Our Beer Spa conversation began something like this - “Let’s get naked and drink beer. In a tub.”
While it may sound a little twisted, well, that’s the way it usually goes in a beer spa in Prague. I can tell you this on authority – because I was the one who actually said such a thing to a bunch of girls (women if you will) about to be a part of this cleansing ritual in Prague. I thought it was a fitting suggestion, considering that we were there exactly for that reason - to get naked, sink into a tub of beer (at least all the ingredients that make beer – minus the fermentation process) and drink endless beer from a personal tap by our elbow.
Unless of course, you have had the foresight and come equipped with a bikini or swimsuit, naked is the easiest (and fastest) way to start achieving your goal - mine being drinking beer. There is a reason why I say this. Even before your bottom has hit the beer, your time starts ticking. So, if you are in a race to challenge your partner, friend, or whoever is with you in there, you’ll appreciate my warning.
Time is of utmost importance here. You drink by the watch!
What is beer spa?
Well, this is a place you go to in Prague (and a few such places all over Czech Republic) to soak yourself in a tub of hot water mixed with hop and yeast. Following this soak and scrub ritual, you lie on a bed of straws and allow your beer-soaked body to continue to absorb the good stuff on its own. It’s a spa alright – you have your own private room for the time, but there are no scented candles and personal attendants. You might be forgiven for thinking of it as a beer-bar in a tub with no one watching.
The Beer spa experience is quite straightforward. You enter, strip and start drinking – after a very brief explanation of why and how the tap works (that is extremely important you know), an occasionally nibble on some beer-bread in between drinking. Yes, there is some music to egg you on, but I admit I didn’t pay much attention to it and focused instead on the immediate problem at hand – do I start with the light or dark Krušovice beer?
Krušovice, I’ll have you know, is one the best Czech beer I have consumed and I was in a race to drink at least 3 glasses of it (having picked up the 1ltr giant glass). It was a bit of a challenge I’d set for myself and no way I was going to lose this one. Three litres in thirty minutes (without a loo break) – so you will appreciate my predicament.
Beers to your health...or something like that. Cheers!
A very business-like attendant showed the ingredients and allowed us to watch her mix everything up. Then she smiled when explaining to us how the taps worked. This is most crucial – your winning any bet you have placed depends on your skills with the tap.
And oh, I won the bet. But that said, when I walked out of the spa (I say walked out in very uncertain terms), I wasn’t sure if I was glowing because of the beer on my skin or inside me.
Caption: The ingredients are ready to be mixed and thrown into the oak tub filled with warm water After all the ingredients are thrown into the tub, this is how it looks - before the Jacuzzi begins.
In Czech Republic, beer is cheaper than water especially at restaurants and bars! The Czech rank number one in the world for beer consumption, drinking on average 144 liters of beer for every child, teenager, adult, pregnant woman and tourist in the country!
The spa attendant explains the process of using your tap
Five reasons to try
1. Unlimited beer on tap while you soak up
2. The hops help to open and cleanse your pores
3. Beer is a great hair conditioner
4. Malt is a great way to exfoliate
5. Yeast has B vitamins and active enzymes that rejuvenate your skin
Things to know...
1. Bring your own swimwear
2. Don’t shower for at least five hours after
3. You are free to drink as much as you can within the allotted time frame
4. This experience will set you back anything between USD150-200 (for two)
The business of beer
With an annual production upwards of 16.7 million barrels annually, beer is big business in Czech Republic. Export brings in the euros, but beer also draws visitors from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, UK, and US into the country eager to drink it at source or bathe in it. This latest tourist craze of beer spas makes sense after all.
Any time of the year, the half dozen or so beer spas in the country is always full, so booking in advance is a good idea. Different beer spas offer different experiences – but beer is the common element. But more than the soaking up of vitamins, it is the experience that drives people to the tubs.
Beer has been brewed in Czech Republic for centuries and the Czechs pride in their national treasure. In fact, many breweries also offer guided tours where you can get closer to your favourite drink.