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Hop Head

Hotels for the Beer Geek
  • The Nomad Hotel

    The Nomad Hotel, New York

  • Ace Swim Club

    Ace Hotel and Swim Club, Palm Springs

  • The Standard, High Line

    The Standard, High Line, New York

  • Hotel Solamar

    Hotel Solamar, San Diego

  • Kerry Hotel Pudong

    Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai

  • Mandarin Oriental Munich

    Mandarin Oriental, Munich

  • Vail Cascade

    Vail Cascade, Colorado

January, 2013

In an era when even the diviest dive bar in a one-road town is likely to carry at least a token microbrew, real beer remains unforgivably hard to find at many of the best hotels. Fortunately, these hotels have kept up with the times — offering proper beer to satisfy even the pickiest hop head.

1.

Ace Hotel & Swim Club
Palm Springs, California — The beverage list at this refurbished roadside motel has come a long, long way since the days when the on-site restaurant was a 24-hour diner. They kept a bit of the kitsch, but now you can wash down your all-day breakfast with a draft from Dogfish, Stone, Lost Abbey or Lagunitas, to name just a few. And yes, this being an outpost of the Ace, the ten-deep can selection also includes Tecate tallboys and PBR.
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2.

The Augustine
Prague, Czech Republic — Any good beer geek knows that monks are an auspicious sign. At the Augustine, several men of the cloth live in the hotel’s oldest building, a monastery that dates back to the 13th century. Perhaps more importantly, their brewing tradition is honored at the hotel’s St. Thomas bar, housed in the stalactite-covered cellar of the original brewery, where exclusive St. Augustine beers are on tap alongside plenty of others. For some detox after drinking through the beer-tasting menu, try the beer-based spa treatments.
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3.

The NoMad Hotel
New York, New York — As if New York’s of-the-moment foodie-drinkie amusement park didn’t have enough going for it already, it turns out the NoMad’s cocktail bar has an incredible sleeper beer list. A few selections to stir the heart: Porterhouse Oyster Stout, The Bruery’s “wheat wine” (like a barley wine), Evil Twin’s smoked pilsner, one kölsch that’s local (Capt. Lawrence) and another from Köln (Reissdorf), a pair of top-tier Belgian saisons…
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4.

The Standard, High Line
New York, New York — With its pretzels and sausage plates, its dirndl-clad servers and its hefty glassware brimming with German beers, the Standard’s biergarten hews true to the native form — and in Manhattan’s dolled-up, high-heel-happy Meatpacking district, of all places, where bars’ barley-based offerings are generally limited to a couple overpriced cans of macro-swill.
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5.

Hotel Solamar
San Diego, California — At Solamar’s restaurant Jsix, chef and home-brewer Christian Graves keeps hop heads satisfied with weekly craft beer nights and an every-night list of top local brews. And once a year, the restaurant gets together with San Diego’s Lost Abbey for a beer-pairing dinner and art show featuring the original artwork from the brewery’s labels.
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6.

Kerry Hotel Pudong
Shanghai, China — Kerry Hotel Pudong’s resident brewer makes six different beers and a cider at the on-site brewery. You can see the facilities up close on a brewery tour, or just taste the results at the hotel’s excellent brewpub overlooking Century Park. They also offer brew master–led tasting classes, and every guest gets a pair of free home-crafted beers in the mini-fridge.
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7.

Hôtel Julien
Antwerp, Belgium — You didn’t think we’d forgotten Belgium? It almost goes without saying that the beer at Hôtel Julien’s bar is outstanding; what sets it apart is the beer-drinking backdrop, a rooftop terrace with a view of Antwerp’s cathedral. These days the hotel’s 16th-century cellar is occupied by the spa, complete with sauna and hammam, so after you’ve spent an evening drinking Belgian beer, you can sweat it out and start all over again the next day.
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8.

Vail Cascade
Vail, Colorado — You can hardly throw a snowball in Colorado without hitting a craft brewery, and Vail Cascade makes use of the local bounty with its après-ski beer flights and a lengthy beer list. The choices include everything from Colorado classics like Fat Tire to obscure local finds like the Crazy Mountain Lava Lake Wit from a little town twenty minutes down the road. And that’s before you even get to the cellar, where they keep the best stuff.
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9.

Mandarin Oriental Munich
Munich, Germany — Who would have guessed that one of the most refined, buttoned-up hotels in Munich would have a bar like the Wooden Chalet, home to a daily cut-loose Bavarian beer fest, sitting on its roof? The décor is all-out alpine kitsch, the servers don dirndls and lederhosen, the views of the Alps are outstanding and the Bavarian music is sufficiently inspiring that, from time to time, folks start dancing on the benches. Oh, and the beer’s not half-bad, either.
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