Mead is a honey based alcoholic beverage and is one of the oldest and most commonly consumed alcoholic beverages in the world.
Mead is made by fermenting honey with water and yeast, and can be made from one to two variations; honey mead, and wild mead.
The honey used to make mead comes from one of two types of honey; white or dark. Wild mead is typically made from a variety of flowers and herbs, such as horehound, yarrow, sage, and wildflowers.
The mead itself is incredibly complex and can provide medicinal properties to its drinker.
What Foods Are Good With Mead?
Wine pairing is a pretty well-known pass time. Most people know red wine with meat, white wine with fish. What’s less known is how to pair meads and ciders and what to consider.
It’s similar, but not really the same because of the wide variety. We like our meads with almost anything, but there are some foods that work better with one mead than another.
So we thought it would help to give you some suggestions.
First off, there is a reason for drinking certain wines with certain foods. A lot of it has to do with the tannins and the acidity of the wine as well as the “body” of the wine.
Take red meats (or cheese), as an example. Because of the high fat content, red meats will coat your mouth, rendering the flavor of the meal lessened as you go.
A full-bodied red wine has enough acidity to cleanse your palette.So much so, that each bite will be as good as your first bite. A white wine wouldn’t work as well and, frankly, waste a great piece of meat.
For mead, the rules are pretty simple but get progressively more complicated as you learn more. Dry meads go with dinner, sweet meads are for after dinner and sparkling meads are for drinking on their own.
You could stop here, and just try that to see how it goes.
Red Meat And Other High-Calorie Meals
A steak is easy. But what about a stew? Or even chili? There is a rule of thumb with pairing, dark with dark. If your meal is a dark, heavy meal, you want a darker mead that can hold up to the flavor profile.
If it’s a very rich meal, a fruity mead would be ideal. But still on the drier side. You wouldn’t want to pair a sweet, dark mead with a heavy meal.
It would become overwhelming and do a disservice to both. From our menu, a mead like Antinomy is an excellent choice as a pairing wine with steaks, stews, chili and other dark, heavy meals.
You could also try Skol, but it may not pair quite as perfectly as Antinomy.
White Meat And Lighter Meals
Following the rule, chicken or fish would be best served with a dry, lighter mead.
The mead you choose should still be a dinner mead, but in this case, you have a wider variety as most of the white meads tend towards the drier side, as fruits tend to color the mead.
From our labels, the first choice would be Solifaction. If you’re serving something with a lot of flavor depth, you might try a label like Accord or Respite, from the barrel-aged group, as they have a musky flavor and deeper body that counterbalances strong spices. Solifaction, though, would be the best choice.
In-Between Foods And Medium Meals
Some foods exist in a bit of a middle state. Not quite red, but not really white and are often strongly spiced. Pork and venison, for instance, are prepared very differently than chicken and often have deep flavor profiles.
In these cases, you could choose an in-between, fruity mead to match the flavor profile. From our labels, Skol is a good choice. It has slightly sweeter characters without leaning too far into the sweet profile.
It also holds up against strong spices, offering a nice balance you’d enjoy. If the meal is very spicy, you could also try Mangata or a session mead, which has more body and is sweeter than Skol.
Combine Spicy And Fruity Flavors
Whether you’re pairing a light, fruity sauce with a spicy capsicumel mead made with hot peppers or spicy foods like Mexican foods with fruity, sweet melomel meads, spice and fruit naturally pair well for a refreshing and invigorating combination.
Dry Meads Pair Well With Cheese
Think wine and cheese – dry wines are often served with cheese, so why not try dry meads in the same way? There are all kinds of mead flavours that seem dry, from blueberry show meads to hopped cysers.
Much of your decision on which cheeses to select will be based on what particular dry mead you want to try.
Fruit Meads Go Well With A Variety Of Sweets
The natural sweetness of a fruit-based dessert complements fruity meads based on the same flavours.
For instance, try a sweet strawberry-rhubarb mead with a tart rhubarb cobbler, or a dry strawberry-rhubarb mead with sweet strawberry shortcake.
Apple Cysers Pair Well With Meats, Especially As Marinades
If you’re interested in a whole new level of food pairings, try using a cyser mead in a marinade for your favourite meat dishes, especially chicken or pork.
Then, drink the rest of the bottle with your meal! Cysers are meads with apples or apple juice and honey, and both flavours naturally complement many meat-based dishes.
Salads Go Well With Floral And Citrus Flavors
Need a mead to pair with salads? Light, refreshing meads that fall between semi-sweet and sweet are great choices for pairings.
Strawberry, rhubarb, citrus, and floral flavours all go well with salads. Lighter cranberry and raspberry flavours have similar effects.
It may also be worth trying any mead with the same fruit that you’re including in salad, if you’re dressing it with a honey varietal like blueberry blossom honey or including fruits like sliced berries.
What about all of this cheese I’ve got?
This is a contrary to the rule of colors; dark with dark, light with light. You definitely want a dark, full bodied mead to go with cheese.
Generally, the sweeter meads will work well and have enough character to stand up to a cheese. Try either Mangata or Bliss with cheese and meats to see how they work.
Should you prefer the drier meads, choose a barrel-aged mead that carries a residual spirits flavor.
Sparkling mead Pairs Well With Finger Foods
Holding a party? Sparkling mead has the perfect pop to go well with any kind of snack, from chips and dip to cheese cubes and salty crackers.
It’s harder to find sparkling mead in bottles, but if you get a Pollen Angels growler refill on the day of your party, it will be fresh and ready to go!
For anything else…
For every other time, there are the sessions and the sparkling meads. Not to say you can’t have anything anytime (we encourage that).
But these are the meads that are designed for un-paired enjoyment.
The sessions, in particular, have a much lower ABV, allowing you to enjoy a lot more drinking and relaxing than you can with a standard mead.
Mints of Persia, Lone Star, Sonic Boom… these are all amazing anytime meads.
You don’t have to follow these rules, but it is helpful to know that you can drink mead with a higher sense of presence, thinking about which you have when.
Pairing mead with food is fun because it’s hard to go wrong.
Even if you end up with a mediocre pairing, you can just finish your glass of mead after your meal and enjoy the fullness of the flavours of the food and the mead on their own.
Only one universal rule applies – if you find a pairing you love, write down the exact type of mead and the recipe or restaurant dish name, as it’s hard to remember these details when you experiment with a lot of meads.
By writing down what you’ve tried in a tasting notebook, you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite flavours again and again!
Try some combinations and see how you like it. If you find a perfect fit, let us know. People need to know these things!