Sunday, July 3, 2016

American Mead Maker Journal---Summer 2016--a piece by cttai

This is a piece written earlier this year for American Mead Maker association's Journal.

It's basically a piece about the lack of supply of mead here in South East Asia--which for the time being is few and far as long as source of supply is concern---but the signs are good so far--there's already some tasting going on in Hong Kong though there's practically no supply of craft level mead whatsoever--and with Bangkok spearheading the quest for more mead to appear more consistently in this part of the world--things can only get better....

Below the original text(which perhaps i should re-look and edit but it's ok, gonna just let it be)---The Published version has been corrected/ edited with better English by Jeff---as well the opening part of the article....thanks.:)-

蜜酒第一次出现在东南亚应该是大约两年前,曼谷“米吧”(MIKKELLER BAR)有小量来自丹麦酿坊DANSK MOJD的瓶子,在酒吧以小杯卖出,当时,包含新加坡,吉隆坡在内,都没听说过有CRAFT 级别蜜酒出现过。

Mead in South East Asia---or the lack of it
MEAD---something very new to beer geek in and around South East Asia—in fact in the context of ASIA, mead is still relatively what most craft beer drinkers unfamiliar with.
For the uninitiated, South East Asia is indeed vast and inclusive of many countries, but for this article the writer would only concentrate on Bangkok(BKK) , Singapore(SG), and to a certain extend Kuala Lumpur(KL) as reference point due to the fact that craft beer movement is most active within these 3 cities.
In South East Asia, the first mead made available in a bar were some bottles from Danish meadery---Dasnk Mjod, brought in by Mikkeller Bar Bangkok nearly 2 years ago, in very small quantity, after all, not many people understand what mead is all about.
In fact, mead was never promoted by any of the South East Asia craft beer movers and shakers like how IPAs or Stouts would, and there’s clearly no supply whatsoever of craft-level mead in and around the region until very recently.

It was only in early 2016 that both Bangkok and Singapore started to see some more mead coming in, this time from American meadery, Superstition and B.Nectar. First it was January this year when craft beer enthusiasts within the region gathered in Singapore during a mini beer festival organized by a craft beer importer, though there was only little variants from B.Nectar, that event still significantly marked the very first time Mead served on tap in Singapore along with some bottles for sale. In fact some very limited variants of Superstition bottles were sold after the event.
YANCHENG CHOOYC)是新加坡一位年轻药剂师,也是闲暇时间会义务帮忙CRAFT BEER活动的啤迷 ,两年前第一次接触的蜜酒是一位来东南亚公干美国朋友带来的KUHNHENN酿造BA FRENCH TOAST MEAD!对蜜酒的感觉?YC说“第一次接触蜜酒时完全没有期待,之后的感觉是,蜜酒完全可以像CRAFT BEER那样,有不同风味,多面性。”

Barely a month later, early February 2016 in Bangkok, Mikkeller Bangkok was celebrating  3rd year anniversary, some variants of Superstition mead were on tap, along with 8 or 9 bottled variants available for sale.
The 2 event in Singapore and Bangkok, though very small in scale, as well limited in variants or brands of mead, has definitely opened up eyes and senses for some craft beer loving drinkers who otherwise would have no idea what to expect from mead prior to the event.
While there’s basically no mead supply in Kuala Lumpur where I live, the beer geeks here still  happy to know that at least there’s some mead available in Bangkok( 2 hours flight ) or in Singapore(1 hour flight). In fact it is likely that one or two craft beer shop here in KL would be getting some bottles in from Singapore to smoothen request here.
YC(on the left) from Singapore is a big fan of Mead, but like most South East Asia drinkers, he could not find any supply locally though his first encounter with Mead was quite early in 2014---a geek from Florida came to South East Asia for work and brought with him Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel French Toast! What a  start some might say…J
According to YC, for his first encounter with mead, he had “absolutely no expectation” of what mead might be though he knows it would be quite different from any other beverages he had. His verdict after tasting mead? ---“I found that mead is at least as divest as craft beer in its styles, and definitely not one dimensional if well made…”
To date, though “access is very difficult”, YC has had mead from some different meadery including New Day, Superstition, B.Nectar, as well Apis Poltorak from Poland.


