Haley's Honey Meadery Draws Attention
Haley’s Honey Meadery offers mead-tasting, light fare and weekend entertainment in Hopewell VA
Hopewell, VA – Haley’s Honey Meadery is bringing mead-tasting and regular night-time entertainment to downtown Hopewell. Haley’s is one of nine retail establishments to open in Hopewell in the past few years.
Tonya Haley opened the micro-meadery on November 17, 2018, offering nine varieties of mead made from her home-grown honey, along with snacks and weekend entertainment. She specializes in small batch quantities of 50 to 125 gallons to better ensure a high-quality product.
Tonya and her husband Mike lease 1,200 square feet for their tasting room, which seats 50 in a renovated commercial building at 235 East Broadway Avenue in Hopewell’s downtown area. Their operation is just two blocks from the popular Beacon Theatre. She hopes to have a patio in the grassy area out back and perhaps another on the side of the building in the spring.
A 24-foot copper-topped bar dominates the tasting room of Haley’s Honey Meadery. Made from two and a half nine-foot reclaimed doors on a base of wooden pallets, the bar seats nine. “All the materials we used in here is either upcycled, recycled or free,” says Mike Haley.
At Haley’s Honey Meadery, customers can get a tasting of mead with a flight of four flavors or they can buy the mead in .375 ml bottles. The mead comes in different flavors, depending on what is in season: peach, cherry, red raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, black currant, ginger, pumpkin, mint, orange, lemon, vanilla and wildflower. They buy fruits from local farmers.
Haley’s Honey Meadery has already received positive reviews on Yelp. A reviewer from Selma, California, says: “I’ve had my fair share of mead in my day. And this place is one of the best meaderies I’ve been to.”
Haley’s snacks include honey-ham sliders, bruschetta, a cheese platter, ginger bread cheesecake dip, chips with a salsa and guacamole combo, and a mild white cheese salsa and chips. Snacks are served on old-fashioned metal cookie trays.
Both Tonya and her husband have careers. She teaches English in middle school and Mike is an x-ray technician. Their family, now third generation, is known throughout Virginia for their beekeeping, honey, and mead. Their storefront and distillery is a significant agritourism asset for the region. They operate the meadery on weekends: Thursday from 4 to 8 pm, Friday from 4 to 9 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm and Sunday from 1 to 5 pm with entertainment, which includes diverse live performances, trivia nights and pop-up vendors.
The Haleys produce their mead on-site. Next door to the tasting room Mike tends two 200 gallon vats, where he is brewing the mead. It takes one and a half months to brew mead for the taps and three months for the bottles, he explains. The mead on-tap is 6% alcohol and the mead in bottles is 12% alcohol.
Tonya grew up in a bee-keeping family; her father was an apiarist. She and Mike got into the bee-keeping business in the year 2000 with 30 bee colonies, which they provide to area farmers to pollinate their crops. They were selling honey and started making mead three years ago as a home brew.
“There has been an explosion of urban wineries and breweries,” said Tonya, “and we are finally getting in on the bandwagon. We are different because we produce our own honey.” According to Mead Buzz, there are nine other meaderies in Virginia. Made of honey, water, malt and yeast, mead is perhaps the world’s oldest known alcoholic beverage, going back to Biblical times.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN HOPEWELL VA
For details on other things to see and do in Hopewell, please contact the Hopewell and Prince George, VA, tourism office at https://www.hpgchamber.org/visitor-center or 1-800-863-8687. Travel advisers will be happy to share details on accommodations, special mid-winter deals, historic attractions, food, musical performances and entertainment in and near Hopewell and Prince George, Virginia, just 20 miles south of Richmond, Virginia.
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Haley’s Honey Meadery in Hopewell, Virginia.
Tonya Haley at Haley’s Honey Meadery.
Families enjoying an evening at Haley’s Honey Meadery.
Santa Claus stopped by Haley’s Honey Meadery to say hello to Megan McGrath and Eddie Fischer, who were tasting the four meads on tap.
Mike Haley tending to one of the vats of mead.