While a hotel may not be the first place that comes to mind when looking for a craft beer experience, the EAU Palm Beach Resort & Spa, located in Palm Beach, FL, prides themselves on doing things a little bit differently. The hotel not only has stunning rooms designed by Jonathan Adler and a spa that not even the most active person will want to move from, but it’s food and beverage service rivals top restaurants in which this is the only focus.
Another way the hotel is differentiating itself? The craft beer business. The idea, says Brian Long, assistant director of food and beverage as well as the resort cicerone, came to life when he suggested using an old George Dickel bourbon barrel—long since emptied and being used as a piece of décor—was used to make a craft beer exclusively for the hotel.
“Our guests want to come here and they want to experience something they can’t get at home and we want to stand out as a community, too, especially on the craft beer side so it was really the perfect marriage. We already try to source everything we can locally and love to collaborate and support anyone who is in our own backyard,” Long says.
Long turned to Palm Beach, FL-based Copperpoint Brewing Company to help develop a beer that would complement the bourbon barrel, pair well with food, and give the EAU’s clientele something to talk about. With the help of brewmaster Matt Cox, the hotel will be debuting a barrel aged imperial stout on June 15, 2019 for a limited run. The beer will only be available at the resort’s Stir Bar.
“It has tasting notes of dark roasted coffee, chocolate, fig and some spice from the original bourbon. I would pair it with a beef stew, Korean barbecue or a heavy burger for dinner. For dessert, I think it would complement a buttered pecan or traditional vanilla ice cream and could even be used as an ice cream float,” he says, citing the caramel cream float that is already on the menu at EAU.
Long and his culinary team are pairing the release with light bites, including candied bacon, bourbon-caramel infused popcorn, and a modern spin on ‘bangers and mash’ at the resort’s release party. Tickets for the event are $24, but guests will be able to grab a taste of the exclusive stout complementary for as long as supplies last.
Long notes that there is only one 50-gallon barrel of the imperial stout, which will make for about 200 bottles.
While releasing an exclusive beer to the resort may seem like it’s all about the guest experience, Long explains the idea runs deeper than that. He says that it’s about highlighting the local community and lifting it into the spotlight, making it an attraction beyond its inner circle. He says that those in the hospitality industry, especially hotels and resorts, should find ways to integrate the food and beverage trends happening in its local community, as it will reap rewards for the entire local economy.
“Certainly for us, this is something that we want to grow going forward and this is a real chance for the hospitality industry to promote their local communities,” he says.