You folks have been asking a long time for this and it’s finally happening—a mead tasting! Whee! Jason from Asheville’s very first meadery, Fox Hill, joins us to sample and share his sweet delectables. And, let it be known: Mead is fairly strong. (Just so you know.) For those unfamiliar with mead, here’s a little Wikipedia history:
Mead is a beverage typically alcoholic, made from honey and water, by fermentation with yeast. Its alcoholic content may range from that of a mild ale to that of a strong wine. It may be still, carbonated, or sparkling. It may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet. Mead is independently multicultural. It is known from many sources of ancient history throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, although archaeological evidence of it is ambiguous.Its origins are lost in prehistory.
The first known description of mead is in the hymns of the Rigveda,one of the sacred books of the historical Vedic religion and (later) Hinduism dated around 1700-1100 BC. During the “Golden Age” of Ancient Greece, mead was said to be the preferred drink. Aristotle (384-322 BC) discussed mead in his Meteorologica and elsewhere, while Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) called mead militites in his Naturalis Historia and differentiated wine sweetened with honey or “honey-wine” from mead.
Around AD 550, the Cumbric speaking bard Taliesin wrote the Kanu y med or “Song of Mead.”The legendary drinking, feasting and boasting of warriors in the mead hall is echoed in the mead hall Dyn Eidyn (modern day Edinburgh), and in the epic poem Y Gododdin, both dated around AD 700. The Heorot in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf also was known to host the drinking of mead.
Mead was the historical beverage par excellence and commonly brewed by the Germanic tribes in Northern Europe. However, heavy taxation and regulations governing the ingredients of alcoholic beverages led to commercially made mead becoming a more obscure beverage until recently. Some monasteries kept up the old traditions of mead-making as a by-product of beekeeping, especially in areas where grapes could not be grown.
FOX HILL Traditional Mead
“Our Traditional Mead is semi-sweet, made from multiple honey varieties and is aged with oak. The resulting mead is wonderfully complex! We recommend the mead to be served at cellar temperature (around 50 to 60 degrees F). Try this one with smoked almonds or chocolate.” [13.0% abv]
FOX HILL Blackberry Honey-wine
“Our Blackberry Honey Wine (mead) is a light, refreshing, fruity style—off-dry to semi-sweet. We’ve aged this one with oak, but not as heavily as some of our other styles. We recommend the mead to be served chilled, but not ice cold. Drink it with some brie cheese.” [11.7% abv]
FOX HILL Ginger-Apricot
“Our Ginger-Apricot Honey Wine (mead) is a wonderful meld of ginger spice, apricot tanginess, and honey sweetness! As with all of our meads, it was aged with oak. A light woodiness accompanies the other flavors to perfection! This is a very versatile mead to pair with food. Great with barbecued meat or seared tuna.” [12.0% abv]
FOX HILL Spiced Mead
Our newest mead, this Spiced blend is already the most popular! The blend of allspice, cinnamon, orange zest, and cloves took us a while to nail down, but it was worth the effort. This one really does have to be tasted, and smelled, to be believed. The mead was aged with oak, and the mead is sweet, but very drinkable due to the balance of the spice. Our Spiced Mead is wonderful just by itself as you sit in a rocking chair by the fire or out on the deck watching the sun go down. But if you want to pair it with some food, try apple pie! [11.0% abv]