View Full Version : Zymurgy -- Two New Mead Articles!

Dan McFeeley
12-29-2005, 11:12 AM
(cross posted from the Mead Lovers Digest ;D )

Two new articles on mead in the latest Zymurgy!

"T'ej Ethiopa's Imperial Mead" by Chris O'Brien was a feature article, covering some of the history of T'ej as a royal drink and the author's experiences with T'ej in contemporary Ethiopia.

This was a good article and touched on some of the cultural aspects of T'ej that are little known here in the USA. For instance, T'ej is traditionally served in "birille," a vase shaped glass with a narrow neck. It is filled to the brim so the drinker can quickly flip out any bits of honeycomb floating on the surface.

Unfortunately, in many circles the age old tradition of T'ej seems to have fallen on hard times. The author notes that some producers of T'ej might supplement the honey with sugar, putting out a product that is the drink of choice for those who can little afford it. Not all have fallen to these standards. Some, like Ato Dereje, are making efforts to produce a quality beverage that echoes the ancient traditions of T'ej making.

Again, a good article, but for a really well rounded perspective on T'ej, I would strongly suggest taking a look at the article written by Miriam Kresh (also an MLD subscriber) on GotMead (http://www.gotmead.com) titled "Tej: Ancient Honey Beer." Go to the home page, scroll down and you'll see it. Read both articles and you'll see a broadened picture of T'ej in Ethiopia.

A shorter article was by Charlie Papazian in his regular column World of Worts titled "Letting the Genie out of the Bottle." This was a tasting review of an extremely rare mead -- a sack metheglin made by Col. Robert Gayre in 1944. A nice article, but even nicer if you have old copies of Zymurgy at hand. Dig out vol. 22/no 4, July/August 1999, turn to Charlie's World of Worts "Castles and Mead" and read about his visit to Gayre's castle in Scotland, where he obtained the 1944 sack metheglin.

Nice to see the coverage of the mead scene in Zymurgy, and even more interesting considering what it says about the brewing scene. Brewers are more than people who love beer, they are Zymurgists, interested in the general lore of fermented beverages and the cuisine and culture associated with them. Brewers brew, but they also vint, make cider and mead, and explore the traditions behind these beverages.

12-29-2005, 11:35 AM
Thanks for the heads up, Dan! I'm eagerly awaiting my next issue......guess I'll have to go ahead and purchase back issues too!

Folks, Miriam's article is on the front page, check it out. There is also an article reprinted from the '89 American Mead Association (now defunct) Journal. There is some contention as to how valid the author's info about Tej is, but I've posted it also on the front page for reference purposes. Between Zymurgy, Miriam's article, and the AMA article, plus the Tej recipes in the recipe area, you should have a good understanding of this unique drink.

Vicky - adding categories for recipes for beer, wine, cordials and party drinks