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Merry Mead
A great complement to holiday foods

11/29/17



 It seems that the winter weather has finally found us, and with that comes chilly nights and snow. It also means that the holidays are right around the corner. 

One of my go-to beverages this time of year is mead because it is so versatile and is a great complement to holiday foods. You can chill it, enjoy it at room temperature and even heat it up depending on how you want to enjoy it. 
In basic terms, mead is wine made from honey and considered to be the most ancient beverage. Honey ferments well for an obvious reason: it is made from sugar and that is what yeast eats to make it. It is typically sold in smaller bottles than wine because the alcohol content can be higher than some wines (the range is about eight to 20 percent with most wines falling in the 12 to 16 percent range). 
I find that many people try one mead — maybe one that has a strong honey flavor — and decide they don’t like it. I encourage everyone to try a few before they write it off for good because there are some different styles. For example, mead made with honey and fruit is called a melomel; mead made with apples or apple juice is a ceyser, and mead made with maple syrup is called an acerglyn. 
If you have never had mead before and are interested in trying it, the good news is that we have several mead makers right here in New Hampshire. Here is some general information about them and some of my recommendations.
 
Ancient Fire Mead & Cider
Ancient Fire is the newest mead maker based in Manchester. They are currently getting their taproom up and running. They are hoping to open in early 2018 and will have mead and cider. Learn more at ancientfirewines.com. 
 
Hermit Woods Winery
Hermit Woods in Meredith is often described as the winery that makes fruit wines — but not in the way you may think. They mirror grape wines in terms of nose, notes and finish. It is no surprise that winemaker Ken uses honey in his winemaking, along with several other local products. Their Three Honey Wine was one of my first introductions to mead. One of my favorites is Red Scare (2014 currently listed on their website) made from honey, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Visit hermitwoods.com for more wines. 
 
Moonlight Meadery
Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry has so many different kinds of mead that I struggled to decide which ones to suggest here. The best thing to do is go visit and do a tasting where you can sample some different styles and flavors. Here are just three of my picks: Kurt’s Apple Pie, Fling and Coffee in Bed. I went for the sweet ones here, as I like to enjoy Kurt’s Apple Pie poured over vanilla ice cream or paired with warmed cider. Fling is just delicious as is. Coffee in Bed is great for these cooler months as it can be enjoyed heated up with coffee or paired with tiramisu. Check out their full menu at moonlightmeadery.com. 

Sap House Meadery
Like Moonlight Meadery, Sap House Meadery in Center Ossipee makes mead. If you have not made a trip to this hidden gem, I highly recommend it as they now have a cozy pub with lighter fare and delicious cocktails. What I like about Sap House is they are always trying something new. For example, they are currently offering Mirepoix Mead, made from honey, celery, onions, bay leaf and more. This mead was originally made as cooking mead six years ago and can also be used as a mixer in bloody marys. So while they are doing some really cool stuff over at Sap House, my all-time favorite mead of theirs, hands down, is the Vanilla Bean Mead. It’s not too sweet but has great vanilla notes and is delicious as is. I also add this one to warm apple cider. You can find out more at saphousemeadery.com.





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