Gluten Free and Thirsty: Meadieval Times

Written by on October 19, 2011 in Gluten Free, Short North, Wine - 2 Comments

Recently, at a tasting event, there was a girl standing in front of me. She was shrieking: “You mean it’s not beer? What is it? M-E-A-D? Mead?”

I replied “It is not beer. Yes, mead, it’s made from honey. It’s honey wine.”

“OH okayyyyy!” She turned to her friends. “It’s wine, guys.”

I immediately regretted oversimplifying my explanation, so here’s one that’s a little more thorough. To start, mead is a fermented drink made from honey. It is not at all an exaggeration to say that mead is old as shit; Wikipedia confirms this. The earliest records of mead date back to 7000 BC. Traces of mead have been found in pottery vessels of Northern China. It was later described in ancient Hindu texts, loved by the ancient Greeks, and touted by Aristotle himself. Mead became popular in many parts of Europe, including Scandinavia, and parts of Africa.

There are several different varieties of mead, all dependent on the type of honey used, the additives (or adjuncts), yeast strains, overall sweetness, and other variables. Meads made with fruit are referred to as melomels. Mead made specifically using grapes is called a pyment. There are sparkling varieties of mead, mead that has been distilled to make honeyjack, and mulled mead which is spiced and often served warm during the holidays.

The best part is, it’s all gluten free! So drink up my fellow diseased and impaired, for the only feelings that follow a glass of mead are warm and fuzzy, especially if your face is pressed against the carpet.

Serve with cheese pairings, or alongside a gourmet meal, or choose a sweeter variety for an after-dinner treat. If you’re feeling extra classy, pour it in a Nalgene and hit the trails (or just sit outside) since there’s nothing like the smell of moss and grass to help bring out the full flavor of fermented natural honey. There are many meaderies sprinkled throughout the Midwest, but Columbus residents need not travel far.

Local meadery Brothers Drake just released their 2011 Apple Pie Mead made from 2010’s apple harvest at Hugus Fruit Farm in Rushville, Ohio. The mead is a Cyser, so the water usually used to brew mead is replaced with fresh apple juice, then spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and left alone for 11 months while it transforms into a delicious, deeply flavored mead that would be best served as a dessert or on its own. 

Full size bottles are suggested to be priced at $33.99 per bottle, while a half bottle will cost about $18.00. Find this mead and Brothers Drake’s other offerings at the meadery itself in the Short North (next door to Middle West Spirits), Weiland’s, the Hills Market, Fresh Market, and the Barrel and Bottle in North Market.

Grab a bottle before it’s gone! Apple Pie is a quick seller, and if you’re like me you should probably get two: one to drink alone, and one to share with others. If you haven’t been to Brothers Drake, drop into their tasting room for delicious mead, live music, a dynamic selection of art, and wonderful company.


About the Author

Debbie is a glutarded dog mom that loves gin and Columbus. She prefers soda over tonic and lime over lemon. No cucumber.

2 Comments on "Gluten Free and Thirsty: Meadieval Times"

  1. Genshin April 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM · Reply

    Mead is most certainly NOT gluten free. I have celiac and would know. There may be some Gluten Free varieties but I haven’t found them yet. There is usually a type of yeast or wheat variant that is often used during the process of making mead.

    • Human decency November 21, 2013 at 11:12 PM · Reply

      I too am celiac and most mead is gluten free. It can have a wheat based additive but this is not normally the case. A good celiac researches all the ingredients anyway. The meads are out there.

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