Michael Fagan, owner of Honnibrook Craft Meadery in Castle Rock, wants to make mead an everyday drink. “We’re producing a different kind of mead than most make,” Fagan says.
He’s doing this by aiming for a lower amount of alcohol in his mead — about 6 percent alcohol by volume as opposed to the traditional 10 percent or more. He’s also adding carbonation.
Oh, and then there are the Honnibrook mead slushies.
“Meads in general have a little more sweetness than a craft beer, so they make great slushies,” Fagan explains. He’s been cranking up the slushie machine for the past several months, and the response has been excellent. “It adds another level of enjoyment, especially on a hot summer day. And it’s a lot of fun,” the mead maker points out.
Honnibrook's light, fruity meads, such as blood orange, salted mango, guava-passion fruit, lemon, black cherry and mojito, make a great base for Fagan's slushies. The mead goes directly from the tap into the machine with the addition of a little simple syrup. “Most people see it as a treat,” he notes. “For people who come from the non-mead drinking world, it’s like a margarita. It’s another channel for approachability into mead.”
Fagan adds that mead is also a welcome change for craft-beer enthusiasts. “There are craft-beer drinkers that are either exploring or want to try something different or are burned out on too many hops in IPAs,” he says, pointing out that his meads are fermented with beer yeast instead of wine yeast, adding a touch of familiarity to the flavor profile.
The fun won’t stop when the weather cools: Honnibrook also has perfect mead flavors for fall, including Earl Grey-lavender, rose-hibiscus and coffee, which uses fresh-roasted beans from a local coffeehouse. “It’s like drinking a nice, smooth coffee with a little carbonation,” Fagan says.
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Fagan supports local beekeepers as much as possible, opting for honey from Colorado Springs and Fort Lupton. “The honey you get in Colorado is just amazing,” he says. He’s also passionate about giving anyone who visits the taproom an educational experience about honey and mead.
The Honnibrook taproom serves twelve meads on tap: eight standard meads and four seasonal and special releases. Recently, the meadery took home eight awards as well as the Best of Show/Mead prize at the Colorado State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
Honnibrook Craft Meadery is located at 2276 Manatt Court, Unit B9, in Castle Rock. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, as well as by appointment. For more information, call 720-257-9866 or visit honnibrook.com.