Throw a rock in the Denver-metro area and it’s difficult not to hit a craft brewery, but what about a craft meadery? Denver neighborhoods like LoDo and RiNo brag about their mom-and-pop breweries but if you want beer’s more medieval cousin you need to head down to
“It’ll be a lot of education, because mead’s not really mainstream,” said co-owner Michael Fagan. “People hear meadery and they think charcuterie, and then they start asking about sausages.”
Mead is an ancient beverage brewed like wine but with honey instead of grapes. The honey-fermenting process gives mead a full-bodied sweet flavor that’s difficult to find in other beverages.
Fagan and co-owner DJ Kurtz have been brewing beer for several years but started brewing mead along with their beer for different contests. Their beer wasn’t much of a hit, but the judges and fans raved about their mead. Though Kurtz and Fagan had planned on opening a brewery, the feedback told them mead, not beer, was in their future.
Traditional mead is simply too sweet for most customers, so Fagan and Kurtz brew ‘draft mead’ which is less sweet and has a lower alcohol content than traditional mead. Honnibrook specializes in a style of mead known as melomel, or mead mixed with different fruits. Honnibrook sources most of its honey from Clark’s Honey Farm in Fort Lupton and Lockhart Honey Farms in Colorado Springs.
Like craft beer breweries, Honnibrook gives names to its different brews like ‘Surrender’ for their blood orange mead and ‘Blushing Yeti’ for its mango-infused concoction. Don’t fret if you want the real thing, though Honnibrook specializes in draft mead, they produce authentic full-strength mead too.
Honnibrook’s location features a tasting room and a mezzanine that can be rented out for private events like team building and parities. A 4-oz taster of mead runs for $2, a 12-oz glass for $6, and a 750-mil growler for $10.
“There’s actually a really vibrant mead community here in Colorado,” Fagan said. “Two of the top five mead makers in the world live in this state. There are national and international mead contests held here every year. It’s kind of been here, but we want to make it mainstream.”