Mead is definitely making a comeback, so let's take a look at one of the meaderies that are making it right here in New Hampshire — this one in Center Ossipee, to be exact.
Sap House Meadery was established in 2010 by Ash Fischbein and Matt Trahan, who, ever since, have been making mead with traditional methods and local ingredients.
Mead, as readers of this column have long known, is fermented honey, and has a centuries-old history. The ingredients are simple. Bees make the honey, humans take the honey, add water, and there you have mead. In its fermented state it contains alcohol, which can vary in intensity, and not all meads are super sweet – there's a range.
If you go to the website for Sap House, they remind us that mead is an ancient beverage, and may have been discovered accidentally when tree stumps adopted by bees were filled with water from a rainstorm and fermentation took place naturally. A toast to serendipity, then….
It's versatile too — you can drink it, the mead makers tell us, at room temperature, at various levels of chilling, and warmed as well. The food pairings are various as well — meats, veggies, cheeses and desserts.
Sap House Meadery makes a variety of meads; I thought we might start with the basics, with a sampling of their Sap House Meadery Traditional Mead, 12% abv. One might think of thick and gooey when thinking of honey, but that's not the case with mead. It has a thicker consistency than water, certainly, but pours and swirls like a wine. The Traditional is golden in the glass with aromas of honey and some dark fruit. This one is dry on the palate, with a deep background of honey and some subtle herbal hints as well, hints of vanilla along the way to the finish. Subtle, interesting and good.
This is a relatively straightforward presentation; Sap House makes flavored meads too: blueberry, cranberry, chocolate, peach, vanilla bean blackberry, and more. There's lots of info on the website, saphousemeadery.com, which I urge you to check out. Sap House Meadery, located at 6 Folsom Road in Center Ossipee, is open for free tastings on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. You can find out more at their website.
Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at firstname.lastname@example.org.