National Mead Day Date in the current year: August 3, 2024

National Mead Day The United States has an astonishing number of food days dedicated to various types of foods and beverages. For example, the first Saturday of August is National Mead Day. It celebrates one of the world’s oldest alcoholic beverages that has been enjoying growing popularity lately.

Mead is a general name for alcoholic beverages made by fermenting honey with water. Optional ingredients include hops, various fruits, grains, and spices. Its typical ABV (alcohol by volume) ranges from about 3.5% to over 20%.

Mead comes in a wide range of styles and varieties; its defining characteristic is that most of its fermentable sugar is derived from honey. Mead can be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet; still, naturally sparkling, or carbonated.

Honey-based alcoholic beverages were produced by ancient peoples throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. Because of this, mead is sometimes referred to as the “ancestor of all fermented drinks”. It plays an important role in some mythologies. In Norse mythology, for example, the Poetic Mead or Mead of Poetry turns whoever drinks it into a skald or scholar.

Mead is mentioned in Aristotle’s Meteorology, Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, Columella’s De re rustica, poems attributed to the semi-legendary Welsh bard Taliesin, the famous Old English epic poem Beowulf, and other ancient and early medieval works.

By the beginning of the modern era, the popularity of mead in Europe had decreased due to taxation and regulations governing the ingredients of alcoholic beverages, as well as increased availability of sugar. Because of this, early European settlers in the New World didn’t even try to produce mead; beer and apple cider were much easier and cheaper to make.

Americans became interested in mead in the mid-20th century due to the growing popularity of Renaissance fairs, where Medieval inspired foods and beverages, such as steak on a stick, turkey legs, bread bowls and mead quickly became iconic.

However, didn’t experience a real boom in popularity until the mid-2010s. According to industry reports, the number of meaderies in the United States rose from just 30 in 2003 to 300 in early 2016 and to 500 in early 2019. In addition to meaderies, meads are produced by some craft breweries.

The majority of American meaderies use locally sourced honey. The most popular mead style in the United States is melomel (fruit mead). Melomels can be made with various fruit and berries such as apples, pears, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, mulberries, cranberries, etc. Some melomels have specific names, for example, an apple melomel is called a cyser and a grape melomel is called a pyment.

National Mead Day was created by the American Homebrewers Association in 2002. The holiday aims to boost awareness of this sweet fermented beverage and foster camaraderie among meadmakers across the country. It is marked by mead tastings, mead brewing workshops, fairs, festivals, and other events held by meaderies, breweries, and restaurants to promote mead and educate people about its varieties.

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National Mead Day, unofficial holidays, food days, American food days, mead, melomel, American Homebrewers Association