The Story of Mead
The stories of the origins of mead are plentiful, and speculation abounds. This is probably because nobody really knows the whole story for certain. One thing we do know is that it has been around longer than people have been writing down history.
Our favorite story goes something like this:
A long, long time ago, before the invention of writing and polyester, a lucky human stumbled upon the contents of a beehive. The beehive had been left out in the rain, and the honey inside had fermented. Behold; MEAD!
It soon became known as “the nectar of the gods.” King Tut was a satisfied customer, and so were Eric the Red and Queen Elizabeth the First. Enjoyed by paupers, princes and pirates, mead was possibly the world’s favorite drink.
Also known as honey wine, Mead really has been around for millennia. And mead makers, sometimes called mazers, have spent most of that time honing their craft. It could be argued that the wine makers are the copy cats. Mead has a vast history from many lands and civilizations, since the honey bee can be found in China, Africa, Europe, or North America. Because honey was a universal source of sugar for a long time, mead was almost everywhere.
It takes sugar to make alcohol, whether it is grapes, sugarcane, grain sugar or honey. Gotmead.com has lots of additional information. Honey was the dominant sugar of the world until not that long ago. Various events brought an end to universal bee keeping in Europe, and eventually, a shortage of mead. Incidentally, this seems to have happened right about the time North America was being colonized, which left the New World without this delightful drink. Eventually grapes and sugarcane made honey wine scarce all together and the world largely forgot about it, at least for a little while.
Despite its scarcity, the legacy of the nectar of the god’s has lived on in western civilization. The root word for medicine was mead. Hippocrates used fermented honey and elderberry mixtures as cures or medicines. Our Western tradition of taking a honeymoon comes from the medieval European tradition of giving newlyweds a month’s (moons) worth of honey wine. It was believed that the honey elixir would raise the chances of this couple producing male offspring.
The Many Varieties and Names
Not surprisingly with such a vast and long history, mankind has come up with many varieties of mjod(the old Norse word for fermented honey). The fact is, a master mazer can start with honey, water and yeast, and wind up with something that is dry or sweet, still or sparkling, straight up or mixed with fruits or spices. Once man started writing things down, a long tradition of mead was recorded, as well as the names for its variations. No matter what definition of mead you like, honey is the star of the show.
What We Do
Here at Hidden Legend Meadery, we make many of these variations. We divide our honey wines into two categories; contemporary and traditional. Mead has come a long way since honey accidentally fermented in the rain. Our mazer fashions our contemporary products with qualities that are familiar to grape wine drinkers. They are designed to be paired with foods or stand on their own. Hidden Legend's contemporary honey wines sit on the fence between grape wines and traditional meads. They have been described as mead for people who like wine, but these beverages will delight mead drinkers as well. Our contemporary products include our pure, dark, spiced, maple, wild elderberry, wild chokecherry, huckleberry, and peach.
Our traditional line debuted with our King’s Mead and was soon followed by our King’s Pyment and King's Cyser. These honey wines come from a long tradition going back to the beginning of time. We don't know exactly what honey wine would have been like in China around 5000 BC but we do know now that they did drink it. We have crafted our traditional King's line using old world techniques combined with modern technology in an attempt to honor this age old traditional drink.
Whether you are looking for something that is simple or complex, dry or sweet, contemporary or traditional, we have the one you are looking for.