Buzzing Over Beehive Cheese

Cheddar rubbed with New Mexico Hatch chiles and chile powder -- from Beehive.
Cheddar rubbed with New Mexico Hatch chiles and chile powder — from Beehive.

Creamy cheddar flavored with everything from espresso to bourbon, and porcini to Earl Grey tea. If that doesn’t perk up your cheese board or grilled cheese game, nothing will.

Those imaginative products and more are the handiwork of Beehive Cheese, an award-winning creamery that gets its name from Utah’s nickname, the Beehive State (who knew?), and its creativity from founders Tim Welsh and his brother-in-law Pat Ford.

The two guys went all in on cheese-making after the dot-com collapse did a number on their former software and real estate businesses. They had little cheese-making experience at the time, but didn’t let that stop them, getting help from the Western Dairy Center, a leading cheese research institute. They also had the good sense to partner with fourth-generation dairy, Wadeland South, which raises Holstein and Jersey cows for their rich tasting milk.

Because the two were learning as they went, they had no fear when it came to experimenting with what a cheese could be.

The results are unique and delicious cheddar flavors, as I found when I received samples recently.

All the cheddars are creamy and semi-firm, so they’re easy to cut into neat slices for nibbling or stacking atop a sandwich.

The Promontory, without any added flavors, is buttery and tangy with mild sharpness. The Queen Bee Porcini is hand-rubbed with porcinis, giving it a subtle earthiness. Its winsome taste garnered it the “Best American Cheese” at the World Cheese Awards in 2021.

The Barely Buzzed, a five-time winner of “Best Flavored Cheddar in America,” is rubbed with roasted espresso and lavender. You can definitely taste the coffee, as well as a slight floralness.

(Front to back): Beehive's Queen Bee Porcini, Teahive, and Barely Buzzed.
(Front to back): Beehive’s Queen Bee Porcini, Teahive, and Barely Buzzed.

Pour Me A Slice is infused with Basil Hayden Bourbon, giving it a bit of a smoky, spicy character near its rind. The Red Butte Hatch Chile is tinged with orange-red speckles, as it’s rubbed with a paste of chile powder, coriander and New Mexico Hatch chiles. It’s moderately spicy with a fruity-peppery kick.

My favorite just might be Teahive, with its rind covered in pulverized Earl Grey tea leaves. It’s milky tasting with a beguiling finish of bergamot and orange. This cheese is perfect for breakfast or brunch, topping a biscuit, scone or toast, slathered with your favorite jam or a little honey.

Find Beehive cheeses at select Safeway, Raley’s, Rainbow Market, New Leaf Community Market, and Nugget Market. Or find the cheeses, as well as gift boxes and a monthly cheese subscription on the Beehive site.

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