Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thorvald's Mead

Mead (honey wine) has probably been around as long as mankind has roamed the earth collecting honey from wild hives and then later domesticating bees. Mead dates back to pre-history so we don’t know its exact origin but, we can take a guess. It is likely that is was discovered by accident. This has been the case with so many of the things we eat and drink today like cheese or Champaign. It was probably discovered when honey got wet and diluted enough to allow fermentation to start and then was refined over time.

The problem with mead making has been the natural preservatives in honey which can make fermentation challenging. Mead also took much longer than grapes to ferment with the yeasts of those times. Mead’s only advantage was the existence of honey everywhere while grapes were only in a few places. The spread of grapes around the known world and better ships and transportation systems left mead behind, but not dead.

Mead’s history is filled with stories of conquering heroes, villains, and intrigue. It was the preferred drink of Robin Hood’s merry men as well as the Knights of the Round Table. Regular folks as well as kings and queens have enjoyed mead equally. Mead has been forgotten by many but this ageless drink has not disappeared and will outlast us all. Its history is filled with intrigue and it has become a Hidden Legend. Thorvald (the Viking) is our connection to the past. He has fought in many battles for many different reasons but always drank mead. He has enjoyed meads from many lands and gotten to see the advancement of wine making technology to the point where we can now easily ferment honey and control the outcome. With age, Thorvald has put down his sword in order to enjoy the finer things in life. The evolution of mead to the point where it is comparable to the finest grape wines in flavor and sophistication is more exciting to him than storming the fortified towns of the Englishmen he tormented. While Thorvald remains a simple man, his pallet has evolved and he demands perfection. The ingredients in our mead are the finest in the world. From the honey that is produced in Montana with pride, to the wild berries collected from the mountains and valleys of the Rockies, only the best will do.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mead for Everyone

Mead is one of the oldest fermented beverages in the world. It predates history so no one is really sure where it was first made or by whom, but it has been written about in some of the oldest recorded literature. Literature like Beowulf where all the Vikings got together and drank mead in the "Mead Hall." Mead has been found preserved in jars on ships that sank in the Mediterranean and is believed to be the root word of medicine as Hippocrates used mead as one of his foundation medicines. What is mead? you ask....

Mead is wine made from honey. Don't let this mislead you though, it is wine because it is made in the same fashion as grape wine through cold fermentation, but it stands on its own as a unique drink that can be drank in its pure form or blended with any flavor imaginable. It is interesting to note that Hippocrates used mead in medicine because mead maintains a lot of the health qualities of honey. Meads also do not require sulfates in the fermentation process because of the preserving qualities of honey which make oxidation a moot point. This is also cool because you can keep an open bottle around for weeks and the honey wine will not change like grape wines do after you open a bottle.

Whether you have never heard of mead or just read about it and have never given it another thought, you should try mead. There are plenty of meaderies in the United States though it is not always easy to find mead in your local wine store. The Internet has changed things a little in that if you live in a state that allows it, you can order mead and have it shipped to your door. Hidden Legend Winery is a good place to buy mead because they produce award wining meads and if you order three or more bottles you will get free shipping. Another option is to make your own mead by combining honey, water, and yeast. There are dozens of recipes available by just doing a simple search online. Whether you go to someplace like Hidden Legend Winery or make your own, you should try mead, it is arguably the oldest fermented beverage on the planet.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Honeywine, also called mead, is the original medicinal wine, so........Drink to your Health!

Mead is Drinkable Honey, and it is known that it retains the numerous nutritional qualities of honey. The National Honey Board says that mead has similar health benefits of white wine due to the antioxidant characteristics of honey. The immune boosting properties of honey are retained in mead as well.

Hippocrates, the most famous father of medicine, promoted the use of honey in all kinds of healing ways. He also used elderberry tincture as a staple medicine, often combining this elderberry wine with raw honey to make it more palatable. Hidden Legend makes a Wild Elderberry Mead that is healthful as well as delicious! Honey was a dominant ingredient in many ancient medications and the mythical medicinal powers attributed to mead are because of the use of honey in the winemaking process. Honey is considered to be a disinfectant and alcohol can be used as an expectorant. When herbs are added to make various forms of metheglin (spiced mead), the medicinal qualities of the herbs are infused into the mead. Cultures all over the world made their own unique blend of metheglin to cure whatever was needed. Aborigines made mead from rare medicinal herbs and Europeans used over 100 different herbs in some mead that were designed as a complete Cure-All!

