Have you ever tried mead? While wine and craft beer tend to hog the spotlight, I’ve come to find a good mead in the evening hits the spot. Made from fermenting honey with water and a touch of yeast, this traditional alcoholic beverage offers up a taste of something different when you’re visiting Pittsburgh.
While the city’s meadery scene is small, it continues to draw in a small yet local fanbase (me included) with its rich history, depth of flavors and the passionate people keeping this traditional beverage relevant.
If you’re ready to indulge in the sweet flavors of honey, fruits, spices and hops, check out these five meaderies in and around Pittsburgh.
You’ll feel right at home at Apis Mead, a buzzing location in Carnegie Borough, just a short drive through the Fort Pitt tunnel. Boasting a wide selection of meads, from sweeter contemporary options to more traditional forms with simply honey and yeast, Apis Mead is a great spot to start your meadery adventures. The staff is also super friendly (and knowledgeable, so feel free to ask questions).
The mead is made in-house – the fermentation tanks are visible from the high tops – and food trucks come around multiple times a week. I recommend going with staples like Goldenrod, Clover, and Knotweed honey meads. They combine sweet citrus flavors with a balanced honey taste that is both approachable and complex.
KingView Meadhouse and Winery
KingView Mead has made itself a household name in the greater Pittsburgh mead scene ever since it opened in late 2021. A local hot spot in the heart of Mt. Lebanon, this meadery is known for mixing bright fruit and berry flavors into classic mead foundations bursting with complexity and depth. Apple, grape, cranberry, ginger, classic honey – KingView has a wealth of options for folks new to mead as well as connoisseurs.
Quality craftsmanship, mead fermenting education and aiding local beekeepers and apiaries play an important role in KingView’s mission to craft quality meads, and it definitely shows in the taste.
Arsenal Cider House
Arsenal Cider House is a U.S. Civil War-themed cidery named after the Allegheny Arsenal, a Union Army supply and manufacturing center. You’ll find two locations; one in Lower Lawrenceville, a hub for breweries, restaurants, and the like, and one in Dormont, just outside of Pittsburgh. Although it focuses on ciders, Arsenal has some of the best meads in the city.
I suggest trying the Dog Robber, a small batch of dry mead with a light finish or Murray’s Mead for a more traditional taste with notes of honey and caramel.
Threadbare Cider House and Meadery
Threadbare Cider House and Meadery is named after none other than Johnny Appleseed, who was frequently described as having a threadbare appearance (he also rarely wore shoes).
Located in Troy Hill, just up the street from the North Shore, this meadery has a rustic feel and plenty of tables and open space, and when the Pittsburgh weather isn’t as characteristically fickle as it normally is, outside seating is available. Threadbare has three flagship meads, including Sweet Mead, Hive & Vines, and a cider-mead mix called Apples & Honey Cider.
Laurel Highlands Meadery
Laurel Highlands Meadery is a bit of a trek away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but it’s way worth the visit. Nestled in the beautiful outdoors of Greensburg (just southeast of Pittsburgh), this meadery serves up a unique combination of flavors in a charming setting. From spicy Habanero to the sweet Orange Vanilla and Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jelly, expect the unexpected when it comes to these meads. I personally like the Ginger Hibiscus – it’s tart and floral with the perfect balance of sweetness.