The Hyatt Regency Amsterdam brewed a special seasonal beer made from last year’s Christmas trees. The initiative started last year when Bergareche and his team realized that 2.5 million Christmas trees were sold in the Netherlands, but after the holidays, most of them end up “on the street as rubbish.” Hyatt Regency Amsterdam partnered with Lowlander, a popular Dutch beer that they already served in the hotel, to do something about it. The project ignited, but quickly grew bigger than they imagined. After a few television spots about the undertaking, they had amassed more than 1,000 trees from a collection of hotels, restaurants, and cafés all over Amsterdam.
“The mission was to spruce up ‘waste’ into something delicious,” says Gorka Bergareche, the cluster general manager of Hyatt Regency Amsterdam of the collaboration with local brewery Lowlander on the project, simply named the Lowlander Winter IPA. “Lowlander collected as many trees as they could, stripped the spruce, and brewed them with juniper into a sustainable 5% white-style IPA.”
What resulted is an easy-drinking beer, with aromas of an evergreen forest and flavors of citrus and hops. Spruce isn’t a typical ingredient found in brews, but it offers a botanical quality to the final beverage. For the Hyatt Regency in the Netherlands, it’s the perfect complement to the Indonesian cuisine of the hotel’s restaurant, Mama Makan.
“In addition to having a tasty beer with these Christmas trees, we saw what this idea did in terms of awareness: The impact was huge,” Bergareche says. “Because of its success, Lowlander wanted to commit to future Christmases, but with an even larger impact.”