Jules Heckman Hughes takes a look at the range from bee-friendly craft brewers Hiver Beer.
Founded by Hannah Rhodes back in 2013, Hiver Beer straddles two things that are really close to my heart; sustainability and creativity. Having cut her teeth at Meantime, she certainly has pedigree and knows a thing or two when it comes to developing and designing craft drinks.
Much has been talked about the decline in bees and the equally devastating knock-on effect it will have on both our hedgerows and agriculture as well as our society as a whole. Beekeepers across the UK have for a while waxed lyrical – excuse the intentional pun – about the need to give these pollinators a leg-up to survive and us to thrive.
Spoiler alert, Hiver Beers not only uses three amazing raw honeys from Kennington, Kent and Yorkshire respectively in the brewing process, it actively promotes creating natural habitats for bees with its pledge to donate 10% of profits to pollinator charities and community initiatives.
Onto the beers.
I don’t profess to be an expert beer drinker, but I do recognise a great product when I drink it. And for me, all the Honey Beer products hit the mark. And then some.
The Honey Blonde is delightfully lightly carbonated with a really subtle floral aroma and thanks to the introduction of honey, and a great mouthfeel. Three different types of raw honey are used. London bees provide citrus, mint and elderflower notes whereas orchard bees provide an apple blossom taste. The fragrance is down to some Yorkshire heather honey.
It is crisp, super refreshing with a golden amber hue that reminded me of a gorgeous citrine gemstone. It’s ever-so-slight-sweetness not only matched perfectly the bresaola and Manchego I nibbled on whilst tasting, it really cut through the marbling of the salami.
An all-round winner for me with a great depth and balance of flavour with a nuanced amount of citrus and a slight biscuity aroma; it tasted like a grown up and sophisticated beer with a great crisp clean finish.
This easy-drinking blonde beer is very much something I could drink all year round. Served chilled or if you are feeling a bit under the weather you could even turn it into a hot toddy.
An added bonus was trying the Honey Ale, which was an unexpected delight to try.
Less hoppy, with a hint of chocolate on the nose, its malty sweetness is echoed in it’s reddish-brown amber colour. Smooth with a soft mouthfeel, this ale is perfectly balanced with sweet and savoury notes and bitterness; dark caramel meets honeyed cereal by way of roasted barley.
A sucker for charcuterie and cheese I enjoyed this ale with a crumbly vintage cheddar, creamy gorgonzola and strips from a sweet fig and almond wheel.
Best paired with:
Honey Blonde (4.5%ABV) works well with roasted chicken, Manchego, charcuterie, chilli prawn pho and BBQ wings
Honey Ale (4.5%ABV) can be enjoyed with crispy pork belly, fruit loaf, emmenthal, gruyere and cheddar cheeses, pork ramen and rye bread
Where to buy: Waitrose, Sainsbury's and on-line direct through Hiver Beer or via Ocado or Borough Box from around £2.00 RRP
Worth noting: Hiver supports independent British beekeepers by donating 10% of profits to pollinator charities and urban space projects
[Items in this article may have been gifted to Chatting Food. No financial payment has been made to feature in this article, and entries to the feature are made independently by members of the Editorial Team. This page contains affiliate links and we may receive a small commission for purchases]
Chatting Food Contributor: Jules Heckman Hughes
A creative soul and foodie who BC (before Covid) loved unearthing delicious new places to dine out. A huge fan of street food and pop-ups, I love to explore food markets and underground dining clubs. Married to a chef means I am a little spoilt as I rarely cook at home; instead, I thumb through food and travel mags and books dreaming up our next adventure to a far-flung off-grid destination.