According to Grolier's Multimedia Encyclopedia 1997:
Mead is an intoxicating alcoholic beverage made by fermenting
honey and water, sometimes with fruit and spices added as flavorings.
With beer and ale, mead is one of the oldest of European fermented
drinks. It was made in ancient Greece and Rome and was thought
to be the drink of the gods by early Teutonic tribes. Production
of mead grew into an organized industry in 15th-century Germany,
and throughout northern Europe mead consumption began to drop
only toward the end of the 16th century, when the introduction
of sugar reduced the importance of honey. The Welsh drink Metheglyn
is a highly spiced, more potent mead.
Clearly the consumption of mead held a significant place in
the Scanian culture of the first millenium.
Early in Grendel, the monster observes the aggression-producing
effect of mead drinking (32). This could be useful in a culture