Mead is essentially a wine made by fermentation of honey using yeast. It is one of the oldest wines made by mankind and was often associated with health generating, aphrodisiac or magical powers in ancient literature and mythology. In Norse mythology for instance the “mead of Suttungr” could convert a layman to a scholar. In ancient Ethiopia “none except nobility and the highest chiefs and warriors were privileged to drink Tej( mead). Tej was considered to be the most treasured of gifts to be given to visiting royalty as evidenced by the fact that Makeda, Queen of Sheba, carried mead to King Solomon of Jerusalem.

Mead was a ritualistic drink of the Maya culture. When the Spaniards banned it in order to convert the natives to Christianity, many Mayans began dying off due to the missing health benefits of their mead.
Many languages have a word similar to “honeymoon” which refers to the drinking of honeywine during the first month of marriage. Such a commonality lends acceptance to the fact that many ancient societies believed honeywine was a drink that promoted health, an increased sex drive and the resulting fertility, especially of male offspring and so honeywine became the traditional wedding wine.

Hidden Legend Winery proudly carries on the traditions of the ancient meadmakers. The meads are made with the highest quality ingredients and finished to perfection in a natural way by our winemaker. We believe our wines retain the ancient mystical properties to enrich the lives of those who choose to drink them!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Variety of Meads

Hidden Legend Winery makes a variety of Meads. They are all unique in their own ways while sharing certain attributes at the same time. Attributes like being award winning, being made from premium Montana produced honey and Montana grown berries, and being some of the best meads you will ever taste. Below is a description of each type of mead currently produced there and a little bit about some up and coming meads that will be available very soon.

Pure Honey Mead

Pure Honey Mead is a contemporary version of man’s oldest wine. The simplicity of the beverage, with only three ingredients—honey, yeast and water—makes it challenging for winemakers to come up with a signature taste. Hidden Legend Pure Honey Mead is light, smooth and with the most wonderful honey aftertaste. This Montana winery is blessed to be able to use local knapweed honey. Knapweed, considered by local ranchers to be a pest weed because of the hardiness and proliferation of the plant, was originally brought to Canada by Scotsmen specifically to make honey. Knapweed starts blooming about the time other wildflowers begin to die off and continues to bloom until the snow flies which really extends the season for beekeepers to make honey. Scotsmen are especially fond of good knapweed honey and they are known to be equally fond of good Mead!

Pure Honey Mead is an extension of the winemaking history of this oldest of wines. Traditionally Mead was made by members of the clergy. During the middle ages there was a honey shortage which made mead a very expensive endeavor so it was only drunk by the wealthy and the nobility. There were however, always winemakers who would make mead to be enjoyed by the “ordinary citizens” and Hidden Legend Winery makes a honey wine is suitable for both kings and carpenters!

Dark Mead

Hidden Legend’s Dark Mead is the mead that inspires the drinker to contemplate the romance of this ancient beverage. Throughout history, many important historical events have been celebrated with a version of Dark Mead. The Knights sitting at the Round Table of Camelot probably had their goblets filled with dark mead. Pubs in Ireland have had wenches serving dark mead for centuries, for Feast Days as well as ordinary times. It has been made in all corners of the world, although it has been traditionally associated with the Nordic peoples. Many Norse legends include the drinking of Dark Mead as a special part of their story, and it is referred to as a reward for meritorious Vikings after great battles. The Norse God Odin was said to have had a goat named Heidrun that produced mead instead of milk! At Hidden Legend Winery we make our mead in a clean, modern facility instead of a farmyard, but the romance of this ancient ambrosia is retained in our bottles!

The Dark Mead is made from pure Montana Honey that has been heated until it begins to caramelize which gives it the rich caramel color and the many subtle flavor layers that are brought out by this slow heating procedure. Wine lovers have described it as having a sherry-like quality, or as smooth as a fine port wine. It has also been a favorite at Montana Brew fests, favored by beer drinkers who enjoy good microbrews. The versatility of this mead is remarkable and it can be served in many ways. It is always great by itself, as an aperitif, or with a spicy meal, wild game or Roast Dragon! Countless new Hidden Legends can be made as you succumb to the mystical qualities of this ancient drink.

Spiced Mead

Spiced Mead, or metheglin, has a special place in the history of many different cultures. It has been used worldwide for thousands of years as a festive drink with both mystical and medicinal properties attributed to it. Ancient legends talk about a River of Mead flowing through the heavens and mead was given to fallen Viking warriors when they reached Valhalla (Viking Heaven).

