Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Episode 18: Mead-ieval times

It would be inappropriate call call mead an up-and-comer, since it's one of the oldest drinks on the planet. It would be appropriate to point out, though, that homebrewers increasingly are dabbling in mead. It isn't as if mead is easier than beer or wine, or that the results are any faster. Mostly, mead's popularity has to do with what might be called a brew bug. Once people start brewing, many people just develop a taste for the creative process, the place where craft and art connect. It's like a mild case of productive OCD. People want to make their own things and, as they get better at it, they make more stuff and different stuff. They make better stuff.
As spring comes on--the feel, that is, I'm aware we're already a month in--mead is appropriate because it's made with fruits and honey. Learning the mead basics now could allow a person to make their own mead from all of their own ingredients when the fruit trees start producing in a few months. This, to say nothing of the honey that's more accessible from local sources than it was a decade ago. Point is, if you're on the fence about mead, there's still time to get off it and make something a little different and a little sweeter.

In this week's show, we discuss some of the mead basics, as taught by John Talkington at Xtreme Brewing over the past weekend. Doug also reports on his experience at the Triple Threat BBQ event at Harrington last weekend. BBQ enthusiasts lend themselves clearly, and pretty emphatically to brewing. I mean, if you're going to stand around and watch a beef braise (or whatever) for six hours, you might as well brew beer at the same time. Doug recommends something dark to go with the barbecue, a porter or stout, to complement the smokiness. For my two cents, I'll bet something bitter to counter the sweet sauces would be nice as well.
Finally, we touched briefly on the Big Brew. May 3 is National Homebrew Day, and there's a lot more to say about it, but for now, let me just encourage you to follow the link and get up to speed on the event. There are some unconfirmed rumors about Big Brew events on the Delmarva peninsula, but if you're out of town, there are plenty of opportunities to get together with people and brew in a big way. Alternatively, you can brew on your own, but consider signing up and being counted.
Xtreme Brewing isn't holding a Big Brew event on the day, but will sponsor a sharing event in June that should be a blast. Stay tuned for more details.
If you're interested in being the next call-in guest on the show or you'd like to come in and share a beer with us, email me here, or message me on +State of the Beer. The show's Facebook page is Beer with Strangers and we're "@beerwstrangers" on Twitter.
Finally, and please, consider subscribing on iTunes'cause that way Apple will remind you to listen (your iTunes window will open, don't be afraid).
If you are or know anyone who is interested in taking a brewing basics class (the class is free and lots of fun) have them reserve a space here. Taking a class is the best way to figure out whether homebrewing is for you. Many people take several before trying on their own at home.