A new queen bee has arrived in Manhattan.
Atop the roof of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, past planted basins of dinosaur kale and herbs, are six apiaries housing thousands of bees, all working hard to produce honey for the hotel's restaurants and spa treatments.
While the honey comes in a limited quantity-- only about 350 pounds were harvested from the rooftop's 300,000 hives this season-- 50 pounds were dedicated exclusively to Empire Brewing Company upstate, in order to create a craft beer to serve at the Waldorf's Peacock Alley.
But what makes a 120-year-old old school New York establishment start resembling a hip Williamsburg beer room?
"We really like beer in the kitchen," Waldorf's executive chef David Garcelon said. A love for craft beer led to growing of hops in the rooftop garden this year, and with the addition of the honeybees, a new product was made.
The Waldorf Buzz is a sweet brown ale at 6.5% ABV, which sips easily on its own but also pairs nicely with fall confections, like the Waldorf's golden honey macarons. While the hotel expects the kegs to only last six weeks, they're hoping to continue collaborating with Empire Brewering in the future, creating more seasonal products for New York's craft beer fans.
Atop the rooftop garden at the beer's official launch last Wednesday night, Brewmaster Tim Butler (who was in tears at the honor of creating a signature brew for this iconic hotel: "We get emotional upstate"), checked out the chocolate mint growing on the rooftop, perhaps for a wintery beer concoction.
For the next six weeks, or until the twelve kegs run out, Waldorf Buzz will be pulled from the honey dripper taps for $9 drafts at the hotel bar.
Waldorf Astoria Hotel bar, 301 Park Ave., 212-872-1275