Mead has seen quite a resurgence in recent years. Some have attributed it to
TV shows like Game of Thrones, but a lot of newer producers seem to have
taken inspiration from the rise of craft beer and cider.
In a traditional mead recipe, it is common to ferment until fermentation stops
naturally. This produces a wine-strength drink with residual sugar left in
most cases (since honey is so high in sugar) as most yeasts will be killed off
around 14% to 15% ABV. However, we are now seeing meads from producers
such as Zymurgorium, Gosnells, and Mabinogion made in the 5% to 7% ABV range.
These are more comparable (and drinkable) like a craft beer.
The prolific Scottish producer, The Rookery, makes mead under
the “craft mead” label as well, but their offerings are higher than wine
strength even. In this case, it appears they are referring to the small-batch,
hand-made approach to their mead production.
These “craft” meads represent a very modern revival of mead. While there is
also a rise in producers making traditional meads, melomels and metheglins,
the craft producers are bringing some unusual twists and eccentric creativity
in some cases.
We only have to look at anything made by Zymurgorium to see
the embodiment of the craft movement out of Greater Manchester in the form
of mead, gins and liqueurs. Their meads — as it the case with
[Gosnells][/gosnells/] — are all made to beer strength and sold in 300ml
bottles. In fact, in many cases their labels would blend in with a fridge full
of craft beers.
In the case of The Rookery, we are seeing a producer creating
so many interesting flavours of meads, that we’re yet to try even half of them!
I was greeted with a virtual geyser of fizz on opening this one. Whether warm
or chilled, this is a lively cyser (honey cider or mead
with apples). This comes from the Manchester-based
Zymurgorium “craft” meadery, distillery, brewery and cidery.