Nothing hits the spot quite like a chilled brew after a long day and, because sometimes the longest of days can come when you're on the road, hotels have been upping the ante when it comes to the art of the beer. Our Startle.com editors sifted through the hops and barley and found five hotels particularly suited for thirsty travelers-from a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel in the City of Brotherly Love to a historic spot in Prague. Read on to learn where to plan your next beer-centric vacation.
Dock Street Brewing's Spanish Fly photo courtesy Four Seasons
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, kicking off with winter's The Truffled Old Ale. The moody and fireplace-lit Swann Lounge set the stage for three more beer releases-spring's Caliente Golden Ale, summer's Cherry Berbena Saison and fall's Spanish Fly. The four were 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. Although the beers haven't been announced, the seasonal line will begin with a spring brew. The Four Seasons will also host a special event to launch its summer beer, which will be in celebration of the hotel's 30th anniversary, during Philadelphia Beer Week (June 3-7).
Kerry Hotel, Pudong, Shanghai
Forbes Travel Guide 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 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 Dugite Vanilla Stout, 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.
Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar photo courtesy Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
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 Beer, 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 24 honors from the Canadian Brewing Awards in just eight 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.
St. Thomas Brewery Bar photo courtesy Rocco Forte Hotels
Augustine Hotel, 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 Augustine Hotel.