Stylin’ & Profilin’: What Is Mead?

Stylin’ & Profilin’ is a brief look at different adult beverage styles that will help you learn whether they’re right for you. Ultimately, words can’t be the only driving force behind turning you on to a new beer, wine, or spirit. You have to smell, taste, and savor each sip to truly discover if it’s one you’ll come back to in the future. But the background info obtained in this post won’t hurt anything either. In addition, Stylin’ & Profilin’ takes a glance at various elements of libations culture to further enhance your knowledge and know-how!

What Is Mead?

One of the greatest elements of today’s brewing culture is the willingness of brewers, distillers, and vintners to push the envelope with each of their creations. As enthusiasts, we often seek new twists and variations on base products (barrel-aged beer, etc.), thus fueling the creative drive of these artists and leading to some phenomenal beverages that keep us imbibed and satisfied with each and every sip.

In most cases, fans of libations will prefer one beverage over another, but won’t hesitate to indulge in something new and exciting to keep things interesting. For example, beer has always been my go-to, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good bourbon or glass of wine from time to time. Today’s drinking scene is overflowing with choices as far as the eye can see, all of which challenge the palate and allow you to escape the doldrums of the mass-produced beverages that once dominated store shelves, bar taps, and commercial blocks.

One exciting beverage to hit the scene in recent years has been mead. A drink with a long, rich history, mead is simply a beverage born from fermenting honey with water and any variety of hops, spices, grains, or fruits. The end result is a close cousin to wine, but with a much sweeter character and alcohol by volume (ABV) starting around 8% and ranging up to and above the 20% plateau. The sweetness of mead makes it very easy to consume, but the high ABV will sneak up on you if you’re not careful. In other words, just like any adult beverage: enjoy responsibly!

According to Liquor.com, there are signs that mead could very well be the ancestor of all alcoholic beverages. When Vikings were crossing the oceans, mead made the trek with them. King Midas’ golden goblet? Filled to the brim with mead. It was enjoyed by fictional heroes, Greek gods, and all manner of royalty. Chinese vessels dating back to 7,000 B.C. suggest evidence of mead fermentation many, many years prior to the birth of beer and wine. Throughout time, the popularity of this beverage waned, but today’s libations landscape has mead poised for an epic comeback and many brewing professionals have chosen mead as their labor of love.

The video below is courtesy of Scott Neeley, Founder of Pleasant Hills-based KingView Mead, one of several award-winning meaderies throughout the state of Pennsylvania bringing this product into the mainstream:

 

KingView Draft MeadAs the video states, KingView Mead has gained nationwide recognition thanks to an extensive portfolio and has also released Pittsburgh’s first Draft Mead. Draft mead delivers a new twist on a popular offering, housed in smaller packaging and boasting lower alcohol content. At 6.9% ABV, these draft meads tip the scale lower than their honey-based brethren, but are more accessible to the consumer with recent changes in Pennsylvania liquor and distribution laws. KingView’s “Your Number Draft Mead” and “Orange Shandy Draft Mead” have hit the shelves of many bottle shops throughout the Pittsburgh region.

“We have delivered to some distributors around Pittsburgh and surrounding counties and are already receiving positive feedback,” Neeley stated.

Mead is a gluten-free beverage and presents a wonderful alternative to beer and wine drinkers looking for something different or those hampered with gluten deficiencies that can’t enjoy a beer. Many local bars and breweries offer mead alongside their typical craft beer and wine selections, thus shining light on another successful category in the adult beverage landscape and ensuring every guest will find a beverage they enjoy.

Regardless of your preference, mead is worth adding to your beverage priority list. If you’d like to know more about the wonderful world of mead, you can join Scott at The Mansions on Fifth Ave in Downtown Pittsburgh on Wednesday, February 1st from 6:00-8:00pm for Meet Up Mead Up. Tickets cost $15 at the door and include samplings of a variety of different meads, light fare, and an opportunity to get answers to your burning questions about this in-demand alcohol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jason Cercone

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