Nonphenomenal Lineage

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Honey Wine

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Klara Vappen!, originally uploaded by kroimela.

When I hear the word “mead”, my mind drifts to a bunch of burly, nordic warriors sitting around a giant wooden table, singing heartily as they celebrate the victory of Beowulf over Grendel*, toasting together giant cups of the stuff as it sloshes all over their hairy forearms and faces. It’s supposedly the oldest of the fermented beverages, what people were getting drunk on before beer and wine. I had always imagined the taste to be frothy and yeasty like beer, but starchier and stronger. Kind of bland, but it’ll get you drunk like a viking in seconds flat. Then I tried it.

Sitting last night at the Sunset Grill & Bar, tucked away in a little corner of Allston, on Brighton Ave, I got my first swill of that wine which I am about to extol many virtues. Oh my, but mead is tasty. For those of you who know me, and know mead, know it should make perfect sense. I have a sweet tooth of the highest order, and mead is made of, drumroll…. honey! So, now, I know what all those viking warriors were talking about!

Mead rocks, and mead intoxicates! And, according to lore, does a whole lot of other things, including make you horny, make you wise, (but everybody knows that all alcohol makes you horny and especially wise…yeah) And, it hasn’t just been the property of vikings and hobbits. According to**, “There are indications that the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Ethiopians, Scandinavians, Assyrian, Incas and Aztec used mead, both in festivals and as a religious drink.”

So why has mead been replaced by beer and wine? Apparently, in the 1800s, when sugar cane began to be the more abundant, and cheaper sweetener to make (not to mention, easier: fuck you bees, we have plants that make our sweetness now, you’re out of a job, you little bastards) it sort of stopped the major harvest of honey and therefore mead went into a decline. But apparently, only a hibernation…because it’s back, and in my humble opinion, way better than grape wine.

Yeah, it’s a little pricey…about 6 bucks for a glass, but totatlly worth it. It tastes a little sweet, with this absolutely divine honey aftertaste, a haunting, rich flavor. Plus, I at the risk of sounding like a wine snob, which I am NOT, I fancy that it just tastes ancient, like your drinking the very same stuff that Cleopatra, Montezuma, Socrates drank (insert any famous ancient person here). Okay, that’s a little lofty, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Oh, another interesting fact from wikipedia: “It has also been said that the origin of the word “honeymoon” is based upon the practise of newlyweds drinking mead (a honey-based drink) during the first month (and therefore “moon”) of marriage. The drink supposedly increased virility and fertility. Thus the first month of marriage became a honeymoon.”

So if you are out and around Boston, visit Sunset Grill & Bar and try some mead. I recommed RedStone Blackberry. It’s the best. Also, if you live in Massachusetts, and happen to know of any other places that serve it, please let me know! I have a feeling this might become my new obsession. But, please, by all means, if I start to become a snob, slap me.


* We all read Beowulf in highschool. But if you haven’t read Grendel, by John Gardner, I highly recommend it. It’s sort of this existential book from the monster’s POV. It’s great.

** Yeah, I know, any thing that copies the “got milk?” thing is way past cliché, but it has some interesting info on it.


Written by pocheco

June 18, 2005 at 7:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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