There’s a new beer brand on the block, Brewhive; a startup that’s bringing 3 new beers and a cider to the market exclusively via the company’s website and not too long ago I was given the opportunity of sampling these new brews.
A box arrived with some friendly graphics printed on the side, in a similar vein to those on the bottle labels, and a fancy inner holding the bottles neatly in place. Brewhive have put effort and thought into the delivery side of things, and as far as first impressions go, I was impressed.
But what of the beers inside? Hit the website and the first thing that jumps out at you are the words,
Beer that’s Crafted with Care
Well it was packaged and delivered with care, so expectations were high.
Three beers make up the current range; a Chocolate Porter, IPA and a Pilsner. There’s also a Cider too for anyone that’s that way inclined.
The lager is fairly crisp and malt forward, a slight sweetness sitting alongside a mild citrus with delicate spice punctuating the finish. I’d like to see more carbonation given to the brew but otherwise it’s a refreshing beer.
The porter has some nice flavours running through it, the chocolate is there, with a hint of vanilla fudge and a liquorice note evident in the finish. The beer sits at 4.1% but drinks a little thin. I’d love to see Brewhive richen up those flavours a bit and give the beer more body and depth. Just a little tweak to the recipe and, to my mind at least, it’ll be a far more satisfying beer.
I have more issues with the IPA though. Sitting at 4% and profiling the Endeavor Hop, it drinks like a standard English Pale. Everything about the character of this beer is, for me at least, far too dialled down and really needs amping up. The body is far too thin, the carbonation needs to be improved and the bittering, aroma and flavour profile from the hop needs to be increased.
That said, I think there is real potential in the range, and just a few recipe tweaks could reap huge benefits for these beers and for Brewhive. I put these thoughts to the people behind the brand, and one of the founders, Andrew Veitch was kind enough to answer some questions I had:
-How long has it taken to get to this point?
It’s taken us 14 months to get to this launch.
-Where does the company see itself fitting in to this increasingly expanding beer scene?
We are one week in and we haven’t quite got our website where we want
it to be so here’s the background.
Our objective was to create some beers that are aimed at people who
are presently drinking wine or drinking commercial lagers. We are
absolutely not aiming at people who are presently drinking craft beers
(and in fact we do try to avoid the term “craft beer” to describe our
We’ve done a lot of customer research and our customers are looking
for beers that are more interesting than commercial lager but are
lower ABV and less strongly hopped than most craft beers. This fits in
with our focus on food matching where we are wanting to be careful not
to overpower the food.
-Who designs and brews the Brewhive beers?
We did the initial test brewing at Drygate (although it wasn’t the
Drygate team) and the brewing is presently at Clonmel in the small
batch brewery on the Bulmer’s site. That brewery is 100k hectolitres.
–What’s next for the company? Any new beers in the pipeline?
I would expect the range to bottom out at perhaps about 12 beers and
we’ll probably add some guest beers and various specials that will
come and go. I’m also sure we’ll work on the existing range too, I do
agree about carbonation particularly on the IPA.
It’s evident to me that this is a brand driven company and it’s branding that they do right. It could be chocolate mail order or coffee, organic snacks, beard grooming accessories…anything else that is ‘on trend’ right now. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I like that the company are aiming towards the ‘entry level’ end of the market, and once those recipes are re-worked they could well prove to be a good bridge from mass produced to artisan.
For more info please visit www.brewhive.com
Many thanks to Andrew and Brewhive for the beers. These beers were free to me, but this has not affected my opinion.