Beer Spas Should Become A Part Of Your Travel Itinerary

You may consider yourself a beer lover, but have you ever thought about bathing in it? It turns out that beer spas have been a thing in the Czech Republic since the early 1980s, with the trend expanding around the world ever since. Combining the concept of a visit to a bathhouse or sauna with that of going to a brew pub, you can actually get a full-body hot soak in the heady beverage for a next-level wellness experience like no other.

While beer spas differ in the types of services and amenities they offer, the basic idea is the same at all of them. Tubs, traditionally made of oak, are filled with heated beer, and you're meant to soak in them, much like a mud or hot spring bath offered at more conventional spas. A beer soak is intended for relaxation, detoxing, and overall enjoyment. In fact, those who operate these facilities claim that there are numerous healing benefits to soaking in beer, such as improving skin and hair (via Piva Beer Spa), which they attribute to antioxidants, polyphenols, and B vitamins in beer's main ingredients — hops, brewer's yeast, and barley.

The tubs are not typically filled with the regular type of finished beer you'd drink straight from a bottle; rather, it's often a proprietary blend of hot water suffused with beer ingredients (the barley, hops, and yeast), and sometimes additional herbs or essential oils. Beer on tap for drinking is, of course, part of the experience as well.

The history of bathing in beer is older than you think

It is believed that full immersion in beer for medicinal uses can be traced back thousands of years. There is documentation from the 10th century that purports that the Duke of Bohemia, King Wenceslas, was partial to taking baths in wort (the liquid yeast starter made from sugar and grain used in beer making) (per Oakwell Beer Spa). Purportedly, Wenceslas had the wort brought from beer-brewing abbeys, which his servants would prepare into a cold bath. Bohemia is now the Czech Republic, and it's also considered to be the birthplace of modern-day beer spas. This makes sense considering that the Czech Republic is the country that drinks the most beer in the world.

The city of Prague, in particular, is known as a destination for beer-drinking connoisseurs and is also home to the first Eastern European beer spa, Spa Beerland, which opened in 1981 and is still in operation today. Soaking in hot tubs full of beer has become widespread throughout Prague, and spending the day at a beer spa has become a popular tourist activity, one that can be enjoyed solo, by couples, or even in groups.

The first beer spa in the United States opened in Oregon in 2016 but closed in 2021. Various other businesses have sprung up to take on the mantle, however, with day spas from coast to coast where you can enjoy sipping on your favorite ale while soaking in it too.

Beer spas around the world

Whether traveling domestically or internationally, there are plenty of beer spas to add to your itinerary. Stop by Oakwell in Denver, Colorado –  the company is opening its second location in 2024. Along with what it refers to as beer hydrotherapy, services also include infrared saunas, rain showers, zero-gravity massage chairs, and a craft beer taproom.

Specialties at Piva Beer Spa in Chicago, Illinois include steam saunas and a halotherapy salt room. On the East Coast, Maryland's Bierbath features 40-minute soaks along with an alehouse and full food menu — don't miss the bratwurst cooked in stout — one of our favorite and unique ways to cook with beer.

When in the Czech Republic, the original Spa Beerland has six locations in and around Prague. Experience soaking in a mix of beer extracts and herbs, free-flowing light and dark Krušovice beer, beer bread to munch on, and traditional straw beds for relaxing upon after your bath. Other notable beer spas you can visit during your travels include the Thermal Beer Spa in Budapest, Hungary where thermal waters are combined with herbs, beer salts, and foam; Bjorbodin in Árskógssandur, Iceland where you can soak for 25 minutes in natural Kambala wood tubs; and Japan's family-run Hinotani Onsen at the Misugi Resort in the city of Tsu, where you can bathe in the home brewery's own Ninja beer while soaking in the beauty of the surrounding forest.