Reviving an ancient drop: Gosnells Mead creates a buzz

Step aside beer, cider and sparkling wines, there’s a new brew on everyone’s lips — and one man is leading it’s revival in London. With just two humble ingredients, honey and water, brewer Tom Gosnell is bringing mead back in a big way. We asked Tom all about Gosnells Mead and what goes into brewing this delicious beverage. Here’s what he told us …

You don’t see a lot of mead around. How did you get into making it?

Not only is mead the world’s oldest alcoholic fermented beverage, but nearly all civilizations – like the Romans, Ethiopians, Anglo-Saxons – had their own takes on it. When we started Gosnells last year, we were surprised to see that, despite all its history, mead had pretty much disappeared from the radar. It was on one of many trips to the US where, after visiting lots of great East Coast crafter breweries, I learnt about mead’s revival and craft brewers opening up just to make mead. A few years on and mead production has really taken off in the US, and American consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about it and willing to try the different varieties. So, I decided to try making it here in London, but with our own twist to bring it up-to-date.

Tell us a little about the method you use …

Our mead is made from an Orange Blossom Honey, which we mix with water and a Pilsner yeast. This is then fermented for around a week. When it’s reached the right sweetness it is then hand-bottled, pasteurized and labeled on-site in the Peckham meadery.

What goes into your mead?

We’ve stuck to the roots of the drink, using just honey and water to create our London mead. There are no additives – apples, grapes or hops – so it’s a really pure form of mead. But we have a put a twist on the traditional drink, making it only 5.5% ABV – like a beer or cider – and lightly sparkling. It’s also much drier and more refreshing than traditional mead. Most people compare it to a medium dry cider or sparkling wine.

Gosnells London Mead

Had you experimented with making other types of alcohol before?

I’ve been an avid home brewer since uni when I used to make a lot of cider. It was out of this hobby that my mead production grew, as it’s a similar process.

Did it take you a long time to develop the perfect drop of mead?

We experimented with different mixes of honey, like citrus and lavender honeys, until we found the perfect balance for our mead. It’s amazing how much flavour variance there is with different honeys, and there’s so many different varieties of honeys available there’s huge scope to experiment.

For those who haven’t tried mead, how would you describe the taste?

In essence it’s a light, refreshing drink with a honey flavour, that’s perfect for summer.

It has a touch of sweet sugars and is floral on the nose, with a pale straw colour and the presence of small bubbles. Faint citrus and yeasty notes on the palate, lively small bubbles. The sweetness of the honey rounds out to a full, crisp and refreshing finish.

Gosnells Mead

How’s the feedback been from people who’ve tried your product (particularly people who might usually drink beer)?

The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s such a different drink that it’s hard to compare it to other things people have tasted. I think that it’s pretty hard not to like it, especially on a warm summer’s day!

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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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Quote Tom Gosnell

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It’s important to drink responsibly (and in keeping with the age limits and legal requirements of your country).