4 Hotels Making Rooftop Honey Beers

© Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
By Justine Sterling Posted October 09, 2014

Urban beekeeping went from hipster chic to mainstream when the first big hotel chain hired an apiarist. Now, hotels that are housing thousands of bees on their rooftops are adopting yet another hipster trend and brewing their own honey-infused beers.

Urban beekeeping went from hipster chic to mainstream when the first big hotel chain hired an apiarist. Now, hotels that are housing thousands of bees on their rooftops are adopting yet another hipster trend and brewing their own honey-infused beers.

Here, four hotels where you can get rooftop honey beer.

The Fairmont San Francisco
Made in partnership with the local Almanac Beer Company brewery, the Fairmont Hotel Honey Saison is a Belgian-style ale brewed with spicy noble hops and, of course, honey from the hotel’s four rooftop beehives. The hives are surrounded by rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, cilantro and lavender, which add a subtle herbaceous, floral flavor to the honey.

Waldorf Astoria; New York City
The latest hotel to jump on this microtrend, the Waldorf Astoria recently released the Waldorf Buzz in partnership with Empire Brewing Company. It’s a brown ale laced with the hotel’s honey, which is harvested from the six hives on the Waldorf’s 20th-floor rooftop. The bees are tended by Andrew Cote, a fourth-generation beekeeper.

Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
The hotel makes nearly everything from scratch, including vinegar, cheese and soda, so it only made sense for them to start producing their own honey in 2008. Just a few months after the bees were put in place on the roof, Roof Top Honey Wheat beer was brewed in partnership with Half Acre. Now, the hotel works with Brickstone Brewery (Half Acre became too busy with its own production), but the beer remains the same: easy drinking, lightly honeyed and refreshing. Chef Myk Banas, who helped develop the beer, says it’s “a craft beer that doesn’t have any of the weird, esoteric, beer-nerd flavors that are often found in honey wheat beers, like the clove notes or the banana-esque flavor.”

The Fairmont Olympic; Seattle
Olympic Honeymoon Suite ale is made with Pike Brewing Company. Served both on tap and in bottle, the beer has been in production since 2011 when Pike Brewing owner Rose Ann Finkel told Fairmont chef Gavin Stephenson about her dream of making a honey ale. She had the brewery, he had the honey and the beer was made just a month later. The honey shows up more on the nose than the palate, according to Stephenson, who describes the beer’s flavor as “floral with hints of lavender and licorice.”

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