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Happiest Hour: Mead in Montana at Hidden Legend Winery
What you’re drinking: Mead! The family behind Hidden Legend Winery in Victor will happily line up a flight of their award-winning meads for tasting room visitors. This honey wine’s alcohol content can skyrocket to more than 30 percent ABV, so choose your sipping adventure wisely. I sampled the Pure Honey Mead, the tart Apple Mead, the signature King’s Mead, the cough syrup-like Honey Cherry Mead, Huckleberry Mead, Spiced Mead and Carbonated Mead. Yes, carbonated mead, a light, fizzy, cider-like beverage at 8 percent ABV with a smirking Viking on the label.
What’s in it: From birth to bottle, this ancient drink takes about 90 days to make. Unlike wine, it isn’t aged. Each 750ml bottle contains ¾ cup of honey and, depending on the flavor, can be chock full of fruit. Try the Huckleberry Mead, featuring two pounds of berries per fermented gallon (and all Hidden Legend mead berries are handpicked in local orchards). The overall effect is a balancing act between a good pinot and a smooth rosé. Tasting room rumor has it that a standard-size crockpot can hold up to six bottles, and warm mead is an excellent curative after a day in the cold.
Mead? In Montana? Hidden Legend has bragging rights as the only mead maker in the state. The family-run operation dips all of its bottles in wax and hand-seals and labels each bottle manually.
Where to Find It: The Hidden Legend Winery tasting room (1345 U.S. Highway 93 North, No. 5) is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Look for the winery sign off of Highway 93 as you enter Victor. Tastings are free. A spit bucket is available for the faint of heart.