The Mead Story

by wjw on April 22, 2019

A friend laid some home-brewed mead on us, and last night we opened a bottle and shared it with some friends who’d never had mead before.  A strong, sweet honey odor and a taste to match.  Pretty nice.

All of which reminded me of the time I tried to brew some mead.

I was maybe nineteen and had found a recipe somewhere.  I bought the ingredients, and my friend Jeff offered the use of his kitchen.

Jeff was my age and into theater, and in fact lived in a theater annex.  The theater was a former church in Old Town, and the attached parsonage had been turned into an apartment.  Jeff shared this apartment with a roommate, a middle-aged gay man (also into theater) who lived with his teenaged boyfriend.   Relations among this diverse cast of characters were amiable, especially considering how eccentric we all were, though I was a little surprised by the duo’s habit of wandering around the apartment in very little clothing. I suppose that if I were as buff as they, I might have been seen in Speedos more often myself.

So Jeff and I brewed up our mead, which was decanted into a two-gallon glass container.  Jeff had a fridge in his bedroom closet, and the mead was put to rest in the fridge overnight, with a “floating cap,” a screw cap left very loose, to allow fermentation gases to escape.  When we went to sleep, I crashed in a sleeping bag on the floor of Jeff’s room.

Around four in the morning there was an enormous explosion as the mead detonated.  The floating cap had not floated far enough.  The detonation not only blew open the refrigerator door and sprayed the closet with glass shrapnel, it knocked down the refrigerator shelving and threw the contents of the fridge onto the floor.

It was dark and no one had any idea what had happened.  I thought there had been some horrific accident and was doing my best to escape my sleeping bag, which resisted with all its power.  Jeff assumed we were under attack, leaped atop his bed, seized his broadsword, and began issuing battle cries.  (Jeff was totally the sort of person who would have a broadsword waiting by his bed.)

This was the situation when the two roommates arrived and rather sensibly turned on the light.

So, reader, picture the tableaux: two nearly-naked men in Speedos, one lunatic waving a broadsword and screaming “SOULS FOR ARIOCH!“, and me engaged in mortal combat with my sleeping bag.

The rest of the evening was anticlimactic, featuring as it did cleanup.  The room reeked of mead for weeks.

pecooper April 22, 2019 at 11:03 am

I’m assuming that, when we get to see Quillifer in this situation, it will be the cuckolded count’s pretty wife wielding the broadsword. Otherwise, the scene can stand as described.

Etaoin Shrdlu April 22, 2019 at 7:15 pm

Good thing you didn’t stand up! It’s hard to write books after getting your head cut off.

Remember, eagles may soar, and giraffes may get a good view of the battle, but weasels don’t usually get decapitated.

Jane Lindskold April 23, 2019 at 11:53 am

Brilliant, brilliant! Bravo! I just read it aloud to Jim because…

Thank you not only a smile but belly laughs.

Robert Sulentic April 25, 2019 at 7:43 pm

Made me laugh out loud. I had friends like that in younger days.

Shash April 27, 2019 at 5:56 pm

OMG, this sounds like pretty much all of my friends from ages 16-35. Excellent telling. Did you try making the mead again?

wjw April 27, 2019 at 7:47 pm

We did, and it was tasty.

Bruce Arthurs April 30, 2019 at 10:44 am

There was a time, way back when, that I was slim and fit enough I could wear a Speedo without looking like a fool. It was an interesting few weeks.

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