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Mead Tasting 101: What You Need to Know About Honey Wine

Are you interested in exploring the world of mead but unsure where to start? Mead, often referred to as honey wine, has been enjoyed by cultures around the globe for centuries. Our comprehensive guide will unravel all there is to know about this unique beverage, from its rich history, distinct taste profiles and how to host an unforgettable mead tasting event.

Key Takeaways

  • Mead, also known as honey wine, is an ancient alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water.
  • There are different types of mead, including traditional mead, melomel (honey and fruits), cyser (apple cider and mead), metheglin (spices-infused mead), braggot (mix of beer and mead), and acerglyn (maple syrup-infused mead).
  • Meads can have a range of flavors from sweet to dry depending on the amount of honey used and the fermentation process.
  • When hosting a mead tasting, choose a variety of styles, sweetness levels, flavors, and regional specialties. Pair the meads with complementary foods to enhance the tasting experience.

What is Mead and How is it Made?

mead next to honey comb

Mead, also known as honey wine, is an ancient alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water.

Ingredients and fermentation process

Creating delicious mead involves several key ingredients and a specific fermentation process.

  1. Gather all essential ingredients which usually consist of honey, water, yeast and sometimes additional flavorings such as fruits or spices.
  2. Mix the honey with heated water until it dissolves completely.
  3. Allow this mixture to cool to a suitable temperature for yeast, typically around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Add specially chosen yeast to the blend, which will react with the sugars from the honey.
  5. The concoction is then allowed to ferment in a closed container, often for several weeks at a time.
  6. At regular intervals during fermentation, perform racking – moving the liquid out of contact with sediment that forms.
  7. Wait patiently for mead to age and develop its full range of flavors before packaging and serving.

Different types of mead

If your taste for adventure syncs with your love for honey wine, exploring the various types of mead should be on your list.

  1. Traditional Mead: It is made purely from honey, water, and yeast, resulting in a sweet or dry beverage depending on the fermenting process.
  2. Melomel: This type of mead combines honey with different fruits creating delicious variations in flavor.
  3. Cyser: This is an enchanting blend of apple cider and mead, providing a unique twist to the traditional honey wine.
  4. Metheglin: Spices take center stage in this semisweet treat derived from age-old recipes that incorporate herbs and spices during fermentation.
  5. Braggot: This one merges the world of beer and mead by adding malted barley to the mix.
  6. Acerglyn: If you enjoy maple syrup, then you’ll love this type as it involves combining maple sugars with honey before fermentation.

Montana Mead Tasting Room Awaits!

In the heart of Montana, where the stunning landscapes meet the artistry of crafted beverages, there’s a place you simply can’t miss. It’s our Mead Tasting Room, a haven for all mead enthusiasts. If you’re ready to embark on a journey of flavors and discovery, there’s no better time than now to visit our Montana Mead Tasting Room! 

Experience the richness of our meads, made with passion and precision, and let your taste buds savor the excellence that Montana has to offer. So, why wait? Plan your visit today and immerse yourself in the world of mead.

What Does Mead Taste Like?

bowl of honey next to mead

Mead can have a range of flavors, from sweet to dry, and is known for its complex taste profile.

Sweet or dry variations

Mead can either be sweet or dry due to the amount of honey used and the fermentation process. A mead with a high concentration of honey tends to taste sweeter, while one with less honey yields a more dry flavor.

The yeast in the fermenting process consumes most of the sugars from the honey, so when it’s allowed to ferment for longer periods, this results in drier meads. On the other hand, if fermentation is stopped before all sugars are converted into alcohol, you end up with a deliciously sweet drink.

Some meaderies even add fruits or spices during brewing which develop distinct flavors that make each batch unique.

Complex flavors

Mead is known for its complex flavors, making it a fascinating drink to explore. With its origins dating back centuries, mead offers a wide range of tastes that can vary from sweet and fruity to dry and earthy.

The flavors in mead are derived from various ingredients such as honey, fruits, spices, and even herbs. Each batch of mead has its own unique combination of flavors, creating an exciting experience for your taste buds.

Whether you prefer the smoothness of traditional meads or the boldness of experimental brews, there is always something new to discover in the world of mead tasting.

The Rich History of Mead

compass on map

Mead, also known as honey wine, has a rich history that dates back centuries, with origins in ancient cultures around the world. Its cultural significance and evolution have made it a beloved beverage enjoyed by many today.

Origin and cultural significance

Mead, also known as honey wine, has a rich history that stretches back centuries. It has been enjoyed by cultures around the world, from ancient civilizations to modern-day enthusiasts.

Mead holds cultural significance in various societies, often being associated with celebrations and special occasions. In fact, it is believed to be one of the oldest alcoholic beverages known to man.

Its origins can be traced back to different parts of the world, including Europe and Africa. The making and consumption of mead have become ingrained in many traditions and rituals, making it an intriguing beverage for those interested in exploring historical and cultural customs.

Over time, the process of mead-making has evolved significantly. While traditional meads were made using honey as the main ingredient along with water and yeast for fermentation, there are now different variations available.

Meaderies all over the world produce meads infused with fruits like apples or cherries or even flavored with spices like cinnamon or vanilla. This diversity highlights how mead-making has developed into a creative art form that continues to delight drinkers today.

In summary:

  • Mead’s origins date back centuries.
  • It is associated with celebrations and special occasions.
  • Traditional meads were made using honey as the main ingredient.

Evolution of mead making

Mead making has come a long way over the centuries, evolving from a simple fermentation process to a sophisticated art form. In ancient times, mead was made by fermenting honey and water with wild yeasts.

