If you’ve never heard of mead, that’s ok. It’s a bit of a niche product, but it’s gaining ground in northern Nevada.
Mead is a type of low-alcohol booze made by fermenting honey and mixing it with water as well as a variety of fruits, spices, grains and hops. The combinations are endless, turning out flavorful brews not unsimilar from beer or cider, but certainly different enough to give mead a category of its own.
At Black Rabbit Mead, a dark and moody space in the middle of the brewery district, a blackboard announces current flavors, of which there are plenty. Most are traditional meads but some include added spirits, and there are a few local brews on tap, as well.
The black-walled space with gothic lettering looks a bit like an old-fashioned pharmacy. There are glass bottles and jars filled with different colored liquids that give me the vibe they may be creating science experiments back there—or trying to raise Frankenstein’s monster from the dead.
If it’s your first visit, I recommend ordering a flight. This way, you can taste four drinks at a time to determine your favorites. Numbered 1-12, most are traditional meads.
If you’re looking for something straightforward, start with the Barrel-Aged Church (6.9%), a gluten-free sipper made from honey, water and yeast. This represents mead’s basic ingredients well, a simple recipe free of fruit and other additives.
The Rosemary Black (6.9%) is herbaceous and refreshing. It isn’t sweet or overpowering, rather offering a hint of flavor.
If you’re looking for something a little stronger, we recommend the Skadi Grey, a raspberry mead with added tea gin, lavender and lemon. Or try a Winter of 1864, which is similar to a Moscow Mule in mead form.
The three spirit-enhanced options are collaborations with 1864 Tavern while the beers come from neighbor breweries such as Lead Dog and Pigeon Head.
There’s also a short menu of craft shots that go above and beyond your tequila served with a wedge of lime. The O. tataira uses local whiskey but adds lemon and house cinnamon sugar. The L. angustifolia starts with local vodka before adding lemon and house lavender sugar.
If you’re hungry, you can get a savory hand pie here, too.
After you’ve ordered, sip back and relax. Depending on the night you can enjoy live music (Saturdays) and DJ Trivia (Tuesdays). Or, come after work for a quieter atmosphere.
While the best way to experience Black Rabbit Mead is at the Fourth Street location, the company does frequent farmer’s markets and other events so there are more ways to taste and get hooked.