A modern version of what may be the oldest form of alcohol is now available in the Quad Cities. Bootleg Hill Honey Meads opened Thursday in downtown Davenport.
After spending several years making mead, or honey wine, in his basement in East Moline, and selling it in local stores, Rick Harris has now opened a bar where you can sample 11 diffrerent varieties of mead.
"King Arthur, Beowulf, the Vikings of course were very famous for it, Game of Thrones. The other thing it's very famous for is the Egyptians - the Egyptians had it and the Babylonians."
Making it is similar to wine, using water and yeast, but substituting honey for grapes. It takes 2 to 3 weeks to make, and the alcohol ranges from 8 to 14 per cent. A 60-gallon batch uses about 20 gallons of honey.
Harris had hoped to buy his honey locally.
"I've approached the local beekeepers and no one has the amount of honey we need. Most of our honey is coming from either Wisconsin or the Dakotas, and some's coming from Iowa."
His first careers were in banking and corporate recruiting.
Along with mead, Bootleg Hill also offers beer, wine, and cider.