As time went on, people began adding different ingredients like fruits and spices to enhance the flavor. Today, there are countless variations of mead available, each with its own unique taste profile.

Modern meaderies use advanced brewing techniques and carefully selected ingredients to create delicious and complex flavors that appeal to a wide range of palates. The evolution of mead making reflects our ever-growing appreciation for this historic beverage and our constant desire to push the boundaries of flavor exploration.

How to Host a Mead Tasting

Host a mead tasting by selecting a variety of meads, pairing them with complementary foods, and using these tips and tricks to create a fun and enjoyable experience for your guests.

Choosing a variety of meads

When hosting a mead tasting, it is important to choose a variety of meads that will appeal to different palates. Here are some tips for selecting the perfect assortment:

  1. Explore Different Styles: Include meads from various styles such as traditional, fruit-infused, or barrel-aged. This allows guests to experience the wide range of flavors and aromas that mead has to offer.
  2. Consider Sweetness Levels: Offer a mix of sweet and dry meads to cater to different taste preferences. Some people enjoy the honey-forward sweetness of traditional meads, while others prefer drier varieties that resemble wine.
  3. Showcasing Regional Specialties: Highlight meads from different regions or local meaderies to give your tasting an extra touch of uniqueness and celebrate the diversity within the world of mead.
  4. Experiment with Flavors: Look for meads infused with unique ingredients like spices, herbs, or fruits for a more adventurous tasting experience. These flavor combinations can add complexity and excitement to the lineup.
  5. Seek Recommendations: Reach out to local breweries, wineries, or even fellow mead enthusiasts for recommendations on must-try meads. Their expertise can help you discover hidden gems and crowd favorites.

Pairing with food

Pairing mead with the right food can enhance your tasting experience. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Savory Cheeses: Pair a dry mead with aged cheddar or gouda for a delightful combination of flavors.
  2. Spicy Dishes: A sweet, fruity mead complements spicy foods like curry or Mexican cuisine.
  3. Roasted Meats: Enjoy a traditional mead with roasted pork or lamb for a rich and satisfying meal.
  4. Fresh Seafood: Pair a light and crisp mead with grilled fish or shellfish for a refreshing pairing.
  5. Chocolate Desserts: Indulge in a dark, sweet mead alongside your favorite chocolate treats for a decadent dessert experience.
  6. Fruity Desserts: Try pairing a fruit-infused mead with desserts like apple pie or berry tarts for a burst of complementary flavors.
  7. Charcuterie Boards: Create a perfect balance of flavors by combining different types of cured meats, cheeses, fruits, and nuts with various styles of mead.
  8. Light Summer Salads: Enjoy a glass of sparkling mead alongside a fresh salad featuring citrus fruits, berries, and light vinaigrettes.

Hosting tips and tricks

Hosting a mead tasting can be an enjoyable and memorable experience for both you and your guests. To make sure everything runs smoothly, here are some helpful tips and tricks to keep in mind:

  1. Create a cozy atmosphere: Set the mood by creating a warm and inviting space for your tasting. Consider dimming the lights, playing soft background music, and adding some decorative elements like candles or flowers.
  2. Provide a variety of meads: Offer your guests a range of meads to taste, including traditional meads, fruit-infused meads, and even experimental styles. This will allow everyone to explore different flavors and find their favorites.
  3. Offer food pairings: Mead can be paired with various types of food to enhance the tasting experience. Consider serving cheese, charcuterie, chocolates, fresh fruits, or even savory dishes that complement the flavors of the meads being tasted.
  4. Provide tasting notes: Create simple tasting notes for each mead being sampled. Include information on the flavor profile, sweetness level, aroma, and any unique characteristics that make each mead stand out.
  5. Encourage discussion: Encourage your guests to share their thoughts and impressions about each mead as they taste it. This will create a lively and engaging atmosphere where everyone can learn from one another’s experiences.
  6. Use proper glassware: Serve the meads in appropriate glassware such as tulip-shaped glasses or wine glasses to fully appreciate their aromas and flavors.
  7. Consider offering non-alcoholic options: Not all guests may want to consume alcohol during the tasting, so provide non-alcoholic alternatives like sparkling water or flavored beverages.
  8. Have fun with it! Remember that hosting a mead tasting is not just about educating yourself and others; it’s also an opportunity to enjoy good company and have fun together.


Experience the delightful world of mead tasting and discover the rich flavors this ancient drink has to offer. From sweet to dry variations, mead offers a complexity that will captivate your taste buds.

Whether you’re hosting a mead tasting with friends or exploring different varieties on your own, get ready for a unique and delicious beverage experience. 

As you explore the exquisite world of mead, don’t forget that you can take a piece of this experience home with you. Shop Mead and bring the essence of Montana’s finest meads to your own doorstep. With a wide selection of flavors and styles to choose from, you’re just a click away from enjoying these remarkable meads in the comfort of your own space. So, why not browse our selection and find your perfect mead today? Your taste buds will thank you!


1. What is mead tasting?

Mead tasting is the course of sampling different flavors of mead, a drink made from fermented honey and water, often infused with fruits, spices, grains or hops.

2. Are all meads sold at a meadery identical?

No, not all meads are the same! They vary in taste depending on the type of nectar used; popular varieties include wildflower and coffee flavored ones.

3. Can I visit a Meadery for tasting sessions?

Absolutely! In fact, visiting a meadery provides details about each unique blend they offer; you can imagine soaking up the sun while enjoying some decades-old traditional flavors!

4. How can I connect with the Mead Tasting community?

Joining a Mead Tasting community means staying updated with events through platforms like Instagram where experiences are shared and new products get added to carts by enthusiasts around the globe.