by abra cohen, j. staff
j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California
This year at the Rosh Hashanah table, rather than dipping your apple slices in honey, try a libation with a rich history — a mixture of the two ingredients fermented in wooden barrels.
Local mead makers Oron Benary and Sarah Jones have combined the two Rosh Hashanah favorites in their signature “Apple Pie Mead,” one of three varietals they make at the San Francisco Mead Company, the Bay Area’s only meadery.
Mead, a fermented honey drink that is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages — thought to predate wine and beer, sipped by Greek philosophers and Vikings alike — is making a comeback as an artisanal beverage. The drink is ideal for small-scale operations, easy enough to produce that “meaders” can use simple, local ingredients.
“We’ve pretty much created a market for it,” said co-owner Benary. “The beverage is becoming more popular, but a lot of people still have no idea what exactly it is.”
Benary, 41, an Israeli who was raised in Vienna, was first introduced to honey wine when he moved to Ohio for college. “My friends were home-brewing mead and it was different and very interesting,” he said, peering into the stainless steel cauldrons in the Hunters Point micro-meadery.