The Beer Spa Where You Literally Sit In A Bath Of Warm Beer

I was dubious at first, especially when the instructions were delivered so abruptly: “Go there, take off clothes, wait.” She handed me a small towel and left the changing room.

Unsure of whether to wear swimming shorts or not, I took a chance and left them in my bag along with the rest of my clothes. Then I waited. And it was exactly then that I questioned my actions. I love beer. I travel to drink as much of it as I can, to experience different cultures, to see the world through the prism of my favorite drink, but did I want to sit in a bath of beer?

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An hour later and I had the answer: a resounding “yes.” Yes, I do want to sit in a bath of beer—a deliciously warm bath of dark lager with added hop flowers, brewing yeast, and crushed herbs. They even gave me a house-brewed, unfiltered lager to drink while I was in the bath.

There are health benefits to this, you know: your heart rate gently rises and increases your circulation; the pores of your skin are opened and you’ll sweat out “unhealthy substances;” the hops and herbs, plus a light carbonation, are exfoliating; the beer yeast gives B vitamins; and the beer you drink is “good for your digestive system.” Maybe this sounds like nonsense—it probably is nonsense—but it’s great fun.

After 20 minutes you get out and they tell you not to shower (don’t worry, you won’t be sticky), to allow the purifying effects of the liquid to soak into your soon-to-be super-soft skin. Then they leave you to relax in a dark, quiet room for a short time, letting you gently drift into a beery sleep.

There are numerous beer spas around the Czech Republic. I experienced one at Chodovar, a brewery with a spa, restaurant, and hotel in the very west of the country. Closer to Prague is the Bernard Beer Spa, which comes with unlimited beer while you bathe. Check out the details at www.pivnilaznebernard.cz/en.

Four Czech Craft Beers To Look For Czech brewers understand balance better than any others. They’ve grown up with their excellent pale lagers and their balance between malt and hop, and they’ve translated that essential Czech quality into modern craft beer styles such as Pale Ale and IPA. The four breweries listed here all make excellent beers across broad styles.

* Matuska are the stars of Czech craft brewing and their Apollo Galaxy is a perfect example of bold malts meeting bold, juicy, fruity hops, and it all working wonderfully well.

* Raven’s Cream Porter is brewed in Pilsen and o en on tap at the excellent Francis beer bar off the town square. It’s silky, luscious, and smooth, and one of the best beers of its kind you’ll find brewed anywhere in the world.

* Pivovar ZhUrak beers are brewed by an American, 151/2 miles (25km) south of Pilsen. All the styles are covered, with the Stouts and IPAs being especially good. This is another great brewer to find at the Francis beer bar in Pilsen.

* Falkon Idiot IPA is piney, grassy, tangy, citrusy, and tropical, with a soft, smooth golden body that illuminates all of the American hops used.

The Lowdown

WHAT: Chodovar Beer Spa

HOW: Chodovar is 100 miles (160km) west of Prague—the route takes you through Pilsen where there’s also a beer spa and hotel at the Purkmistr Brewery. You can share a bath with a friend if that’s your kind of thing (www. chodovar. cz).

WHERE: Pivovarská 107, 348 13 Chodová Planá, Czech Republic

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