honey, and the honey has not been filtered or pasteurized before fermentation.

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