On Mead Day, first Saturday of August, I attended a mead class at F.B. Steinbarts in Portland, OR. Mead, simply put, is a fermented honey drink, sometimes called honey wine. It is as simple as fermenting honey and water, but there are other words for mead if other ingredients are added, such as:
Braggot – a mead made with malted grain, usually malted barley.
Cyser – a melomel made with apples
Melomel – mead made with fruit
Metheglin – mead made with spices
Pyment – melomel made with grape juice
And many more lesser known kinds…
After learning how to make fruit wine, I have thought about dabbling a bit with mead. Mead is a honey wine, made by diluting honey usually with water. However, due to Oregon homebrew laws, they could not actually demonstrate how to make mead because it is so simple to make. It shouldn’t be cooked like beer, or it will lose its aromas, and it doesn’t need to be sulfites or pH balanced like wines. Honestly, after the honey is diluted, they can add yeast, which is when it becomes illegal to transport homebrew in Oregon.
So the event ended up being talking about making mead, sampling some meads, and tasting honey. They must have had about 30 different jars of honey, including honey made from the nectar or alfalfa, buckwheat, blueberry, clover, holly, honey, poison oak, pumpkin, thistle, and wildflower. Interestingly, items like poison oak, which causes people to get rashes due to the oil in the leaves, does not have the same poisonous oil in the nectar, making it safe to consume.