Beer or Mead? What is the difference? Which is older? How are they evolving in an era of craft beers and microbreweries? These are all good questions. Let’s see if I can provide some answers and get you excited about what is happening at Mudshark Brewery and Public House in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Beer and mead both have long and rich history’s. And so it shouldn’t come as a suprise to learn that they are playing a role in the evolving craft beer industry.
Did you know that beer and mead are two of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world. They actually predate written history. They have been enjoyed by many cultures and civilizations throughout history. They have also influenced art, religion, politics, and societal evolution. But how did they come to be, and what makes them so special?
Beer is made from fermented grains, such as barley, wheat, or rye. The process of brewing beer involves malting, mashing, boiling, fermenting, and conditioning. The malted grains are soaked in water to release sugars, which are then converted into alcohol by yeast during fermentation. The boiling stage adds hops, which are flowers that give beer its bitterness and aroma. The conditioning stage allows the beer to mature and develop its flavor.
Mead, however, is made from fermented honey and water, sometimes with added fruits, spices, or herbs. The process of making mead involves mixing honey and water, adding yeast, and letting it ferment for several weeks or even months. The resulting drink can range from dry to sweet, and from still to sparkling. Mead was often considered the drink of the gods, as it was associated with mythology and poetry in many cultures.
Beer and mead have a lot in common, but they also have some differences. Beer is usually lower in alcohol content than mead, and has a more complex flavor profile due to the variety of grains and hops used. Mead is usually sweeter than beer, and has a simpler flavor profile due to the dominance of honey. Both drinks can be aged for years, but mead tends to improve more with aging than beer.
So what does this have to do with the craft beer trend? Well, craft beer is a term that refers to beer that is produced by small, independent, and traditional brewers who use high-quality ingredients and innovative techniques to create unique and flavorful beers.
Craft beer is often inspired by historical styles or recipes, such as Belgian ales, German lagers, or British porters. Some craft brewers also experiment with unconventional ingredients or methods, such as adding fruits, spices, herbs, coffee, chocolate, or even bacteria or fungi to their beers.
One of the ways that craft brewers pay homage to the history of beer and mead is by making hybrid drinks that combine elements of both beverages. An example would be our new Buzz Honey Lager, the first beer in our new Route 66 centennial series.
Other craft brewers make braggot, which is a drink that blends malted grains and honey in varying proportions. Braggot can be considered a type of beer or a type of mead, depending on the ratio of ingredients used. Another example is graff, which is a drink that mixes apple cider and malted grains. Graff can be considered a type of cider or a type of beer, depending on the ratio of ingredients used.
These hybrid drinks are not only delicious and refreshing, but also showcase the creativity and diversity of the craft beer scene. They also celebrate the rich and ancient history of beer and mead, and their role in human culture and civilization.
If you are a fan of craft beer, and are looking for a fun place to beat the heat, stop by Mudshark Brewery and Public House today. Cheers!
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America