Last month I told you about the “honey beer” known as a bragget the good folks at 2 Feet Brewing on Columbia Street in Bangor made with my Bee Whisperer honey. It could be considered something akin to half-beer, half-mead (honey wine).
I must admit, I was a little worried I might not like it, which would be awful as it was being named Bee Whisperer! I have made mead before, and as much as I love the idea of a wine made from honey, I’m not a great fan of those I have tried.
March 2 was the big unveiling and the tiny pub was full of folks who had come to try it. Some had traveled a long way to be there and had planned their day around it. No pressure.
Well, I need not have worried. It was fantastic. Plenty of honey taste but only a trace of sweetness, a very drinkable beer. It seems that I was not alone in this opinion.
Bartender Zack Hauger told me that they had never had to change out a keg in less than 2 hours before. The evening was a huge success and a lot of folks got to try a great new product made possible by honeybees. Apparently, the keg of Bee Whisperer sent over to Nocturnem for the Maine Science tap takeover sold out. It turns out that the bragget is the fastest selling beer 2 Feet Brewing has made to date. Head brewer and co-owner Cory Ricker is now planning to make it at least four more times this year. If you didn’t get a chance to try it, stop in to 2 Feet Brewing or you can ask at your local pub to get it in as a guest beer.
As the snow melts, we are getting into my favorite time of year. Everything is about to burst into life and that includes my bees. So far, they have fared very well this winter and soon they will be bringing in pollen and raising lots of baby bees. I will help this process along a bit by feeding each hive a patty of pollen to stimulate that brood production. This should always be done carefully, as to stimulate your bees to build up brood too early can result in large bee populations before there is nectar out there to collect. That means they eat up their dwindling supplies of honey extra fast. Extra feeding with sugar syrup may be required. This should have my hives big and strong both for the pollination jobs they need to do and to provide big, healthy splits, or nucleus colonies, for my customers.
I have two big deliveries of 3-pound bee packages with queens coming to Maine for my clients as well. Packages are a quick and easy way to get hives started early in the spring and I’ll have some here for early April and early May.
The highlight of the spring for me is getting so many new beekeepers started in the hobby which so often becomes a passion. April is a very busy month for me with beekeeping classes all over the region. I particularly enjoy the hands-on classes here at my farm in Hampden. As well as the theoretical classroom learning, it is so much more impactful to be able to go into live bee hives and see, hear, smell and touch the bees. Anyone interested should contact either the appropriate adult education directly or call me to book a space in one of the Hampden classes.
Sullivan Beginners, Mondays, Mar 25 and April 1, 6:30-9 p.m., call 207-422-4794 https://rsu24.coursestorm.com/course/beekeeping-for-beginners?search=bee&x=0&y=0
Ellsworth Beginners, Tuesdays, Mar 26, April 2 and 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m., call 207-664-7110 ellsworth.maineadulted.org
PittsfieldBeginners, Wednesdays, Mar 27 and April 3, 6-9 p.m., 207-487-5107 msad53.maineadulted.org
Hampden Beginners, One Day Hands-on; Saturday April 6, 8-2:30 p.m., call 207-299-6948
Hampden Beginners, One Day Hands-on; Saturday April 13, 8-2:30 p.m., call 207-299-6948
Bangor Intermediate, Mondays May 6, 13 & 20, 6-8 p.m., call 207-992-5522 www.bangoradulted.org
Hampden Beginners, One Day Hands-on; Wednesday May 8, 8-2:30 p.m., call 207-299-6948
Presque Isle Beginners, One day, Saturday May 18, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., call 207-764-4776 http://msad1.maineadulted.org/
Hampden Intermediate, One Day Hands-on; Saturday June 8, 8-2:30 p.m., call 207-299-6948