Mead 101

A Beginner’s Guide to Mead: Tips for Your Journey to Mead Mastery

Are you ready to start your journey toward mead enlightenment? Here are some tips to get you started. With this knowledge, you’ll impress your friends, colleagues, and admirers in no time. Be prepared for random high-fives from strangers!

Understanding Mead

Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from honey. However, it can include various other ingredients—everything except malt, which is used for making beer.

Mead vs. Cider

Mead is not cider. It’s straightforward: if it’s cider, the label will say “cider.” There is a style of mead made with apple cider called a cyser, but it’s still not cider. Some meaderies also produce cider, so don’t assume that everything from a meadery is mead. Be an informed consumer!

Misconceptions About Mead

Mead doesn’t have to be super sweet, overly fruity, high in alcohol, or something you can only drink a few ounces of at a time. While some meads are like that, they don’t all have to be. Don’t let others sway your opinion—explore and find what you like!

Even though mead is the world’s oldest fermented beverage, awareness of it is still growing. Modern mead comes in a wide range of styles, flavors, and sweetness levels. Just as you wouldn’t write off all craft beer because you tried one porter you didn’t like, don’t dismiss mead too quickly. Dive into the different types!

The Role of Honey in Mead

Just like how different malts in beer or grape varieties in wine affect the final product, the type of honey used in mead can lead to different flavors, colors, and aromas based on the nectar source visited by bees. Crazy, right?

Types of Mead

  • Still Mead: Mead that is not sparkling, usually with an alcohol content of 12% or higher.
  • Session Mead: Mead that is under 7% alcohol and sparkling—ours are typically 6%. We sometimes make imperial session meads that are 10%, because we like to break the rules.

Now, let’s explore the main categories of mead for your personal education:

Traditional Mead

A traditional mead consists of honey, water, and yeast. These meads allow the chosen honey to shine, letting the drinker experience its unique characteristics. There is a wide array of varietal honey available, each with its own flavor and aroma.


Melomels are crafted using fruit, honey, water, and yeast. We prefer to use fresh, locally-sourced fruits to ensure the best possible product. We build relationships with our vendors and often haul loads of fresh fruit from their family-run operations. Ask us about these local farms; we love to share!


Metheglins are made with spices and/or herbs, honey, water, and yeast. Examples include cinnamon, vanilla, and hibiscus. The name “metheglin” comes from the Welsh word for “medicine,” as these herbal elixirs were once believed to have healing properties. We can’t confirm any medicinal qualities, but we can say that a good metheglin is hard to beat.


Pyments are meads made with wine grapes, honey, water, and yeast. While they are a type of melomel, pyments are notable for combining elements of both wine and mead. Using red or white grapes with honey creates something truly unique.


Cysers are made with apple cider, honey, and yeast. Being in Northeast Ohio, we have access to some of the best apple cider around. We usually start fermentation within a day or two of the cider being pressed. With the variety of apples and honey available, the flavor possibilities are endless.


Hydromels are meads with an alcohol content of 7.5% or less. They are often carbonated and more drinkable than other styles. Hydromels can incorporate any of the other mead styles mentioned above.

Embark on your mead journey and discover the diverse and delightful world of this ancient beverage. Cheers to becoming a mead connoisseur!


Our Meads can be found at these participating establishments…


Albany War Room Tavern
Allen Street Pub

Cafe Capriccio
City Beer Hall 
dp AN American Brasserie
Fuze Box
Go Play With Your Food
Hooked Market and Kitchen
Lionheart Pub and Brewery
Loch & Quay
Lost and Found
Madison Pour House
O'Slattery's Irish Pub
Rooted + Rind
Still On The Hill Winery
Sushi by Bou - Albany
The Copper Crow
The Hollow
The Loft @205
The Real McCoy – Delmar
The Savoy Taproom
War Cannon Spirits


All Star Wine And Spirits
Broadway Plaza Liquor
Capital Wine & Spirits Albany
Chatham Real Food Market Co-op
Community Craft Hudson
Empire Wine & Liquor
Grapes & Grains Wine and Spirits
Honest Weight Food Co-op
Hoosick Street Wine Cellar
Motor Oil Coffee Albany Slip 12
On The Island Wine & Liquor
PRIMAL: Your Local Butcher
Purdy’s Discount Wine and Liquor
Regulars Liquor Cabinet
Remedies Wine & Spirits
Personal Wine Cellar
Scotia Wine & Spirits
Show Pony Wines & Spirits
Smiths Colonie Wine & Liquor Store
Top Shelf Wine & Spirits
Upstate Wine & Spirits Co

Hours of Operation

Bottle Sales:
Tuesday - Friday: 11:00AM - 4:00PM

Tasting Room & Bottle Sales:
Wednesday - Friday: 4:00PM - 9:00PM
Saturday: Noon until 9:00PM
Monday and Sunday: Closed


140 Hamilton Street
Albany, NY 12207
(518) 312-1053