here is nothing new about the farm-to-bottle trend. Craft brewers often source ingredients
such as hops and barley from local growers. But as the demand for local beers grows—60%
of beer drinkers rated local as important in choosing craft beers to drink, according to a 2016
Nielsen Craft Beer Insights Poll—brewers are looking for opportunities to feature new ingredients
that will add local flair to their beers. And right now, brewers are buzzing over honey.
“Honey allows the beer to ferment further than straight barley, and that makes honey beers
drier than traditional beers,” says Matt Long, brewmaster at Big Sky Brewing Company, Missoula,
Montana. “And, it adds great flavor.”
Although honey beers are trending, brewers have a long tradition of using the sweetener in
beers. The Boulder, Colorado-based Brewers Association has been awarding medals to honey
beers in its Great American Beer Festival competition for decades, with honey beers competing in
the specialty beer category. As more breweries entered their honey beers, the association added a
category specifically for buzzworthy brews. The number of entrants in the sweet category jumped
from seven in 1998 to 52 in 2015.
SPOTLIGHT ON . . . honey beers
oPPosi Te, leFT: big sky brewing
Company sources honey for its summer
honey beer from local beekeepers.
oPPosi Te, riGh T: rogue ales’
bY JOd I HELmER
bREWERSUSE HONEY TO POLLINATE