Let's just say that Portland's culture of craft beer and homebrewing has had an effect on my husband, Dan. He liked beer but was never all that excited about it, until we moved to Portland. Then he got a taste of what fine micro-brewed beer was all about. And now, he has been bitten by the homebrew bug. First, came the trip to F.H. Steinbart for all of the equipment. And, given his love of dark beers, his first batch of homebrew was a stout. That was bottled a couple of weeks ago and is now happily sitting in the basement waiting for its first tasting, which is most likely sometime in January.
But, brewing beer was not enough. Next up on the agenda was mead. Most people don't even know what mead is but there are now about 150 meaderies in the U.S. And, for the uninitiated, mead is honey wine. It is an alcoholic beverage made from fermenting a mixture of water and honey with yeast. It is believed to be the first fermented beverage, predating wine and beer. And, it is found throughout history in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Dan bottled the mead last week, on December 22, which was the first day of winter. And, since mead should bottle-age for awhile (at least 3 months but 6 months or more is preferred, according to the books), we think it only appropriate to have a tasting party on the longest day of the year, the summer solstice on June 21. Between now and then, we need to think of a name for the mead and design a label. After all, we have 23 pints of it in the basement (right next to the stout). What's next on the homebrew to-do list? Well, Dan is thinking about a Belgian-style ale since it takes a year to bottle-age. After that, he has his sights set on making hard cider. That's for me, since I am the hard cider fan in the family.