Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thorvald's Mead

Mead (honey wine) has probably been around as long as mankind has roamed the earth collecting honey from wild hives and then later domesticating bees. Mead dates back to pre-history so we don’t know its exact origin but, we can take a guess. It is likely that is was discovered by accident. This has been the case with so many of the things we eat and drink today like cheese or Champaign. It was probably discovered when honey got wet and diluted enough to allow fermentation to start and then was refined over time.

The problem with mead making has been the natural preservatives in honey which can make fermentation challenging. Mead also took much longer than grapes to ferment with the yeasts of those times. Mead’s only advantage was the existence of honey everywhere while grapes were only in a few places. The spread of grapes around the known world and better ships and transportation systems left mead behind, but not dead.

Mead’s history is filled with stories of conquering heroes, villains, and intrigue. It was the preferred drink of Robin Hood’s merry men as well as the Knights of the Round Table. Regular folks as well as kings and queens have enjoyed mead equally. Mead has been forgotten by many but this ageless drink has not disappeared and will outlast us all. Its history is filled with intrigue and it has become a Hidden Legend. Thorvald (the Viking) is our connection to the past. He has fought in many battles for many different reasons but always drank mead. He has enjoyed meads from many lands and gotten to see the advancement of wine making technology to the point where we can now easily ferment honey and control the outcome. With age, Thorvald has put down his sword in order to enjoy the finer things in life. The evolution of mead to the point where it is comparable to the finest grape wines in flavor and sophistication is more exciting to him than storming the fortified towns of the Englishmen he tormented. While Thorvald remains a simple man, his pallet has evolved and he demands perfection. The ingredients in our mead are the finest in the world. From the honey that is produced in Montana with pride, to the wild berries collected from the mountains and valleys of the Rockies, only the best will do.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mead for Everyone

Mead is one of the oldest fermented beverages in the world. It predates history so no one is really sure where it was first made or by whom, but it has been written about in some of the oldest recorded literature. Literature like Beowulf where all the Vikings got together and drank mead in the "Mead Hall." Mead has been found preserved in jars on ships that sank in the Mediterranean and is believed to be the root word of medicine as Hippocrates used mead as one of his foundation medicines. What is mead? you ask....

Mead is wine made from honey. Don't let this mislead you though, it is wine because it is made in the same fashion as grape wine through cold fermentation, but it stands on its own as a unique drink that can be drank in its pure form or blended with any flavor imaginable. It is interesting to note that Hippocrates used mead in medicine because mead maintains a lot of the health qualities of honey. Meads also do not require sulfates in the fermentation process because of the preserving qualities of honey which make oxidation a moot point. This is also cool because you can keep an open bottle around for weeks and the honey wine will not change like grape wines do after you open a bottle.

Whether you have never heard of mead or just read about it and have never given it another thought, you should try mead. There are plenty of meaderies in the United States though it is not always easy to find mead in your local wine store. The Internet has changed things a little in that if you live in a state that allows it, you can order mead and have it shipped to your door. Hidden Legend Winery is a good place to buy mead because they produce award wining meads and if you order three or more bottles you will get free shipping. Another option is to make your own mead by combining honey, water, and yeast. There are dozens of recipes available by just doing a simple search online. Whether you go to someplace like Hidden Legend Winery or make your own, you should try mead, it is arguably the oldest fermented beverage on the planet.