Saturday, Aug. 3, is National Mead Day. Some argue that fermented honey, also known as mead, is the first alcoholic drink known to man (ahead of beer and wine). Its origin is so ancient that the precise moment of conception remains a mystery. There is evidence of mead production as early as 7000 BC, which was seen in pottery found in northern China; and there's a chance it goes back even further.
The epic poem Beowulf remains one of the most notable references to mead and its place in history. The mead-hall, a circular meeting area devoted to the consumption of honey wine, is where monster Grendel attacks a group of men. Warrior Beowulf immediately sets out to defeat the beast.
"How many times have my men sworn to stay after dark
And stem that horror with a sweep of their swords.
And then, in the morning, this mead-hall glittering
With new light would be drenched with blood, the benches
Stained red, the floors, all wet from that fiend's
Savage assault-and my soldiers would be fewer
Still death taking more and more."
Luckily Beowulf kills the beast, perhaps due to the liquid courage provided by mead, and we can still sip on the sweet stuff today. Seminole Heights' Mermaid Tavern is home to one of the bay area's largest selection of bottled and draft meads. That includes B. Nektar's Zombie Killer Cherry Cyser on draft! How's about those beehives?
Here's a complete list of Mermaid Tavern's mead offerings:
Bunratty White Meade (Pyment), Ireland
Redstone Mango Sparkling Melomel, Colorado (Organic)
Redstone Black Raspberry Melomel, Colorado (Organic)
Redstone Boysenberry Sparkling Melomel, Colorado (Organic)
Redstone "Sunshine" Wildflower Apricot Sparkling Melomel, Colorado (Organic)
B. Nektar Ethiopian Harrar Coffee Metheglin, Michigan
B. Nektar NecroMangoCon Mango & Black Pepper Metheglin, Michigan
B. Nektar Zombie Killer Cherry Cyser Michigan (On tap!)
Original Sin Elderberry Cyser, New York (In-house, on tap!)
Crafted Spiced Apple Metheglin/Cyser, Ohio (Organic)
Crafted Hop Nectar Braggot, Ohio (Organic)
Mermaid Tavern, 6719 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 813-238-5618.