Author Archives: awuebbels

Honey Beers recognized at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival

gabf

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the largest commercial beer competition in the world.

The 2016 GABF awarded 286 medals to breweries across the United States in 96 categories, including Honey Beer. Out of 64 entries in the Honey Beer category, Jetty Cream Ale by Great South Bay Brewery took home the gold with Spring Fever by FiftyFifty Brewing Co. taking silver, and Belgian Honey Blonde Ale by No Clue Craft Brewery taking bronze.

Jetty Cream Ale, Great South Bay Brewery – Brewed in a non-traditional cream ale fashion, this beer is light in body but not in flavor! Jetty Cream Ale blends choice pilsner malt, noble German hops, flaked corn and orange blossom honey for a sweet touch.

Spring Fever by FiftyFifty Brewing Co. – Known as a FiftyFifty’s Brewmaster’s Special, Spring Fever is brewed with lemongrass, orange peel and honey for a refreshing, smooth beer.

Belgian Honey Blonde Ale, No Clue Craft Brewery – Belgian Honey Blonde is No Clue’s Belgian style blonde ale brewed with honey and Belgian Abbey Yeast for a sweet flavor and honey aroma.

Congratulations to Great South Bay Brewery, FiftyFifty Brewing Co., No Clue Craft Brewery
and all other winners in the 2016 GABF.

Do you make beverages with honey? Get them listed here by emailing kseiz@bakingwithhoney.com.

Tis the Season to use honey

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From field to finished product, Season Soda aims to make varietal ingredients express the subtleties of place and season in each of their drinks. Honey helps them with just that.

Learn how Luke Pro, Director of R&D at Seasons Soda, is inspired by honey and how it helps the company achieve its mission to source diligently, process with innovation and deliver the essence of its origins.

Why did you formulate your sodas with honey?

Honey is full of depth and terroir. It feels alive – very much alive. Why? Because with every taste you can discover something new that you’ve never noticed before. It has been such a rewarding experience experimenting with honey and how it tastes when paired with different ingredients.

When did your journey with honey begin?

Two years ago, Bobby Change (Founder of Seasons Soda) and I were huddled around a table comparing different types of honey while we were working on our HONEYmint Demi-Sec. The buckwheat was so complex, so developed on its own, that it was hard to find things that paired well with it. A few years, later, while working on the Ginger Demi-Sec, that buckwheat honey flavor popped up in my head while I was working with a very unique ginger extract. It was as if I had stumbled onto the right key for this very specific lock and it just fit.

The buckwheat honey really breathed life into the formulation in a way that I can’t really describe. But, when you taste it, you know. And, with all of our formulations, including those with honey, the aromatics and the way they make you feel when you drink them – they just have a sense of life and fullness that you can’t create on your own. You have to find these flavors in nature and find a way to preserve them.

The character of honey is so intriguing to me that it stays in my mind, and when the moment is right and I stumble onto the right pairing, I got for it.

How does honey go with your philosophy of expressing the subtleties of place and season in each of your beverages?

We just stay out of the way of the expressions that are in our ingredients. For a long time there has been a tendency to create drinks that appeal to the masses and, for whatever reason, the way to get there was to strip, bleach and purify things. Honey is the antithesis of this.

Think about it – bees fly all over. They scour the earth, they get dirty. Pollen coats them like a kid playing in the mud, and miraculously this rubbing and sticking and getting “stuff” all over them keeps a lot of our food supply going. It also means that the taste they gather is real. It comes from millions of bees flying and crawling and working their whole lives. It is really a beautiful thing to think about. The taste of honey itself is very complex and interesting, but the knowledge of where it comes from adds a lot to it. As corny as it sounds, being able to taste everywhere these millions and millions of bees have been makes us all feel connected to these places and times.

What varietals of honey do you use in your sodas and why?

We use orange blossom and buckwheat honey. We began with orange blossom honey because we found that it was a wonderful compliment to spearmint. It is really amazing how that specific combination works so well.  Later, we also incorporated that into our Bitter Lemon Tonic. Orange blossom honey pairs well with a lot of flavors and when it does, it really brings things to life. It has enough depth to it that every time someone drinks one of our honey sodas, there is always some aspect of the flavor left for our customers to discover next time they pick up a Seasons. We also wanted to begin with something that was available and similar to what our consumers would have access to.

Buckwheat honey is fantastic, but not as familiar to customers and requires a bit more education in some cases. We are taking consumers on a journey with us as we begin to dive deeper into the world of honey and truly discover what each varietal can do. Our Ginger Demi-Sec utilizes the buckwheat honey in a fantastic way, and it is unlike any Ginger soda that we have tasted.

What’s next for Seasons Soda? Can we expect to see any future honey sodas?

A core part of what we do is staying out of the way of flavor and exploring the word through our sense of taste. My job is to be curious and continue to think about, explore and taste ingredients. Honey will continue to be a core part of our process, because it is amazing!

Do you make beverages with honey? Get them listed here by emailing kseiz@bakingwithhoney.com.

A guide to honey’s color

honey jar on white background , healthy food

Did you know that honey isn’t just amber in color?

That’s right, honey comes in a variety of colors, and even has its own grading system! Find out how the color and flavor of honey change depending on the varietal.

How is honey’s color graded?

The United States Department of Agriculture classifies the color of honey into seven categories: water white, extra white, extra light amber, light amber, amber and dark amber. The standard system for measuring the color of honey is called the Pfund color grading system. A Pfund color grader is a standard amber-colored glass wedge that goes from light to dark. Honey is measured on a scale of millimeters, where 0 mm would be on the extreme left of the water white bar and 140 mm is at the extreme right of the dark amber bar.

What makes honey a certain color?