The keepers of the sacred formulas were usually brewers who were members of the clergy. These recipes called for various combinations of herbs and spices to be added to mead to produce a desired flavor. There are historical references to meads with over 100 different herbs and there are meads made by the Aborigines of Australia with some of the rarest plants on Earth. We use an unusual combination of spices, almond extract, orange peel, allspice, cardamom, and star anise. These are added to our Dark Mead to produce an incredibly unique flavor. These spices are expressed in our mead as a distinctive enhancement to the honey flavor and with time, they blend together to make an even more perfect balance.

This balance of flavor allows for good combinations with a variety of foods; fowl, such as turkey and dressing, or pork roast with applesauce pair nicely with the Spiced Mead. And it always can be served alone as an aperitif or paired with most desserts
It is well known that making mead is a very intricate process and finding the right balance of honey to spices is not an easy task. Hidden Legend Winery’s winemaker has been able to achieve a wonderful blending of flavors that is completely unique to Hidden Legend Meads. The judges at the Northwest Wine Summit awarded the Spiced Mead a Bronze Medal in 2008.

Wild Elderberry Mead

Hidden Legend Winery’s Wild Elderberry Mead is a blend of Montana Honey and wild Elderberries. This berry mead has port like qualities that really distinguish it from the other meads made at Hidden Legend. This Elderberry Mead is perfect for sipping. It compliments your favorite chocolate or sharp cheese very well. Hippocrates (The Father of modern medicine) used elderberries and mead in his practice. It is believed that mead may very well be the root word of the word “medicine” because of Hippocrates prolific use of mead. I’m am not sure if their really are medicinal properties to elderberries or mead but some of the old-timers certainly thought so.

This Wild Elderberry Mead has also won awards. In 2008 it won a bronze medal from the Taster’s Guild International Wine Judging. Whether with food or on its own, this mead will please your senses.

Wild Chokecherry Mead

Wild Chokecherry Mead is a wine that perfectly captures the flavor of this abundant little wild cherry and blends it harmoniously with pure Montana honey. It was described by a wine lover in Oregon as “having the perfect balance of fruit to honey”. Chokecherries have been a staple in the diet of both Native Americans and the pioneers throughout the western United States. They are highly nutritious and have a sweet, tart flavor that is delightful in many ways—jams and jellies, syrups, dried fruit, pemmican and of course, wines! At the 2008 Chokecherry Festival in Lewistown Montana, Chokecherry Mead won First Place with Commercial Items in the Culinary Contest! So, obviously, wine is a preferred way to enjoy the flavor of this wonderful wild cherry!

The judges at the 2008 Northwest Wine Summit must have favored the unique flavor of the chokecherry as well and they awarded this wine a Gold Medal. It was also distinguished with the Granite Peak Award for the Best Wine of the Region. At the 2007 Indy International Wine Competition our Chokecherry Mead won a Silver Medal. In 2009 Hidden Legend’s Chokecherry Mead won another Gold Medal at the Taster’s Guild International Wine Judging! This Mead is excellent and deserves your attention!

For years our customers have told us that this wine is perfect for summer picnics, but it is also good with light meals and it is wonderful with almost any dessert! Or enjoy the full flavor of the wine by itself with nothing more than a little music and a beautiful sunset. And dreams of Montana....

Wild Huckleberry Mead

Huckleberry Mead is the essence of a Montana summer day captured in a bottle of light, smooth honeywine. The flavor of this hearty little berry blends perfectly with the mellow taste of Montana knapweed honey. Huckleberries hold a special place in the hearts of Montanans because they grow in such incredibly beautiful places. Picking these berries is always a gorgeous endeavor and the flavor of our mead evokes the memories of those late summer days in the mountains. Hidden Legend Huckleberry Mead is for people who have experienced the beauty of Montana and for those who long to do so.

Mead has been made by many different cultures throughout history. Pure honeywine is thought to be very healthful and by adding fruits and herbs it takes on an even greater medicinal value. Native Americans in the Northwest treasured the tiny huckleberry for its nutritional content as well as the wonderful berry taste. Montana black bears fully agree that a diet of honey and huckleberries on a Montana mountainside is about as good as it gets!!

Huckleberry Mead is wonderful with dessert, as an aperitif or simply served by itself to invoke the feelings of being back in Montana!

Coming Soon!

