What the Heck is Traditional Mead?

Wooden Tankard at Groennfell Meadery“Is this a traditional mug?”

We have a new most common question here at the meadery, just edging out, “Now. what is mead exactly?”

Our new quotidian question is: “Which of these is most like traditional mead?”

The nice thing about the old question is that no matter how tiresome it may get to answer the same question over-and-over again, at least there’s an easy, coherent response. “Mead is honey, water, and yeast. Sometimes other things are added.” Done.

The trick to answering questions about traditional mead is to look deep into the eyes of the interlocutor and attempt to deduce how detailed a response is desired. Once this intense/awkward/seductive/whimsical/passionate/sedate/enlightening eye-lock has been accomplished, we answer in one of three ways.

  1. This one here.
  2. Well, according to the Federal Government and many style-guides, a traditional mead is one which has only honey as a sugar source, and is 7-14% abv. Carbonation, however, is not extremely common in commercial mead, and usually one finds much more residual sweetness than any of our products. The closest would be this one here…
  3. Asking about “traditional mead” is akin to asking, “what did people traditionally look like?” When you have a beverage which has been produced on every inhabited continent for millennia upon millennia, you are talking about a product which has as much variation as human clothing. And, like human clothing, mead is dependent on local flora (and sometimes fauna), how industrialized the civilization happened to be at the time, knowledge of chemical synthesis, cultivation practices, and a million other factors. We know for certain that for most of mead’s history it would not have been dry or as clean as our products (lacking a yeast capable of such an efficient fermentation), nor would it have been heavily carbonated (or for that matter completely still). That said… probably this one here.

You may have noticed that no matter the answer, we have a product that fits the bill. Well, that’s no coincidence. That’s because of our new company policy which reads:
“Ricky, please don’t let intellectual honesty get in the way of another sale.” 

One thought on “What the Heck is Traditional Mead?

  1. LOL This is great! We get this question a lot too and I always struggle with what the answer should be. Are they talking way, way back, or Vikings and medieval castles? Or have they actually heard of mead before and want to know what a Traditional is? Well said!


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