UC Davis is known worldwide for its viticulture programs. The campus also offers courses and certifications in brewing (it has been doing this since 1958).

But mead, the heady beverage of medieval lore? Yes.

Elaine Corn reports for the Sacramento Bee:

“No era in human history has existed without the search for an altered state of being. Notwithstanding hallucinations from chewing or sipping tea decocted from certain leaves, most of humankind’s sidesteps from reality have come from drink.

Most likely, it started with mead. Mead is made from honey, and it is believed to be the oldest fermented beverage in the world. The ancient Chinese fermented honey and rice to alcoholic potency. Ethiopia is still at it, having enjoyed tej, the country’s honey-based national drink, since the third century. And pre-Middle Ages Europeans pumped up with it in mead halls before and after battle.”

Corn reports that there are more than 200 meaderies in the U.S., including 10 in California. There is even a professional association for meadmakers.

The Robert Mondavi Institute at UC Davis will host a Mid-Winter Bee Keeper’s Feast on Saturday, Jan. 31. Proceeds from the dinner will be used to support outreach and education programs of the Mondavi Institute’s Honey and Pollination Center.