This Montana Winery is about to release two brand new meads! They are Peach Mead and Maple Dark Mead. The Peach Mead is a perfect blend of Peach and Honey wine that leave a hint of peach on your pallet after every sip with honey up front. The Maple Mead is an extension of Hidden Legend’s Dark Mead with a hint of Maple. You will not be disappointed by these new meads. Go to and order them! They will be available by the first week of November at the latest!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hidden Legend Winery

Hidden Legend Winery is a producer of premium mead (honey wine), made from the finest honey and wild berries. It is a family owned winery located in the mountains of Montana. The ingredients used in its mead are produced and harvested almost exclusively in Montana. There is a growing wine industry in Montana and Hidden Legend Winery is proud to be in on the ground floor of developing this industry.

Ken Schultz has been making wine for almost 40 years and been involved in commercial mead making for almost 10 years. This experience brings something to his meads that you will not find in many. The meads produced by Ken are fashioned after the fine table wines he is accustomed to making. These are not syrupy, super sweet meads but very balanced table wines made from honey. Ken’s meads have consistently won medals in international wine competitions, including two gold medals for his Wild Chokecherry Mead. One of these gold medals was received from the Northwest Wine Summit in 2008 and the other from the Taster’s Guild International Wine Tasting for 2009. You can read all about these awards by clicking here.

Ken started his commercial mead making career as the wine maker, in a partnership with Lisa Schultz (his wife) and a few friends, under the name of Painted Rocks Winery. Ken and Lisa broke away from Painted Rocks Winery in 2004 and started making mead under their own label, Trapper Creek Winery, in 2005. In 2008 Trapper Creek Winery changed its name to Hidden Legend Winery after another Montana winery complained of name similarities. In 2008 Joe Schultz joined the team at Hidden Legend Winery after serving in the U.S. Air Force for 4 years and in 2009 Pat Schultz came home from 4 years of service in the U.S. Air Force and is working with the family as well. Hidden Legend Winery is a family owned and operated business dedicated to making premium meads as well as introducing Eastern U.S. native grape wines to the Western United States.

This Family owned winery makes the best mead money can buy. You will not be disappointed when you taste these premium meads. You can pair them with food or enjoy them on their own. If you have never tried mead these are good meads to start with. Whether you are an experienced mead drinker or just getting ready to try it for the first time, you can’t go wrong with the meads produced at Hidden Legend Winery.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mead, brewed or fermented?

As you peruse the internet in search for mead (honeywine) and information about mead, you will often find the phrase “brew mead” as you read, but mead is actually not a beer or beer like beverage at all. The U.S. Government classifies mead as a honey wine because mead is made using the same cold, yeast fermentation method that is used to make grape wine. Well made mead is not super sugary nor does it taste like beer. The blend of honey, water, and sometimes fruit juice, can be fermented to the point where there is no sugar left at all. The mead maker is left with a well balanced table wine that rivals grape wines you’ve tried.

It will not be completely like any wine you have tried though, as mead is honey wine and not grape wine. The balance of sugar, tartness, and alcohol will put mead in the realm of wine, but with something more. That uniqueness can make mead acceptable to people who don’t normally appreciate wine, while holding the interest of people who drink wine all the time. If you’ve never tried mead before, there is no time like the present, to do so. So click here to see a variety of award winning meads that will not leave you disappointed.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mead in the Movies

If you have never heard of mead, don't feel bad, neither have a lot of people. Mohamed hadn’t when he dictated the Koran. A very entertaining film about Vikings gives us some insight into this. The 1998 film The 13th Warrior, is about an Arab ambassador named Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan who is sent to make contact with the barbaric Vikings of the North in 922 A.D. Only moments after finding the Vikings, a sorcerer sees a vision and chooses 12 Vikings to travel farther north to fight their flesh-eating enemies. She then says that a thirteenth warrior must be a foreigner and Ahmed, whom the Vikings call “Eben,” soon finds himself on his way to fight a formidable enemy. After a gruesome battle with the enemy, one of the Vikings, who was very skeptical of “Eben” in the beginning, offers his new brother in arms a drink from his horn flask. “I cannot, taste neither the fermentation of grape nor of wheat” says Ahmed. The Viking bursts out laughing. “What, why do you laugh.” Says “Eben,” “honey, its made from honey” says the Viking and the Ahmed takes a long drink of the nectar of the gods.

Many of the examples of mead in the movies, which come to mind, involve Vikings and medieval battles with rough and tough characters downing large mugs of mead. Movies like Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and Beowulf, as well as the one that I’ve described above, are the most prominent. These depictions are entertaining, but they do not do mead justice. Mead can be made in many different ways, with different amounts of alcohol and varying degrees of sweetness but it is not just a drink for warriors and Vikings.