蜜酒对TAEY有多大影响?看看他早前在面子书发的图文就知道,当时他品尝了曼谷“米吧”负责人/他前老板—JAKOB赐于的非卖品—SUPERSTITION非常难得限量白瓷系列--至今只有四款--其中之一的STRAWBERRY WHITE後,这么写“感谢JAKOB让我品尝这世上最美好的东西,我找到爱。。”
mom approving Taey's choice of mead
Up north in Bangkok, Taey who used to be one of the earliest bar staff with Mikkeller Bangkok(he has since left to pursue his goal of becoming a brewer) was dumb founded by the beauty of what he sip—a strawberry white from Superstition—which actually was not for sale  but a private bottle of owner/partner of Mikkeller Bangkok—Jakob.  Taey subsequently posted a photo on his FB saying “I found love last night, thanks to Jakob for letting me try this most beautiful thing on earth!” when asked about his “after-shock” assessment,  Taey’s reply  “ too good to be true”.
Taey first came to know mead while working at Mikkeller Bangkok ---which is natural since they brought in a few different bottles of Dasnk Mjod, he felt that mead was “a little like wine, what I like about mead is the tannin, but wine can be too tannin…”, from a home brewer and beer geek point of view, Taey felt that mead “has got( the right kind of) texture, combination, layer of taste”
Here in KL, there’s literally no supply whatsoever of craft level mead until maybe later part of this year. However, some of us KL beer geeks did attended the above mentioned Singapore and Bangkok event and have had some taste of what mead is about, though still far from being able to explore the full spectrum of mead, it’s none the less a good start and definitely wetted the appetite of those who are in the known for more mead to be made available locally, fingers crossed! The craft beer scene as a whole in KL is still lagging behind Bangkok and Singapore in terms of numbers of importers, bar and bottle shop operators, which translates to lesser varieties and choices. The situation is such that myself and some guys from the KL tasting group can only do whatever we could to try and secure beers we want internationally, and looks like some international mail order might well be on the card for some tasty mead J

虽然在东南亚以致亚洲还是很新名词,正式供应也少,不过,至少有迹象显示蜜酒已开始受到啤迷注意,在曼谷“米吧”有过SUPERSTITION“占领啤酒泵”活动,在新加坡这个月底会有来自欧美的不同酿坊蜜酒出现在一个小型啤酒庆典,而在完全没有正式供应管道的香港至今也已出现过几次啤迷自组的品(蜜)酒会。是的,亚洲很多专卖吧,瓶子店都没有蜜酒供应,搞不好很多经营者也没喝过甚至听说过蜜酒是什么冬冬,不过,CRAFT BEER文化的重点就是分享,如果业者没有动,那就让亚洲喜爱蜜酒的啤迷朋友们都先动起来,把蜜酒的美好分享出去,那样,至少会多些人知道什么是MEAD
Mead is certainly something very new to this part of the world even for some seasoned craft beer drinkers due to lack of supply, various difficulties faced by importers in different cities in South East Asia also did not help ease the situation. For examples, income per capita for Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand is very different, which would affect spending power, while varying taxes and other import barriers too are not easy matters to solve at times. However, despite all these, craft beer movement is very surely, albeit slowly, growing from strength to strength in South East Asia.
In fact, as I’m writing this, there will be a mini craft beer festivals happening on the last weekend of March in Bangkok at a community shopping mall, the first of it’s kind, and Mikkeller Bangkok just completed the first ever Superstition mead tap-takeover last week with good response from geeks in and around the region---including a beer geek friend who flew in from Hong Kong for the event as there is still no supply of mead in Hong Kong or nearby Taiwan where craft movement is quite strong.
Mead in South East Asia, or Asia as a whole is certainly very new, still unheard-of by most, but the beauty of craft beer culture is such that people who tasted mead and loving it would spread the love, it is with this hope that we as geeks would look forward to maybe influencing the craft beer importers and bar/shop operators into moving more tasty mead this way comes!

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