Monday, February 1st, 2021

Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Mead On The Fly

Ron Swarner

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Mead, which is made of honey and water fermented with yeast, is perhaps the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world. Mead-making likely started when a sack of honey would catch some rain, which leads to fermentation. Consuming what’s in the bag would create a state of inebriation, which of course led people to experiment with making more. A process evolved. Often associated with the Viking Age, enjoyed by the ancient Greeks and mentioned in Chaucer’s 14th-century The Canterbury Tales, mead is having resurgence thanks to the craft brewing trend and Game of Thrones. But far from the sticky-sweet beverage sold at Renaissance festivals, modern mead is lighter in taste and can be consumed like a glass of wine or beer. Meads of the moment are carbonated and may be dry, semi-dry or sweet. It ranges in alcoholic content but often settles between 14 and 20 percent. Today, we offer a flight of mead we call Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Mead On The Fly.

Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Mead On The Fly

Artivem Red Tailed Hawk

12.5% ABV

Some call it honey wine, though the term is not endorsed by its makers. Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from honey, yeast, water, and often fruits, spices, and herbs. It ranges in alcoholic content but often settles between 14 and 20 percent. Artivem Mead Co., located in the Granary Building on Bellingham’s waterfront, is the newest addition to the Western Washington mead scene. Their Red Tailed Hawk is perfect blend of raspberry and peanut butter. This smooth, semi-sweet mead is reminiscent of a simpler time.

KVLT Aquelarre Dry Black Currant Mead

14% ABV

The metal community has, for the past few years, been riding a wave of interest in so-called “pagan metal” and “folk metal.” From lyrical content to compositions and instrumentation rooted in centuries-old traditions, these metal subgenres sing about trolls and drink mead. If you’re into pegan metal, we suggest you pair the music with KVLT Mead, Washington state’s mead and metal minded folks. The Tacoma nanomeadery’s meads are crafted from Cascade glacial waters and regional ingredients. Their Aquelarre is a dark berry semisweet mead that drinks like a dry fruit mead or a light-bodied red wine. It’s tart, spicy and complex. The simplicity of the clover honey is the vehicle to allow the black fruitiness to dominate. Tahitian vanilla bean and orange peel add flavor complexity bringing flavors of cherry, citrus, and a hint of black licorice.

Schramm’s Mead The Statement

14% ABV

Since opening in Ferndale, Michigan, in September of 2013, Schramm’s Mead has been “mead-andering” across the country. Ken Schramm’s highly sought-after mead has pushed his small artisanal meadery and its offerings to the top echelons of beer ratings sites. Schramm literally wrote the book on mead. His The Compleat Meadmaker was released in 2003 and is still considered the reference book for meadmaking. Schramm’s Mead The Statement offers flavor of Batalon cherries melding inconspicuously with the sweetness of honey. The sourness of the Batalon cherries takes the center stage compared to the sweetness of the honey.

Dansk Mjød Viking Blod

19% ABV

Dansk Mjød, Scandinavia’s largest meadery, makes meads with Danish recipes from the 1700s. Each batch is fermented then fortified with neutral spirit. This process not only helps to halt fermentation before all the unique characteristics of the honey are lost, but also extends the shelf life of the mead nearly indefinitely. Dansk Mjød’s Viking Blod comes in a kickass heavy, black bottle and contains hibiscus, hops and spices. It smells like flowers and tastes like Valhalla. While you can’t really taste the hops, the hibiscus cuts the sweetness of the honey, thus keeping the mead from being too cloying in its flavor.