Daniel Kesterson’s dad homebrewed beer when he was a teenager, and he tried his hand at the craft too once he was of age, but didn’t fall in love. Then he met a bottle of Schramm’s Mead from Michigan and got inspired to make a mead in early 2016. It turned out really good, he says. So he played with new methods and flavors and tinkered long enough that friends were impressed, enough to offer him investment money. Enter Antelope Ridge Mead grand opening on June 25.
Daniel and his wife Nicole — who brings restaurant experience, management skills and a master’s degree in food science and nutrition — will keep 14 CO2 taps (at a colder temp) as well as four additional nitrogen taps (10 degrees warmer) stocked with a wide variety of house meads. The CO2s will hold around a beer-like 6 percent ABV while the others will hit around 14 percent for more of a wine strength. Some will be dry, but most will be “generally on the sweet side,” says Daniel. “Each batch will have a life of its own. People can tell us what they prefer and we’ll make what they want.”
The Kestersons will procure honey in-state from Lockhart Honey Farms and Beeyond the Hive. Flavors will include an orange blossom honey and black currant Direct Currant, as well as blackberry, raspberry and blueberry Crush Berry. There’s no kitchen to allow food service, but retail snacks will be available. As for the name, the couple says they live out east and see a ridge from their balcony where they see pronghorn graze sometimes. “It brings a sense of place, tying the mead, made with honey and fruits, into something else natural."