The color of honey depends on the flower source visited by the honey bees. With more than 300 types of honey in the United States, each originating from a different floral source, it’s safe to say that not all honey looks the same.

Does color correlate with the flavor of honey?

Generally, light-colored honeys have a milder taste, while the flavor of darker colored honeys is stronger. However, there are exceptions to the rule. A light honey such as basswood is generally considered strong flavored while the darker tulip poplar is considered mild.

Does the color of honey change?

The color of honey can deepen in color as it ages, and become lighter when it crystallizes. These changes do not affect its flavor.

Do you make beverages with honey? Get them listed here by emailing kseiz@bakingwithhoney.com.

Comb 9 Gin — StilltheOne Distillery Two — Port Chester, N.Y.

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StilltheOne Distillery captures the honey spirit, making it a perfect fit as a base for the flavor and aroma palate of gin.

Using juniper berries, lavender and fresh citrus for a floral nose and orange blossom honey for a smooth finish, Comb 9 is truly one of a kind.

StilltheOne Distillery is the first distillery in Westchester County, N.Y. since prohibition and known for their gin distilled from honey.

Do you make beverages with honey? Get them listed here by emailing kseiz@bakingwithhoney.com.

HoneyBrew with Peppermint — Full Bloom Coffee Roasters — Garner, N.C.

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With a rising trend in cold brews, Full Bloom Coffee Roasters developed an energizing infusion of organic cold brew coffee, honey and peppermint extract for their HoneyBrew with Peppermint Cold Brew.

Full Bloom Coffee Roasters is a micro-roaster committed to sourcing quality coffee that are organic, fair trade and rainforest alliance certified.

Do you make beverages with honey? Get them listed here by emailing kseiz@bakingwithhoney.com.

Rumble — Balcones Distilling — Waco, Texas

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Fermented with Texas wildflower honey and Mission figs, Balcones Rumble is an aged, 94-proof whiskey.

The mixture of honey and spices leaves a delightful experience that lingers from the aroma to the finish.

Just shy of celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Balcones Distilling has released ten whiskies and spirits since its conception and won more than 140 national and international awards from the world’s top judges and critics.

Do you make beverages with honey? Get them listed here by emailing kseiz@bakingwithhoney.com.

Honey Coffee — Switters Iced Coffee — Nashville, Tenn.

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Honey Coffee by Switters’ new product uses wildflower honey.

The Honey Coffee is an addition to the Switters product line for non-dairy drinkers.

Switters Iced Coffee is an iced coffee microbrewery using new and innovative brew methods to create flavored iced coffees.

Do you make beverages with honey? Get them listed here by emailing kseiz@bakingwithhoney.com.

Honey helps boost drinkable yogurt sales

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Do not expect to see drinkable yogurts slowing down any time soon.

Drinkable yogurts have grown 62% in the last five years, according to the latest research from Mintel, reaching $893 million. And, many big name dairy processors are jumping on the bandwagon with a projected growth of 11% in 2016.

The on-the-go dairy drink targets millennials looking for convenience and better-for-you options. “Yogurt drinks are becoming increasingly popular among U.S. consumers, and as adoption of the yogurt drinks segment grows, so too does innovation,” Beth Bloom, senior analyst of U.S. food and drink for Mintel, says.

Honey has been known for its flavor innovations. From fruit combinations to twists on classic treats, honey sweetens the deal for yogurt companies and promotes new product innovation.

Straw’ Nana and Mix’t Berries
Chobani LLC
Norich, N.Y.

The dairy company expanded their Drink Chobani line with Straw’ Nana and Mix’t Berries, low-fat Greek yogurts blended with fruit and honey.

Fruzinga Honey Vanilla
Dairy Innovations, LLC
Redondo Beach, Calif.

At just 90 calories a bottle and made with real fruit and wholesome milk, Fruzinga’s healthy and nutritious high fiber drinkable yogurts meet the growing trend. Fruzinga combines honey with a traditional vanilla yogurt for their Honey Vanilla Probiotic Drinkable Yogurt.

Do you make beverages with honey? Get them listed here by emailing kseiz@bakingwithhoney.com.

Barr Hill Gin — Caledonia Spirits, Inc. — Hardwick, Vt.

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With a strong connection to the land around Caledonia Spirits, Barr Hill Gin combines juniper berry and honey in a spirit that conveys unique floral qualities.

Located in rural Vermont, Barr Hill by Caledonia Spirits is inspired by the land and reaps their honey, milk, cheese, timber, grains, seeds and herbs from local farms.

Do you make beverages with honey? Get them listed here by emailing kseiz@bakingwithhoney.com.

Out with the old, in with the cold brew

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While carbonated soft drinks continue to decline in consumption, cold brew coffee continues to rise as a caffeinated alternative.

According to Mintel’s Coffee U.S. 2016 report, RTD cold brew coffee is gaining steam, with a 580% growth from 2011-2016.

“Innovation continues to expand the cold brew portfolio at retail, which is seeing new flavors, dairy and non-dairy milk additions, and even functionalities and crossover products,” Elizabeth Sisel, beverage analyst at Mintel, says. With a growing market and consumer demand, the cold brew industry is introducing consumers to newer innovations, such as cold brew coffees with honey.

HoneyBrew with Peppermint, HoneyBrew with Cinammon
Full Bloom Coffee
Garner, N.C.
Full Bloom Coffee Roasters developed this energizing infusion of organic cold brew coffee and honey, available in peppermint and cinnamon flavors.

Honey Coffee
Switters Iced Coffee
Nashville, Tenn.
Switters Iced Coffee sweetens their iced coffee flavor with local Tennessee wildflower honey. It’s the perfect beverage for non-dairy drinkers and those who want a touch of sweetness added to their coffee.

Do you make beverages with honey? Get them listed here by emailing kseiz@bakingwithhoney.com.