The Wide Angle: Year two of trying not to spray mead about the kitchen

Published 6:30 am Saturday, March 6, 2021

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s getting a bit warmer out. Temperatures the last few days have been in the balmy 40s and we’ve felt comfortable walking around in just hoodies rather than parkas.

You are still wearing pants right? It has to be more than hoodies, realistically speaking.

Even myself, who has always championed the winter months, is enjoying the warmer temps, complete with back-to-back grillings Wednesday and Thursday night of this week.

But the warmer weather also means a return to brewing mead. If you are No. 46 and 47 in my notable list of readers, then maybe you are new to this. I brew mead at home. The liquor of my ancestors in Scandinavia and cultures around the world, mead is made from honey and a variety of other ingredients that act as flavoring and help with the chemical processings.

I’ve been interested in homebrewing for a while now, as my other readers could tell you No. 46 and No. 47.

But I’ve always held off because of the materials required in homebrewing and the lack of real space to store everything, until that is, I discovered a book by Jereme Zimmerman — “Make Mead Like a Viking.”

This book explored and demonstrated methods used that really simplified the process using materials that were easy to find. Rather than yeast purchased online or through a homebrewing store, the yeast I use to ferment this most lovely of alcoholic beverages is taken primarily through wild yeasts. Honey, already such an amazing food in terms of its benefits to humanity, already contains yeast that drives mead toward fermentation, but I can also get wild yeasts from clover, tree bark and sticks.

This method of wild brewing in many ways requires the bare minimum of materials in order to create a tasty brew, but it’s this kind of direct link to the past that really raised my enthusiasm and acted as a catalyst to jump into this hobby of homebrewing.

Admittedly, it was a slow start as I fumbled my way through the process of first learning and then starting to narrow my own recipes and patience (or lack thereof) should have brought the experiment to an end.

Oddly though, I found myself highly interested in the process and attentive to the details required within to create a successful batch and into what can be a lengthy aging process.

And so, when temperatures started rising here in recent days, I found myself getting excited again to start the process for another year. I’m armed with knowledge needed to push forward and aim to be a lot more inventive this time around.

This knowledge has even pushed me a little closer to picking up the homebrewing of beer this spring. But mostly I’m focused on the mead with this first batch slated to be a cranberry brew thanks to all the cranberries I horded that were on sale after the holidays along with a refinement of a chokecherry recipe I’ve been working on since the very beginning.

It’s been a fun ride and adventure, this homebrewing experiment of mine. I’ve learned so much about the chemical processes behind it, which is amazing in its own right considering how horrible I am at science. Right behind math as my most hated nemesis, is science as my brain easily becomes knotted with symbols and lines and graphs and hypotheses of science.

And yet, this chemistry has me intoxicated (hehe … intoxicated, homebrewing humor) and I’m loving every minute of it.

Well, almost every minute. I have learned one valuable lesson from this. Don’t run up stairs with a bottle until you know how charged the batch is, and by charged, I mean … CHARGED.

And how was this lesson you ask? Well I shall tell you. That lesson is, unless you actually do want walls, floors, microwaves, refrigerators and stoves coated in frothing mead, you will NOT run upstairs with a bottle.

Sticky. Verrryyy sticky.