Heavy Hops Ep. 044: Recreating Methode Accidental (Dr. Garth Cambray/Makana Meadery & David Frost/B. United Int.)

Dr. Garth Cambray is the Director of Makana Meadery in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Makana Meadery has its beginnings in a Rhodes University-based biotechnology research project to develop state-of-the-art continuous fermentation technology for producing iQhilika, a traditional African mead.

Garth walks us through early experiences with traditional beverages from the region such as Umqombothi, mampoer and iQhilika. A chance meeting with David Frost of beverage importer B. United Int and a warm reception for Makana’s honey wines at the 2005 International Mead Festival secured a future for Garth’s meads in North America.

Garth and David tell us about the Methode Accidental Project, in which the two foraged for and collected honey from the diverse biomes of South Africa. The honey mixed with rain water, local fruit and “whatever may come” contributed to interesting fermentation flavors. 

These spontaneously fermented meads convey a remarkable sense of place in their fermentation character, aroma, appearance and flavor. Crucially they are rooted in a sincere desire to use conservation to build cultural confidence, enable technological empowerment, create sustainable incomes for local beekeepers, while sharing untold stories.

Photos Provided by: Dr. Garth Cambray.

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