This week Big Chill House, King’s Cross and Big Chill Bar, Brick Lane, braved the snowy conditions, yes you read right snow in April, and travelled down to South London to visit the Bee Urban in Kennington Park. We were lucky enough to be invited by our friends at Hiver to see first hand how honey is collected for use in their craft beer recipes.
Barnaby Shaw, our amazing host for the day, kicked the session off with an introduction to bee keeping in London.
Through the observation hive we witnessed the various stages of honey making and saw the Queen Bee and her thousands of bee minions hard at work.
Now that we had seen the honey being made the next thing to do was taste it, so Hannah, the brains behind Hiver, cracked open a couple of bottles of the Hiver Honey and Hiver Ale as well as treating us a selection of cured meats and cheeses which all complemented the delicious craft beers perfectly.
Once the snow had passed and the sun began to shine we all donned our suits, some more successfully than others, ready for some more bee action. Zipped up, with smokers at the ready, (this moves the bees along and keeps them calm) Barnaby lead us to the more developed hives, where he moved individuals board which each had thousands of busy little bees all working hard to create the delicious honey that goes into each and every Hiver craft beer.
Barnaby made it look easy, but not all of us were brave enough to handle the boards, but those who were held theirs up to the sun and could see first hand the amazing honeycomb structures coming together.
The sunshine was short-lived so it was time to close up the hive and help the guys out by constructing wooden boards ready for the next fresh batch of hives. It was great to be able help out and get our hands dirty with some light carpentry and in return we were treated to more honey craft beer!
We want to say big thank you to Hiver for inviting us down and treating us to your scrummy craft beer. To give you a little more information on Hiver and why it is so special, they source raw honey from independent British beekeepers to ensure the highest quality products for their beers. Bees forage in a three mile radius of their hives resulting in honey unique to London. The Hiver beer recipe was developed with the aim of creating a proper honey beer, using the honey as a core ingredient rather that others that simply use it as an additive for flavouring.
If you would be interested in finding out more information or volunteering check out www.beeurban.org.uk and next time you are at Big Chill House and Big Chill Bar make sure you try a Hiver Honey Beer.