The worlds of hops and hospitality have a long history together. Just this week, in fact, plans were confirmed for New York’s Bud Light Hotel — the docked Norwegian Gateway cruise ship and Intrepid Sea, Air & Spa Museum next door will sleep 4,000 people and provide 22 restaurants and bars — to operate during the week of Super Bowl XLVIII. These following places won’t catch a drinker’s eyes quite like that, but they more than make up for it with plush digs, thoughtful service and lots of suds. Our editors sifted through pints from Philly to Prague and found five places you’ll want to turn in after turning up your last glass.
Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
Last year, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia teamed up with local brewery Dock Street Brewing Co. for a sudsy (and limited) celebration of all four seasons. The moody and fireplace-lit Swann Lounge set the stage for releases such as spring’s Caliente Golden Ale and fall’s Spanish Fly. The “Beer Four All Seasons” promotion a hit among craft beer enthusiasts and sold out quickly, leaving the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel with only one option—pair up with the brewery again in 2013. The seasonal line that began with a spring brew (O.P. Yum) and continued with a summer treat (Crackle and Squeeze) has its taste buds currently set on autumn’s 1983: Beer of Excellence, a Belgian ale fermented and lagered with Champagne yeast.
Kerry Hotel, Pudong, Shanghai
Four-Star Kerry Hotel in Shanghai is all about beer. As the hotel bar’s name implies, The BREW has taken a diehard approach to its beer service. The award-winning bar pours six craft beers and one cider brewed on the premises by hotel brew master Leon Mickelson. After you’ve finished an Indian Pale Ale or Pils, take the behind-the-scenes tour of the hotel’s microbrewery—lead by Mickelson—that concludes with a six-course beer degustation dinner, and we promise you’ll have a new appreciation for the stuff.
The Fairmont San Francisco
The specialty brew here all started with a buzz—literally. To battle the declining honeybee population (down 90 percent since the 1980s), The Fairmont San Francisco — and nine other Fairmont Hotels around the world — installed four beehives in its lobby-level outdoor garden. Visible through floor-to-ceiling windows in the foyer, the culinary garden grows a number of different herbs, but the real sweetness is the gobs of honey the 200,000 buzzing insects produce (around 800 pounds in 2011). It’s that sweet stuff that triggered the hotel to join hoppy forces with Almanac Beer Co., creating The Fairmont San Francisco Honey Saison, a snappy ale featuring, of course, honey from the hotel hives. The brew is available exclusively at the hotel’s Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar.
Swans Suite Hotel, Victoria, B.C.
With a location that served as a launch pad for Klondike gold rushers and a building dating back to 1913, the Swans Suite Hotel in British Columbia has some serious history. It also has some serious brew clout: Carrying on the tradition of housing grain in the building during its previous days as a feed market, Swans Suite began offering beer brewed on-site in 1989 and has never looked back. Swans Brewery adheres to a strict no-sugars, syrups or adjuncts (un-malted ingredients) policy that has served it well—it has garnered 26 honors from the Canadian Brewing Awards in just 10 years. Taste the mild Appleton Brown Ale, the light Artic Ale, and the full-bodied and powerful Swans Oatmeal Stout at the brewpub, or stop by the hotel’s wine and beer shop and take some back to your room.
The Augustine, Prague
This Rocco Forte hotel captures the essence of Old World Prague in its seven different buildings (including its namesake, Augustine St. Thomas Monastery from the 13th century); but the true gem here is the St. Thomas Brewery Bar. Once the cellar of the original St. Thomas brewery, the bar sports stalactites and stalagmites from the 17th century, a floating terra-cotta floor and a natural water source. The cave-like atmosphere transports you back in time and is perfect for enjoying a modern version of the monks’ St. Thomas brew, as well as several specialty and seasonal selections. Opt for the beer tasting menu to test out the unique dark lager brewed specifically for The Augustine.
Photos Courtesy of Rocco Forte Hotels, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts