Saturday, February 11, 2012

Southern Spotlight: Georgia Mead? Indeed!

Mead starts out like this...sort of

  In my profession, I have the great privilege of learning about and trying a wide array of culinary pleasures, namely alcohol and cheese (what else do you really need anyway?). I particularly enjoy trying new local products. One such product that came in recently is a little different from most. Mead. Excuse me...Meeeaaad! It is very important to address it's name properly, you really have to kind of shout it. Using some sort of Celtic accent is even better.
  Anyway, turns out that Georgia now has a meadery called Monk's Mead. If you aren't familiar with this elixir (which you probably are not, it's not very well known in the Western world), allow me to quickly school you.
  Mead is often referred to as honey wine, aptly so because it is essentially a fermented honey beverage. Monk's Mead brews their's with honey, water, and yeast. Other traditional methods include grains, fruits, hops, and spices. Mead can be still or sparkling, sweet or dry. It is referred to as the "ancestor to all fermented drinks". Many regard this ancient beverage as a powerful aphrodisiac. It is claimed that the term "honeymoon" comes from the European tradition of supplying a newlywed couple with enough mead to last a month.
  Martin Key and Justin Schoendorf are the creators of Monk's Mead, which is currently brewed out of Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens. I now have these two to thank for my current and ever demanding goblet obsession. I see a visit to the Renaissance Festival in the very near future. Which ironically is where I first tried mead (I enjoy Monk's take on it much more).

Try to find a better mead vessel. I dare you.

  Even if you've never tried mead, one whiff of Monk's Mead and it's obvious that it was brewed with honey. The upfront aromas are powerfully sweet and floral, just like a really good Georgia Tupelo honey (my fave). Take a sip and it is about the same, only the sweetness is much more subtle and with a pleasant boozy kick. It is at once both dry and sweet with fizzy hints at Champagne, only much more enjoyable in my opinion. And at 12.9% alcohol, it's nothing to laugh at (depending on how much you have I guess). While it is certainly the perfect drink to imbibe in on a blustery cold day (with pancakes...and noon....), it would be equally good on a summer day due to it's refreshing fruitiness and dry finish.
  It is currently only available on draft at these places, and you can come see me for a Growler fill. ;)