The Rhapsody is a blackberry draft mead from Meridian Hive Meadery out of Austin Texas. They were founded in 2012 and more recently have undergone a rebranding. Their new look is sooo much better than their old identity. But more on that later.
I was sent a handful of products from the good folks from Texas, both draft style and traditional mead, so there will be more Meridian Hive reviews coming down the line. Because it was the only one I got two of, the first one I tried was the Rhapsody. Here’s what they have to say about it,
Rhapsody takes center stage to showcase The Hive’s techniques to deliver intense fruit flavor while maintaining a smooth and subtle sweetness. Our customers have spoken loudly and launched this mead to the top of our range. Wholesome blackberries, orange blossom honey and just the right amount of carbonation combine to make Rhapsody an amazingly refreshing draft mead.
The Mead Review
I feel as though canned beverages are meant to be consumed from the can, but for the sake of review and photography, I pour mine in a tulip glass. It pours a beautiful ruby color, with ample carbonation. The bubbles clear quickly, leaving a nice translucency. A great, enticing appearance, glad this blog forced me to pour it out of the can!
The aroma is sweet berry and honey, with a slight amount of funkiness. There is a surprising amount of grape notes as well. Upon first taste, I am very intrigued. It definitely has a distinct flavor. It starts with handfuls of berry, but then gives way to a lot of sweetness and artificial grape-like flavors. After a few more sips, it becomes a bit too sweet. It’s saving grace however is the carbonation. The bubbles lighten up the mouthfeel, saving it from drinking too much like cough syrup. It’s labeled as a semi-sweet mead, but it’s drinking sweeter than that for me. This could be a nice summer sipper if everything is toned down a few notches – I’ll see if using it as a mixer will do just that.
The Label Design / Branding Review
I’ll start broad on this post and then dig further into individual elements on future posts.
The new Merdian Meadery branding is a great leap forward for not only their company, but the mead industry in general. Shedding the old treasure map, scroll, banner, pirate, middle-ages, whatever else was going on (there was a lot) for the clean, modern aesthetic they have now helps get rid of the Renaissance Fair stigma mead so often gets. It’s especially smart for the draft mead, a style that can capture a broader audience.
While the new identity is pretty nice, I feel like it needed a few more rounds of iteration to make it really sing. The colors are good, but the patterning on the website and traditional mead labels feels disjointed. One thing that is bothering me is the thick bubbly lines and rounded corners of the icon. The roundedness of the bee icon and stripes sort of fight with the less rounded star and “Meridian Hive” type. I assume its a bee, though cutting off the bottom portion to accommodate the star makes it look like it has legs. Now that I see the legs, it’s looking like an alien to me, with antennas and wearing a bra or v-neck t-shirt. I wonder what would happen if the star was flipped around so the top point becomes a stinger?
I apologize, I’m realizing i’m probably starting to sound like an asshole here with these comments. The 6.5% rhapsody (and gin drink i made with it) must be getting to me. It is a solid rebrand, infinitely better than the old identity and sure to draw attention on the shelf. I particularly love “Mead in Austin.”
Many more Meridian Hive Meads to try. Stay posted!