While a relatively new concept for those outside of Eastern Europe, beer spas apparently date back 2,000 years – with this more modern take on the experience first appearing in Prague in 1981. And the trend seems to keep growing: from the Rocky Mountains to Iceland, spas are tapping into what they believe is an emerging market—beer lovers soaking in suds to rejuvenate skin and muscles.
In the tiny village of Árskógssandur in Iceland, the Beer Spa (Bjórbö›in) puts clients in a hot tub filled with “young” beer, still in the early stages of fermentation. The kambala wood tub is filled with water, live beer yeast, hops, water, beer oil and beer salt.
Then there’s the US, where a new Beer Spa in Denver loads patrons in a bubbly beer bath steeped with hops, barley and medicinal herbs. The mile-high brew stew is the brainchild of Damien Zouaoui and Jessica French, who traveled the world before landing in a beer bath in Poland and bringing the concept home. Their 90-minute Beer Therapy Room treatment lets you soak in a cedar tub filled with an herbal beer bath blend.
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So what are the benefits of a beer spa?
The concept is relatively simple – private spa baths for one or two people allow guests not to bathe in beer itself, as the concept may otherwise indicate, but rather the core ingredients of beer – hops, malt and yeast. They sit in a giant teabag of sorts, and infuse with the hot water.
The low pH is said to tighten and soften hair follicles while cleansing hair and skin. Brewer’s yeast also claims to provide vitamin B, protein, potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium. The beer’s hops, meanwhile, are rich in antioxidants and alpha acids, while their oils and minerals are promoted as having an anti-inflammatory effect on joints and muscles.
As manager David Vávra from Prague’s Pivni Lazne Bernard told Forbes Magazine, “Beer baths are a proven medical procedure from the Middle Ages, known to cleanse the pores, increase pulmonary circulation, regenerate skin and hair and revitalise the nervous system.”
The Beer Spa’s co-owner Damien Zouaoui added to Delish that it’s “full of nutrients and B2. B2 helps make hair and skin shinier and softer.”
Yet to open Down Under, the world’s largest (or so they claim) opened up in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, bringing with it more outdoor experiences, and introducing overnight stays. Also this year, a beer spa opened in Stasbourg, the Taaka Beer Spa, making it the first of its kind in France. There, a beer tap is attached to your spa bath – which is more common of the experiences in Europe.
While there aren’t any scientific studies to back the wacky wellness trend, bathing in a gallon of beer doesn’t seem too bad at all.