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Neighbors of DuPage

Downers Grove Park District and Alter Brewing Co. partnership is a sweet deal

Apr 27, 2017 12:10PM ● By Ben Scott

DOWNERS GROVE—A new partnership between Downers Grove Park District and Alter Brewing Company is cultivating community with local honey.

Lyman Woods, a 135-acre forest preserve and nature center operated by the Downers Grove Park District, has been gradually expanding their honey bee apiary and beekeeping programs over the last three years. Visitors are fascinated to learn about the life of bees and the many benefits these essential insects provide us. But even more so, they just love the sweet taste of honey.

The partnership with Alter Brewing Company is going to give the community a taste of this amazing wild Lyman Woods honey with an exclusive new brew to be revealed at the park district’s 2017 Harvest Fest and DG 5 & 8 Miler held at Fishel Park on Sept. 30.

A generous sponsorship from Alter has provided the funds for Lyman Woods to install five brand new hives that will produce honey for the exclusive brew. On April 17, staff from Alter Brewing Company and Downers Grove Park District introduced the colonies to their new home.

Downers Grove Park District is thrilled about the new partnership and opportunity. “We are very excited to work with Alter Brewing on this unique partnership to showcase local food production right here in Downers Grove, and also raise awareness of the importance of pollinators,” said Shannon Forsythe, Manager of Natural Resources and Interpretive Services for Downers Grove Park District.

On Sept. 9, Lyman Woods will be buzzing with a new program based on the partnership. From Field to Fermenter is a special one-day excursion that will demonstrate the honey harvest and brewing process from bee to beer. The day will begin at Lyman Woods where participants will learn all about honey, the history of local beekeeping and the science behind how honey is harvested. They will suit up and visit the apiary, harvest honey from the hives and partake in a honey tasting.

The group will then journey to Alter Brewing Company for an educational session about brewing and a tour of the facility from the head brewer. Participants will enjoy a delicious food truck lunch provided by the Roaming Hog and take home a 32 oz crowler of the limited-edition beer.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Alter to get more involved in the community,” said Mark Hedrick, Head Brewer and Owner at Alter Brewing Company. “It’s a wonderful example of the good things that result from local cooperation, and provides a unique opportunity for everyone to learn more about honey and its versatility as an ingredient in beer.”

While space is limited for the “From Field to Fermenter” program, Lyman Woods offers several beekeeping and honey bee programs all year-round.

Aspiring beekeepers can see firsthand how to care for bees each season and ask questions about management techniques at the popular Beekeeping: Hands-on Mentoring program offered on May 20, June 17 and Oct. 7.

Children ages 9 to 12 will investigate the inner workings of a beehive with our Junior Beekeepers Camp this summer from July 17 to 21. Honey lovers of all ages will discover the amazing world of bees and sample the Lyman Woods honey at the annual Honey Harvest on July 22.

Registration is ongoing for summer programs. Fall program registration begins July 31 for Downers Grove residents. For more information about programs and registration, visit or call 630-963-9388.