Hiver, Honey Beer
After leaving university Hannah Rhodes headed to London in search of a proper job. Flat broke she and her friends would go to free food and beer tastings, something she recommends for a cheap night out in the big city. At one such event she got talking to the people from Meantime Brewing Company.
Well, one thing leads to another and Hannah lands a job there in 2007 as a senior brand manager. She was responsible for their launch of the London Lager. In 2011 she joined Frobishers (the juice people) but beer was never far from her thoughts.
Combined with a newfound passion for urban beekeeping and a beekeeping course that she attended next door to the Kernel Brewery, the idea for Hiver Beer was a logical next step.
Founded in 2013 Hannah has been the founder and driving force behind Hiver, an all-British craft blonde beer, brewed with both urban and rural honey. It doesn’t take long in her company to realise just how much this beer means to her.
In her own words the aim of Hiver was “One beer. Done well.” and oh boy is there some attention to detail in this beer.
Bees forage up to three miles from their hive and the plants that they pollinate is evident in the honey that they produce. “Understanding that is central to the development of Hiver” explains Hannah. 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.
The result is a beautifully pale, aromatic beer with a crisp, dry finish. This is also a beer that pairs exceptionally well with food (think crispy pork belly or a tangy goats cheese dish). This is a great beer for those people whose normal tipple is a crisp white wine.
In having this beer you are also drinking a bit of beer history. Long before hops became a dominant source of nose and flavour, honey would have been used. With the added benefit that the natural sugars would increase the alcohol content.
Hiver Beer can be found on the menu in Tom Kerridge’s Hand & Flowers Pub (the only pub to have two Michelin stars). That sort of thing doesn’t happen by accident.
There are rumours of a honey brown ale from Hiver next. We are really looking forward to Hannah’s (and the bees) next outing.
We’d recommend that this beer is best served lightly chilled, or if you're feeling a bit under the weather, you could turn it into a hot toddy.