A New Take on Mead

Antelope Ridge Mead Offers a Modern Approach for Mead Making

Mead is the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage and it’s making a comeback. Dan Kesterson, owner and mead maker at Antelope Ridge Mead, is part of the growing movement to create delicious meads with modern methods.

After spending many years brewing beer, Kesterson wanted to try making mead after his father-in-law acquired honey from a beekeeper in South Dakota. Where beer brewing had felt somewhat unsatisfying to Kesterson in terms of the final product, mead making offered the variety and versatility he was seeking. He eventually was making 20 batches a year from home and giving it away. In June of 2021, despite the challenges of Covid-19, Kesterson turned his hobby into a business by opening Antelope Ridge Mead.

A Brief History of Mead

Mead is honey wine with origins that can be traced to cultures around the world dating back to ancient civilizations including Chinese, Egyptian, Viking and Greek. It’s made by fermenting honey.

Many people assume that mead is sweet, but Kesterson notes that “Unlike beer, when you ferment honey, it’s completely fermentable so you can make something that is totally dry with honey. We typically back sweeten our mead, which is where you add some honey back in after fermentation to give it a bit more of that honey flavor and bring the sweetness up a little bit.”

A Modern Approach

Antelope Ridge Mead embraces a modern approach to mead making and offers elevated craft mead using the latest technologies including temperature-controlled fermentation and timed organic yeast nutrient additions for a clean, healthy fermentation. Since mead is naturally gluten-free, it’s a nice alternative to beer for those who can’t consume gluten.

Antelope Ridge Mead offers, on average, 22 different meads on the menu and a family-friendly atmosphere. Kesterson says their mead flavors offer a balance of sweetness and acidity and are inspired by the foods and beverages they love. Some of the meads are of a more traditional style and others are very unique.

People are taking notice of the diverse line up of flavor combinations. Their winter cranberry mead has won four awards in competitions and is made with whole Wisconsin cranberries, orange blossom honey and spices.

According to Kesterson, “Our most popular mead right now is peanut butter and jelly. We started making it. It turned out really good and people liked it, so we decided to give the people what they want. We make quite a bit of peanut butter and jelly mead.”

Since 2021, Antelope Ridge Mead is the most award-winning meadery in Colorado, bringing in a total of 33 awards. But what matters most to Kesterson is that first timers stop by and try mead for themselves. They have flights so customers can sample multiple flavors and enough diversity for every palate. 

Facebook + Instagram: @anteloperidgemead

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