Michael Sanders
 Carly Cope, with son Laughlin, on the bottle-labeling line at Maine Mead Works, which she and her husband, Ben Alexander, own. Credit Craig Dilger for The New York Times

Carly Cope, with son Laughlin, on the bottle-labeling line at Maine Mead Works, which she and her husband, Ben Alexander, own. Credit Craig Dilger for The New York Times

Put a glass of white wine to your nose, and, with the right winemaker and the right grapes, floral notes rise up. With a glass of mead, it is as if you were holding the flowers themselves.

“One bottle of mead is made from a half-pound of honey,” said Mark Beran of Medovina Meadery in Niwot, Colo. “That’s the nectar of one million flowers.”

Mr. Beran, who started as a beekeeper, makes 250 cases of mead each year from the honey of his own hives. “The honeybee is the mother of the fermented beverage industry,” he insisted.

For centuries, people around the world have taken this most convenient and natural sweetener, added water and let yeast from the open air change sugar to alcohol and, presto, booze.

But with the proliferation of other things to drink, mead, once a staple of so many cultures, faded into such ignominy that most of us know it as only something poured by a guy in a funny hat at a Renaissance Faire.

Now, from Portland, Me., to Portland, Ore., and from Alaska to Hawaii, mead’s reputation is being restored. This may be partly due to the explosion in styles of mead as its makers move past the sweet, slightly caramelized, honey-forward traditional mead of that Renaissance Faire. Today, you can find local meads dry-hopped and as flinty and sere as the bleakest unoaked Chablis; light summer quaffers with the freshness and subtle bubbles of a good prosecco; complex, multilayered dessert meads perfect with chocolate; even seasonal meads flavored with saffron, sage, fruits or juniper berries.

Full Article: So Old It’s New, Mead Enjoys a Renaissance

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Vicky Rowe
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