The meads that Hidden Legend Winery produces will amaze your senses. While the Vikings probably would love them, they can also be enjoyed by kings and queens or anyone who appreciates fine wines. The layers of flavor will keep you sipping once you have tasted this mead and you won’t be able to get enough. The meads at Hidden Legend Winery are made in much the same fashion as a grape wine. They are about 12.5% alcohol and have 2.5% residual sugar. While these are not bone dry, they are certainly not the syrupy sweet meads that you might imagine if you’ve never tried mead. These meads have the mouth feel of a dryer wine with a hint of sweetness and an aroma of honey. It is the honey that gives mead its sweet flavor and not a bunch of residual sugar. If you haven’t tried mead then these are the perfect meads to start with. If you are not really a wine drinker, don’t let that stop you from trying mead because it stands on its own. If you like wine, you will find something recognizable in these meads and appreciate a fine honey wine.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chokecherry Mead

A chokecherry is a wild berry that is mostly unknown in modern times but grows in most regions of the United States. They grow across the continent except in the very Deep South and way up North in Canada according to online encyclopedias like Wikipedia. The chokecherry is full of antioxidants and loaded with proteins and oils which Native Americans put great value in. Native Americans were well acquainted with the chokecherry and ate it regularly. They often crushed the berries and made patties that were then dried in the sun. It was so common among the Cheyenne and Blackfoot that their word for the fruit was simply “berry.” You can read a lot more about the chokecherry at

Hidden Legend Winery blends their award winning Pure Honey Mead with their chokecherry wine which is made from fresh Montana grown chokecherries. Hidden Legend Winery’s Chokecherry Mead has won a gold medal two years in a row now, in two separate international wine competitions. It won best in region and gold from the Northwest Wine Summit in 2008. This year, the winery’s Chokecherry Mead won a gold medal from the Tasters Guild International Wine Judging 2009.

The interesting thing about these gold medal wins is that both of these competitions are traditionally geared towards grape wines. This speaks volumes for the sophistication of the meads produced by Hidden Legend Winery. If you have apprehensions about trying mead or have tried meads that tasted like watered down honey or honey flavored beer, you don't have to worry about that with these meads. Hidden Legend Winery puts a lot of effort into producing fine table wines from honey and native North American berries.

Hidden Legend Winery is selling three packs of their Chokecherry Mead at a discounted price, with free shipping, for the whole month of June. This is a perfect opportunity to try this gold medal winning Chokecherry Mead and experience what the judges at these wine competitions discovered. You won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mead Honey Wine

Mead Honey Wine is widely believed to be the oldest fermented beverage on the planet. Mead Honey Wine was around before the Roman Empire or when Jesus made wine from water. It was there a long time before France became the authority on wine or California toppled French wines from their throne in international wine competitions. Many famous people in history drank mead honey wine, including King Tut, Eric the Red, and Queen Elizabeth.

Our word “honeymoon” comes from the tradition of giving newlyweds a month’s supply of mead honey wine which was believed to increase the chances of having male offspring. One of my favorite legends of modern mead's birth is that monks, who raised bees, washed their barrels with water. They discovered over time that when honey was mixed with water, its natural preservatives were broken down enough so that fermentation could begin. This fermentation was experimented with and mead was born. Mead Honey Wine was probably around quite some time before even the monks though, so it is more likely that a bee hive got wet and began to ferment before a lucky human stumbled across it and discovered mead honey wine.

Bees live and make honey everywhere while grapes originally grew only in the temperate Mediterranean and a few more varieties were discovered by the Vikings in the New World. The grape vines were so prolific, Leif Erikson dubbed the Americas Vineland while drinking his daily mug of mead honey wine. Because honey was available everywhere, mead honey wine became the predominant fermented beverage on the planet. Grape wine eventually became more popular because grapes are an easier medium to work with. Fermenting honey is more difficult because of its natural preservatives.

Modern yeasts and wine making technology has changed this. Now mead honey wine is ready to be discovered again. Mead honey wine has a rich history that is greatly unknown in modern circles. It is not just a crude drink of the past, but a very delicious and sophisticated drink that can be enjoyed with a meal or on its own. Hidden Legend Winery is one modern winery that is dedicated to producing high quality meads. Mead honey wine is a wonderful beverage that represents a frontier waiting to be discovered.