Ok--we all know what Honey is--how it taste like(SWEET i hear you say)---what can it be used for-- be it in drinks or food preparation...
Say MEAD and most people here in Asia--including some beer geeks--don't know what it is--never heard of it--let alone tasted any.
So what is MEAD? the answer is simple--"fermented honey alcoholic beverages".
Ahhh--so it must be SWEET?
The answer is really YES & NO--it is definitely sweet if one were to compare with say an IPA--but if you think MEAD is only about sweetness and nothing more---then you are WRONG--very very wrong.
当然，蜜酒不是只有只有一款TRADITIONAL MEAD，跟CRAFT BEER一样，蜜酒也有好多不同类别风格，虽然一定要用蜜糖发酵酿造，可是，不同蜜糖的风味，甜度的高低，再通过酿造过程不同玩法，就算同一款蜜糖，也可以玩出很多不同风味。和CRAFT BEER情况一样，蜜酒可以通过加入各种食材比如水果，胡椒，辣椒，咖啡，巧克力等等，或酿啤酒常用的麦芽，啤酒花去增加风味层次变化，反正是想象得到，想试验风味变化的食材都可使用，也会有酿酒师去试。
而CRAFT BEER界常见的把酿好啤酒收在比如威士忌木桶，美国波本桶，葡萄牙波特酒桶或葡萄酒木桶等等，称为“过桶熟陈/BARREL AGED”的增加风味层次复杂度做法，也是MEAD惯见手法。
Let's maybe imagine this--we all know the differences it would create when honey is poured into a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, and a lot of differences when poured into different fruits juices. OR say when you have toasted bread with honey & peanut butter, as compared to say honey & cheese....
That differences in taste profile--when honey is combined with different food items--that's really the essence of MEAD--fermented honey with different treatment(think the craft beer way of mixing with all kinds of fruits/food items/ various barrel aging) is what makes MEAD very interesting.
Mead is basically made from Honey, Water & Yeast which is the basis of mead, especially the traditional mead variant--sounds simple but obviously it's much more than that when we talk about craft level mead.
There's various types of Mead---if you google search there's at least more than a dozen terms for different types of mead--much like craft beer styles.
To those more familiar with craft beer terms---there's more sessionable mead variants--there's also heavier mead with higher ABV---and if you are more familiar with wine/fine liquor terms--there's dry/semi dry/sweet/semi-sweet(the list goes on) types of mead to suit one's taste and mood of the day.
不同类型风味的MEAD如果要认真研究，专用名词不少，基本以用了什么食材提味或轻重程度为依据，简单说，就是有CRAFT BEER朋友较熟悉的SESSION BEER，HEAVY BEER之分, 或喝惯葡萄酒/烈酒朋友较熟悉的 DRY, SWEET, SEMI-SWEET等分别。
Currently in Asia--there's not much mead supply, so far anyone fortunate enough to have tasted some either in Bangkok, SG or KL are mainly of these 3 variants:-
Braggot--honey fermented along with barley malt(hops is optional)
Melomel--honey fermented with fruits ("Pyment" referring to those using only grapes--"Cyser" for those using only apples)
Metheglin--fermented honey with added herbs/spices
MEAD is often associated with craft beer community though it is an independent category all together--mead is definitely a much more expensive(cost wise) brew to make(you can read more here:-
--but the association with craft beer community/craft beer festivals is easy to understand in that both the mead makers and craft beer brewers are seeking for possibilities/varieties of taste profile a brew could possibly bring/ evolve into.
If we were to summarized what a mead could be --The basic idea can be this "close to/in between WINE-PORT WINE-DESERT WINE-CYDER-SESSION/FRUITS BEER.....
The 1 misconception most people have about MEAD is to link the daily life Honey--which is thicker and sweeter--to what mead would taste like---not knowing mead is a much more diluted version(either by adding water- or in some cases just throwing lots of fresh fruits/ or fruit juices) of fermented honey.
Not too long ago--the buzz word in mead forum was Dimension--it's a sort of half joking/half serious word use to describe how a bottle of mead taste like--just like an ipa, a porter, a saison or a stout, geeks would look for different layers of taste profile instead of just 1 dimensional.
But to people who have yet to try a mead--DON'T assume that Mead will just be 1 dimensional because of the word Honey--you will be surprised how multi dimensional fermented honey can be when given the right treatment.
In Asia--for now--Mikkeller Bangkok(anyone planning to be in Bangkok early JAN should check out the mead event as shown above) will be the best bet for some delicious variants--there's some supply in Singapore(which flow into KL a little)---in Taipei and Hong Kong there's already a little private sharing session going on with more supply to emerge next year, and Tokyo seems to be joining in the mead movement in a small way too....
MEAD in Asia is still very new--but it's moving and will move further--and that's very pleasing to note.