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Bee Healthy

Vista Brewing’s Karen Killough Taps into Local Honey's Benefits

1. Nature’s Versatile Healer

Humans have been using honey as food and medicine for thousands of years: as a sweetener, an antibacterial, an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. “It’s great for allergies,” Karen says, explaining the more local the honey, the bigger the benefit. 

2. Know Your Beekeeper

Karen, whose first taste of beekeeping was as a child on her grandfather’s Virginia cattle ranch, has 16 hives on the 21-acre property, where she and her husband, Kent, opened Vista Brewing in 2018. Her hives were rescues and called the property ‘home’ before they did. 

3. Sustainable Practices

She doesn’t use chemicals to treat her bees who forage the property’s organic vegetable garden and the seven acres of wildflowers they planted. “My style is hands off. They’ve survived millions of years without us,” she says. 

4. Sweet Success

This year, her bees produced about 250 pounds of honey — some bottled and sold at Vista and some incorporated in menu items like their Honey Tamarind Pulled Pork Sandwich and Hive Mind Honey Ale.

5. Celebrating Bees

Last summer marked Vista Brewing’s Third Annual Honey Festival, in collaboration with Hays County Bee Keeper’s Association, and the release of Hive Mind Honey Ale, which has a unique origin. “We were at our lab, and a bee flew in, and it got us thinking about what kind of yeast is on a bee,” says Karen. Upon testing, they found saccharomyces cerevisiae — the yeast for making beer. And so, they did.

“Get your honey from where you live."