I was picked up by someone on another SE site (unrelated) when I used the phrase "Some beers, like mead...(blah blah)" - Apparently a mead isn't a beer. I'm good with that in the pedantic sense that it's correct, but I wasn't intending to be quite so specific, and was merely suggesting that I was not talking about spirits etc. It got me thinking about the definition of what could, or could not be called a beer, and whether a beer is an actual drink at all, or just the name of the group of drinks that we call beers, but which really have more specific names and definitions.
The key phrase for me, in understanding it from a simple taxonomy point of view is that alcoholic drinks are essentially either Beers Wines or Spirits. That's my starting point, which may well be rudimentary at best and wrong at worst
Using this definition, a Mead must clearly be a beer in the most basic definition; it's certainly not a win or spirit? Obviously under beer you then have ales, lagers, ciders, perrys, meads, stouts, bitters and probably a million others, and probably further sublevels (dry cider, sweet cider, sparkling cider....), but is there a second level "beer" also at this level?
Really, is there actually a single specific drink that is a beer that is not further defined as, for example, an IPA, or a Stout?