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Mad for mead: Horace couple opens area's first meadery

Susan Ruud and the variety of honey mead at Prairie Rose Meadery in Fargo. Her husband Bob built the honey comb-looking shelves behind the bar to display the mead and glasses. Dave Wallis / The Forum1 / 4
Besides a bar counter at the Prairie Rose Meadery, tables, chairs and sofas provide a place for customers to relax while having a drink in the Fargo establishment. Dave Wallis / The Forum2 / 4
The production area at Prairie Rose Meadery in Fargo. The smaller units are for storing the and finishing the honey-based mead. Dave Wallis / The Forum3 / 4
Stained mead filters looked so nice that Susan Ruud framed them for display in the Prairie Rose Meadery in Fargo. Dave Wallis / The Forum4 / 4

FARGO – After watching the craft beverage trend continue to grow in recent years, a Horace couple have decided to turn their own home-brewing hobby into a business.

Susan and Bob Ruud recently opened Prairie Rose Meadery in south Fargo.

Often referred to as "honey wine," mead is made from fermented honey, water and yeast. Susan Ruud described mead as tasting similar to a sweet white wine, such as a Moscato.

"I'm not much of a beer drinker, but I loved the taste of mead. That's what got me interested in it," Bob Ruud said. "Susan has been very successful on the amateur level with awards for her meads. I'm more of the behind-the-scenes equipment guy supporting her in that."

Susan Ruud said part of what attracted her to homebrewing was her background as a microbiologist in the plant pathology department at North Dakota State University.

"I just kind of fell in love with the whole process," she said. "My background is microbiology, so it kind of fit in with that."

Her success within the American Homebrewers Association gave her the confidence to take her hobby to a professional level.

She said the the response from customers so far has been great.

"It's like with your home brew, when you actually serve it to someone and they really enjoy it, you can see it in their expression. It's just gratifying. I enjoy that," she said.

Prairie Rose Meadery. Dave Wallis / The Forum

More about mead

The first step in making mead is mixing honey and water. That mixture is then combined with yeast and allowed to ferment. After a few weeks, a spice or flavor can also be added. The entire process tends to take between eight and 12 weeks.

In addition to traditional mead, the Ruuds are selling ginger and blackberry meads. Within the next three weeks, they hope to make mint and cherry meads available.

The honey is purchased from Sperry Apiary in Kindred, and Susan Ruud said they try to source as many of the other ingredients locally that they can.

"A majority of the ingredients are from North Dakota, and we plan to keep it that way," she said. "Some of the fruit and ginger is from out of state. Hopefully this fall we'll get some North Dakota fruit."

The couple recommend customers start out with the traditional mead.

"Probably start with the traditional so you just get the feel of what a traditional honey mead tastes like," Susan Ruud said.

One of Bob Ruud's personal favorites is an orange blossom mead, and he is on the lookout for a North Dakota source for orange blossom honey.

"I know that sounds funny, but North Dakota beekeepers take their bees to California and they bring it back here to process. It's North Dakota honey, but it comes from California orange groves," he said. "You don't have to add any orange flavoring or anything. It's just the orange blossom honey. It adds a nice orange, citrus flavor to the mead."

The production area at Prairie Rose Meadery in Fargo. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Business profile

What: Prairie Rose Meadery

Where: 3101 39th St. S. Suite E, Fargo

Contact: (701) 371-3690

Online: www.prairierosemeadery.com

Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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