by Michael Cavanagh
NSW Country Hour
It has been described as the ancestor of all fermented drinks.
For most Australians mead, the alcoholic drink based on fermenting honey with water, would conjure up images of Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and medieval feasts.
But with the growing popularity of apple cider, another drink that has its roots many centuries ago, mead may soon grace a lot more tables.
That is the view of Michael Devey who hung up his lab coat as a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) scientist several years ago.
He then swapped it for the protective garb required when working with bees.
Apart from maintaining hives to collect honey and making equipment for other apiarists Mr Devey also makes mead at his operation at Murrumbateman, between Canberra and Yass in southern New South Wales.
He must be doing something right because he won the dry mead section at this year’s National Honey Show.
In the case of his prizewinning mead, it is a matter of bottling it and then finding space under the house for it to be stored.
“I couldn’t tell you exactly what happens I don’t know,” Mr Devey said.
“In my experience at the time that you put it down you probably wouldn’t want to drink it. But after about a year, two years, eight years it seems to get better.”