Appetizers

Honey Center offers new course on mead making

A honeybee collects pollen from a blossom in an almond orchard. Honey is the essential ingredient in mead, an ancient beverage that’s finding new fans.
A honeybee collects pollen from a blossom in an almond orchard. Honey is the essential ingredient in mead, an ancient beverage that’s finding new fans. TPN

Catch the buzz about mead at a new beginner’s course devoted to this ancient brew.

Registration is now available for a two-day course, “Beginner’s Introduction to Mead Making,” to be held Nov. 13 and 14 at the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, UC Davis.

Mead, a honey-based fermented alcoholic beverage, traces its roots back more than 8,000 years. Today, mead is in the midst of a major resurgence as American drinkers, brewmasters and winemakers discover its many nuances, styles and flavorful punch.

Mead still sounds exotic to both consumers and brewers, noted mead authority Ken Schramm, author of “The Compleat Meadmaker” and owner of Shramm’s Meads in Michigan. Shramm will be among the American mead pioneers and experts leading this short course.

Mead has to be explained,” Schramm told The Bee earlier this year. “That’s a cross we bear. We’ll get people educated. Once they get it on their lips, the rest is easy.”

Mead has proved an immensely popular topic for UC Davis’ Honey Center. Two prior courses sold out quickly. Advanced registration for this class is available online at http://honey.ucdavis.edu/mead. Fee is $500 for early registration through Aug. 31. Then, the fee goes up to $575.

Attendees will taste a variety of meads, meet mead makers and learn about its different styles and flavors. Then, the class will make small batches of mead in the Mondavi Institute’s on-campus facility. Participating in the course will be Shramm; UC Davis winemaker Chik Brenneman; Mike Faul, proprietor of Rabbit’s Foot Meadery in Sunnyvale; and Michael Fairbrother, owner of New Hampshire’s Moonlight Meadery.

“This course – aimed at the beginner who wants to know more – is the first in a series being developed by faculty in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology and the Honey and Pollination Center,” said Amina Harris, the Honey Center’s director. “We plan to offer an intermediate level course in Spring 2016, targeted to those who have recently started meaderies and those who have been making mead for several years.”

Additionally, attendees can share their home brews during an informal evening gathering, Harris said. “It’s a great way to get to know what’s out there in the mead world.”

For more information, contact Harris at aharris@ucdavis.edu.

Debbie Arrington: 916-321-1075, @debarrington

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