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Mead Is Not Grog: Peter Makes Fun Of LARPers But Likes Their Beer
Peter Tatara - December 1, 2008

I have some fairly geeky hobbies. My evenings revolve around MythBusters and How I Met Your Mother. I just spent $50 on a toy robot. I don't own a T-Shirt that doesn't feature a comic book character splashed across the front. Yet, despite this, there are still some circles where I fear to tread. While being into comics, movies, games, anime, and all that stuff, I draw the imaginary line at LARPing, Renaissance Faires, and the like. I've always been into Sci-Fi, but Fantasy has never, ever done it for me, and I -- dressed up in my Doctor Who Halloween costume -- openly ridiculed the troglodytes who spent their October 31st pretending to be Elves and Hobbits. Of course, the real problem are the weirdoes who pretend to be Elves and Hobbits the rest of the year, too.

As such, when I -- along with Tengen Toppa Pucca Lagann, Lord Omnicock, Justin Sevakis, and Soppy -- ended up at the Hop Devil Grill after a recent night of sampling the various international foods and beers of St. Mark's Place, I didn't know what to expect when I saw mead on their menu. The team went for various micro-brews made with blueberries and pumpkins and a series of German beers with progressively incomprehensible names, but I ordered the mead.

"It's lame," I told Lord Omnicock. "And that's what makes it cool." Lord Omnicock, drinking a German brew with a 14% alcohol content, dismissed me as did the rest of the table, but I prattled on in a not-entirely-false falsetto voice about Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, and bad poetry. I spoke of Excalibur, tavern wenches, and trolls. I boasted of sword fights with unicorns, having my way with forest nymphs, and my induction into the Dread Brethren of Zahadum. I recounted my last fateful encounter with Brenwheim the Bald at the Rotten Phoenix Inn and how I tricked the goblin out of his family's heirloom codpiece in a crooked game of dice. (Note to self: Look up what a codpiece is before you publish this.) I recalled drinking King Arthur under the table the last time I had a massive goblet of mead.

When the mead arrived in an impressive pewter stein, I was going to show them the definition of cool, yet when the mead actually arrived it was sans an impressive pewter stein. Turns out mead isn't served in big, clunky mugs. Nope, that's grog. Grog's the primordial beer that all the hard-drinking tavern wenches, trolls, and Dread Brethren of Zahadum are spilling down their gullets. What's mead then?

A sweet-smelling amber elixir served in a delicate flute.

Mead is an alcohol made out of yeast and honey and is as unmanly as LARPing, but it's good stuff. The Hop Devil Grill had a variety of mead infusions -- including peach, plum, strawberry, and pear -- but I went for the traditional stuff. Just honey, yeast, and a little bit of magic. And that's what it tasted like, too. It was a sweet, gold water resonating with honey punctuated by buzz.

The night turned into early morning. More things happened. There were corn chips covered in coarse salt. Drinking games. Rice and pickled plums. An ensemble of waitresses as each clocked in and out of their shifts. And then, finally, we departed. It was a night like many that had come before and since, but what separated it and elevated it was that nectar stolen from LARPers -- my first taste of mead.

That's the best ending you're going to get.

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