Washington Old Hall beer inspired by nature

PUBLISHED: 01:16 11 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:41 20 February 2013

Sarah Murray learning and interpretaton officer with David Gilfillan of Delavals

Sarah Murray learning and interpretaton officer with David Gilfillan of Delavals

Washington Old Hall in Tyne and Wear has created its own beer, and the key ingredient is honey from its own hive Words by Jane Hall

A new brew is the bees knees in more ways than one. Washington Old Hall is launching its own beer on July 3, and the key ingredient is honey from its own hive.

Drinkers will be able to try it for themselves when Washington Old Hall Honey Beer is officially unveiled at the National Trust property with an afternoon of bee-related drink, food and craft activities for all to enjoy.

The launch is a fitting taster to American Independence Day on July 4, which is marked at the hall - the ancestral home of the first president of the United States, George Washington - with a flag raising ceremony.
George Washington is known to have enjoyed a sweet tipple himself - perhaps one of the reasons why he famously had rotten teeth!

This latest beverage has been created by Whitley Bay-based Delavals and came about after staff at Washington Old Hall approached brewery owner, David Gilfillan, after being impressed by the hand-crafted beers he has produced for fellow National Trust places Souter Lighthouse and Seaton Delaval Hall.

On a visit to Washington he was introduced to the propertys bees which live in the Nuttery wildflower meadow, and suggested using their honey to create the commemorative drink.

Described by Delavals as a sweet golden ale, with a tantalising blend of biscuity malt, light floral aromas and warming honey, it has a fairly potent strength of 4.6 per cent alcohol by volume.

It costs 3 a bottle and is on sale at Washington Old Hall as well as other National Trust properties. Delavals also sells into Fenwick, Newcastle, Dobbies Garden Centres as well as numerous farm shops in the region and it is expected the honey beer will also be available on cask at selected pubs in the region this summer.

Money from every bottle sold will help care for the bees at Washington Old Hall.

Sadly, the bees which supplied the honey for this first batch, did not survive last winters harsh conditions. They have now been replaced by two new hives, and it is hoped the 10,000 bees will continue to harvest the wildflower meadow and surrounding gardens for nectar fit to drink.

Melanie Clarke, Washington Old Halls house assistant, said: The fact that we have used honey from our own bees which sadly died over the winter, means a little bit of them will live on in this first bottling.

The bee population is dwindling globally due to a combination of disease and the urbanisation of our green spaces. Sixty per cent of our food is pollinated by them and they are a vital part of the food production chain. If bees die out, so will humans.

Washington Old Hall, The Avenue, Washington Village, Tyne and Wear, NE38 7LE, 0191 416 6879



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