Roanoke joins the mead movement

The Hive Tasting Room

Blacksnake Mead owners and husband-wife team: Steve and Joann Villers.

It’s hard to not notice the bright yellow painted building on Main Street in the Wasena neighborhood in Roanoke. I’ve driven past it several times and always wondered what was there. The only thing I could make out while driving by was a beehive on the door, I assumed it was some kind of local honey shop. Alas, today I got the answer I was looking for at Blacksnake Meadery’s grand opening of their tasting room they are calling “The Hive Tasting Room.”

IMG_5211Do you know what mead is? To be honest, I didn’t until I attended the grand opening. I knew it was something people drank at medieval festivals, but that’s about it. Turns out it’s made from fermented honey and is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world. The husband-wife team, Steve and Joann Villers, who own the place have been making mead for more than a decade in Caroll County. But they live in Roanoke and wanted to bring their mead a little bit closer to home.

We are excited they did!

IMG_5191Everything about the tasting room is really cute. We are loving the beehive theme throughout the shop, the decor definitely makes sense since mead is made from honey. Get this, the Villers are also beekeepers. So all of their mead is made from their own honey or Virginia honey.

They offer flights of honey and mead. But if you aren’t very adventurous, they also have wine on hand.

IMG_5216At their grand opening, they were offering samples of their mead. It was my first time trying it and didn’t have any expectations about what it might taste like. The first tasting was of their Hoppy Bee Brew. It is described by the meadery as the following:

“A lower-alcohol, dry mead carbonated by bottle-conditioning. Cascade hops give it grapefruit aromas and flavors. Gluten-free, no sulfites added.”

I thought it tasted familiar and it was lightly carbonated. The hops were light in taste but came through just enough to give you the sense that you had a sweet beer in your hand. At the same time, it reminded me a lot of a Moscato wine. So it tasted like wine, with a slight hint of hops. I liked it and would drink it again. It would probably go great with a burger and pizza.

IMG_5194The next sample was their Lime Bee Brew, described by the meadery as:

“Another lower alcohol, bottle-conditioned, carbonated mead. We dilute our own wildflower honey and add fresh lime puree to produce a unique, tart, thirst-quenching brew. Complements spicy foods such as Mexican or Thai. Gluten-free.”

This one was fun to drink. Up front, you definitely catch the lime, but on the back end, you are hit with the unmistakable sweetness of honey. It was sweet, but not too sweet. I could also see myself drinking this again. Hook me up with some tacos and a glass of this and you’ve got it made.

IMG_5214The last sample I tried was the Sweet Virginia with coffee. I couldn’t find the coffee version listed on their website, but this is what the Sweet Virginia is described by the meadery as:

“Semi-sweet traditional mead made from honey from our hives diluted with mountain well water.  Unboiled and sulfite/sorbate added.”

This one literally tasted like coffee and honey. It was darker than the other two, it wasn’t carbonated, and it seemed to pack a little bit more of a punch. If you are a coffee lover, you would definitely love this. I could easily see myself eating a piece of chocolate cake and taking sips of this mead. Don’t judge me,  but I bet I could drink it in the morning too.

IMG_5221Overall, I’m excited they opened their tasting room in Roanoke and I can’t wait to go back and hang out there.

If you want to check it out, here are the details:

The Hive Tasting Room

  • Located at 1116 Main Street in the Wasena neighborhood
  • Open Thursday through Sunday, weekdays 4:30 to 8 PM and weekends 1-8 PM.
  • Check out their website and Facebook page.

Also if you are interested in a road trip, you can always check out their meadery in Caroll County and try their mead on their “Sippin Porch”

Sippin’ Porch (605 Buffalo Road, Dugspur, VA) – SEASONAL April- Nov
(540) 834-6172
Saturday & Sunday 11:00-5:00

 

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