New Brakspear honey beer supports bee campaign

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Brewer and  pub operator Brakspear is launching Honey Bee, a 4.4% ABV honey beer, brewed at its microbrewery in Henley during April and May in support of Friends of the Earth’s ‘Bee Cause’ campaign to protect the bee.

Honey Bee is a light, golden beer, created by Brakspear’s head brewer Malcolm Mayo at the Bell Street Brewery in Henley. The honey is from beehives at Orwells, the award-winning Brakspear pub at Shiplake near Henley, and 20p from every pint sold will be donated by Brakspear to Bee Cause.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said, “We are very proud of Honey Bee and delighted to be continuing the partnership with Bee Cause that we started last year.  Honey Bee is a great tasting beer, and we’re expecting to sell many pints and present Friends of the Earth with a sizeable donation after May.

“Brewing a honey beer and supporting Bee Cause are naturals for Brakspear. Not only do we have a bee in our logo, but most of our pubs have gardens or outdoor floral displays that depend upon bees, which is why so many of them and their customers got behind the campaign last year.”

Last summer around 50 Brakspear pubs planted their gardens, patio tubs and window boxes with flowers and grasses which encourage bees to pollinate. These ‘Bee Worlds’ are listed on the Friends of the Earth’s website and many pubs are planning to replant them again this year.

Honey Bee will be available in draught format to Brakspear pubs only. It is brewed using Maris Otter and Crystal malts as well as malted oats, First Gold and Williamette hops. Malcolm Mayo said, “Honey Bee has delicate, subtle honey notes, with a bracing delivery of hops on the follow through. It’s been a pleasure to brew it using honey from a local Brakspear pub.”

Brakspear opened the Bell Street Brewery in May 2013 and brought Brakspear Special, a popular beer in Henley, back to the town.  As well as Special as a permanent ale, the brewery produces a number of seasonal and ‘one off’ beers including ‘Blooming Marvellous’ in support of Henley in Bloom and ‘Two Bells’, commemorating the first ever Henley Club to Pub swim in summer 2014.

The bee on the Brakspear logo has its roots in a centuries-old connection to Nicholas Breakspear, the only English Pope and a distant relative of the Brakspear family.  Elected as Pope Adrian IV in 1154, his papal seal included a bee, apparently as a reminder of the ‘B’ at the beginning of his name.

Bee Cause is Friends of the Earth’s campaign to protect the bee. Bees have lost 97% of their natural habitat over the last 60 years, 20 species of bees have become extinct, and 25% of those left are on the endangered species list.Worldwide, bees pollinate 75% of our main food crops and scientists estimate it would cost £1.8 billion per year to pollinate UK crops by hand.

Honey Bee is available at:

-The Angel on the Bridge, Henley

-Bull on Bell Street, Henley

-The Three Tuns, Henley

-The Station House, Henley

-The Plowden Arms, Shiplake

-Orwells, Shiplake

-The Flower Pot, Aston

-The Dew Drop, Hurley

-The Rainbow, Middle Assendon

-The Chequers, Marlow

-The White Hart, Nettlebed

-The Crown, Playhatch

-The Butchers Arms, Sonning Common

-The Perch and Pike, South Stoke

-The Duke of Wellington, Twyford

-The Blackwood Arms, Burnham

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Images, provided by Henley Herald: (top) Wendy Gupta of Friends of the Earth pours a pint of Brakspear’s new Honey Bee beer: (middle) Wendy with colleague Saminder Kharay and the beehive from Orwells.