Mead is an ancient beverage made from just honey, water, and yeast. Modern versions can be sweet or dry, still or sparkling. It can be punched up with fruit or fruit juice (to make melomel), hops (to make miodomel), herbs (to make metheglin), or barley (to make braggot). Mead is very easy to brew—you simply mix the three ingredients and wait. But there are a few techniques and methods that can contribute to a superior mead.
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It can be challenging for a beverage older than agriculture to maintain its relevance over the years. Indeed, you rarely see mead these days except at Renaissance Festivals or as a novelty at a theme party. Maine Mead Works is on a mission to change all that. Using cutting edge techniques—continuous fermentation, for one—and inventive flavorings, such as hops and lavender, they have crafted some dangerously drinkable booze.
Braggots are hybrid beers—part barley-based ale, part honey-based mead. In ye olde Viking times, they were made by mixing the two beverages together; presumably you stirred them into a plundered goblet or a spare Grendel skull you had lying around. However, modern brewers who produce the style tend to mix the honey and malts together before fermentation begins rather than blending two separate batches afterward.