I’ll admit that the first time my friend told me there is a meadery in Bellevue I thought she was saying “meatery” and I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. Once someone explained to me what a meadery actually is, I became so intrigued that I had to go check it out for myself.
Moonstruck Meadery in Bellevue opened its doors October 28, 2011. “We sold out three weeks later,” says Brian Schlueter, the meadery’s founder. “We reopened January 26 and then we closed four weeks later because we ran out of product again. We ramped up production and have been open ever since.”
It’s not a large place, but its cozy atmosphere works perfectly for the laid-back vibe of the meadery. Parking is ample, but the location is unexpected; it’s in Bellevue but not in the heart of the historic Olde Towne area. “We’re the first meadery in Nebraska,” boasts Brian. “When we went and applied for our liquor license we had to explain to a few people what a meadery is.”
Mead is like wine’s cousin, only it’s made from honey instead of grapes. Mead is purported to be the oldest fermented drink still in production today, featuring a history longer than that of both beer and wine. Most claim mead originated in Ethiopia. It’s a favorite at Renaissance festivals because of its rich heritage and flavor.
Moonstruck offers a revolving menu of mead flavors. When I was there I tried the Show Mead, which was my first encounter with mead and a pleasant surprise because of its distinctly smooth taste. I hate to admit to people that I do not really like wine because it makes me seem definitively unsophisticated, but after having my first sip of mead I loudly proclaimed, “I like this! I don’t even like wine, but I like this stuff!”
Perhaps it is my loud proclamations that make me definitively unsophisticated and not my lack of love for wine, but that’s another story entirely.
I moved on to trying the peach mead, the cherry mead, the plum mead, and then I tried the carbonated version of a couple of these. I then reluctantly took a sip of the Capsumel mead, which has jalapeno among its ingredients and smells as though it might make my eyes water. The taste, however, was marvelous. As I sat with a quizzical look on my face and considered the marriage of tastes dancing around my mouth, I managed to declare it “interesting.” Brian laughed in response and assured me that nearly everyone who tries it for the first time says the exact same thing.
The peach mead was my favorite, although there was not one mead that I tried and would not drink again. The meadery offers tastings at quite a reasonable price. You can also buy bottles to go, or pick up a bottle at one of the Hy-Vee locations listed on the meadery’s website. Personally, I think it is more fun to go to the meadery and hear the history of each mead from Brian or his son Luke, because it quickly becomes obvious that they both have a passion for the mead they make. Originally from Eastern Iowa, the owner is also passionate about using local resources; the meadery’s honey comes from a father and
son honey producer in Clarkson. He also occasionally partners with the small independent bakery next door to offer treats alongside the mead.
I should mention that mead has a higher alcohol content than wine traditionally has. My friend Jen accompanied me to the meadery and after her first taste her eyes opened wide and she asked, “What’s the alcohol content of this?” Brian estimates most mead ranges in alcohol content from 9-12 percent. Keep this in mind if you’re planning on driving home after your visit to the meadery.
I suggest eating before visiting Moonstruck Meadery because they don’t serve any food other than cheese and crackers and other small bites to accompany the mead. If you want to enjoy mead with a meal, buy some bottles and take them home.
Tasting Room Hours
Mon & Tues CLOSED Wed – Fri 3pm – 10pm Sat 1pm – 10pm Sun 1pm – 6pm
2221 Madison St. Bellevue, NE 68005 (402) 934-7544