So many choices, so many styles. It can be difficult to know where to start with mead. Over the next few articles we are going to explore some of the basics of storing, serving and drinking mead. But first let’s begin with packaging styles and labels in the Ontario context. And this is by no means an exhaustive list or the correct way to package rather just a few examples of what the mead explorer will encounter along the journey.
The classic corked wine bottle implies a mead that is to be consumed like a wine, either white or red. Appropriate for sharing around the dinner table. Served like wine whereas heavier meads are served warmer vs lighter meads that are served at cellar temperature or colder.
Cider or beer bottles imply generally lighter meads, lower in price point, carbonated and session strength (lower alcohol). These are often crown capped and served at cellar or chilled.
The aluminum can also imply generally lighter meads that are comparable to ciders or beers or even now wines in smaller package sizes. Generally carbonated and session strength they too are served at cellar or chilled temperatures.
The classic 375 or 500 ml bottles that imply a heavier or sweeter drink. Meant to be drunk in small amounts at room temperature or cellar but not colder. These meads will generally be still and heavier bodied.
Swing-top bottles are usually more expensive packages that usually suggest a lighter mead that is carbonated. The swing top allows the drinker to recap and keep some carbonation over a few days. But this style can be used for any mead really.
The classic growler similar to craft cider and beer can be used to draw meads off tap. For carbonated meads that are generally session strength this is a great way to drink them young and fresh. Heavier meads can also be put on tap often under a gas that doesn’t carbonate the mead.
Where it gets tricky is that mead can also be packaged in specialty bottles of any size or shape. Similar to a fine spirit some meadmakers may choose to package their still products in unique bottle shapes that are artful within themselves. These meads can range in any alcohol strength but generally will be on the higher side.
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