HELLO, HUMAN. We’re glad we have your attention. This is a far better medium for doing so than our usual method, i.e. buzzing around your face until you flail like a disco dancer. While that is most amusing, it is not conducive to real conversation, and we need to talk, human.
Mead, in case you have been living in a cave with a bag over your head, is an alcoholic drink made of fermented honey. Honey made by us, the bees. And while we have mixed feelings about your constant theft of our most precious resource, we long ago came to terms with it used in the creation of that most delicate, pure and dare we even say divine of intoxicating libations.
But it has come to the collective attention of us, the bees, that humans are not drinking as much mead as they used to. And that this might have been the state of things for — well — possibly hundreds of years. You might not have even tried mead before; you probably drink beer, or wine, or (god forbid) cocktails.
WHY, humans‽ Why would you choose to drink stinky old rotten grapes or something that tastes like wet bread or the stuff you use to clean things, when you could drink something that literally tastes like liquid sunshine?!
The thing is, human, practically since there have been humans, there has been mead or, as some see fit to call it, “honey-wine.” The Greeks called it the “drink of the gods.” Yes! Mere mortals swigged boring old wine, but the gods drank mead! And the Vikings told tales of a “mead of poetry,” made from the blood of one of their gods, which turned anyone who drank it into a poet (although we, the bees, think that if you drink enough of any mead, you’ll start spouting poetry).
Mead is near-global; they drink it in the ancient land of Ethiopia, where it is called tej, and even among the Xhosa it is made, and called iQhilika. It was probably the mysterious intoxicant soma in the Rig Veda from the ancient Indus valley, and there is evidence, good evidence, that the Chinese were brewing it as early as 9000 B.C.!
Mead slaked the thirst and fired the courage of the hero Beowulf, slayer of the monster Grendl. And if it was good enough for Beowulf, it’s good enough for you. Plus, you can get it carbonated now, in case that’s important to you. It seems to be. I hear you’re very fond of some fizzy swill called “White Claw.”
Humans, it is so simple to make mead. You essentially just take the golden elixir of our tireless labor, add yeast and then neglect it for a bit. The ancients used wild yeast, captured from the winds that were the very breath of the divinity, but modern brewers usually use wine yeast, which we suppose is more reliable (but quite a bit less romantic, and therefore less appealing to bees).
And yes — some claim that mead is too sweet, and that no matter how “dry” the preparation, the drink is still cloying and syruplike. To this we remind you — this is fermented honey. A bit of sweetness is part of the package, and if you don’t like it, go back to drinking your nail-polish remover.
Washington state is good country for bees; it is clean here, and green, and the blackberries plentiful, and a good place for you to finally get on the ball about mead. We’re told that a company called Sky River makes fine mead, and also hear good things about Author Mead, which makes a carbonated version, in cans.
If you must.