I’m not really a ‘spa break’ kind of gal but when I heard there was such a thing as a beer bath, I knew I could be converted.
I discovered the concept when I watched a TV programme about Paul Merton touring Europe and he tried one – I knew I had to seek one out.
If you do a Google image search for ‘beer spa’ you’ll find tons of photos of smiling, model-esque people bathing in hops to entice you. But it wasn’t the buff, bearded men that got me excited (and I’m sure it wasn’t the scantily-clad gorgeous women that caught the boyfriend’s attention either…)
No, it was the fact you could have a BATH in BEER. While DRINKING BEER. From your own PERSONAL BEER TAP. I was sold.
An Austrian adventure
Our trip took in various countries including Germany and Austria so we had a few options. We chose Landhotel Moorhof, a four-star hotel in in the middle of the picturesque countryside of Upper Austria in a place called Franking, around 30minutes from Salzburg.
As we plotted our route on the map, we discovered, with childish glee, that we could pass through a village called Fucking (pronounced “fooking”). We made an obligatory stop there and took some silly photos at the sign before heading on to the hotel.
The hotel and spa
The room was nice although we didn’t spend long in it before heading down to the bar to relax and kick-off our beer-themed stay.
There was a small pool which we had a dip in before heading outside to lie on a sunbed and enjoy the amazing weather while we sipped beer and got ready to (literally) immerse ourselves in this beer experience.
When it was time for our beer bath we were ushered into a private room with a giant beer barrel waiting for us to take the plunge. Its warm water was infused with beer extract comprising malt and hops.
It’s said to have a soothing effect, and the hotel website claims it detoxifies, supports the body against many rheumatic symptoms and relieves circulation problems in the hands and feet.
There was also a straw bed to relax in afterwards and the dried grasses and herbs are also said to “relieve many symptoms” as well as being “soothing to the psyche”.
Barrel of laughs
My eyes lit up as I saw the beer tap by the side of the barrel – then the man from the hotel regretfully explained that the tap wasn’t working! I tried to hide my disappointment, but it quickly disappeared when when he told us he’d personally deliver our beer and make sure we didn’t run out.
We got into the barrel grinning like Cheshire cats and the hotel man arrived with two lovely cold beers, then left us to enjoy our beer bath. I could feel little hoppy bits swirling around in the barrel below the bubbles as I swooshed one hand around in the water while clutching my beer with the other. It was wonderfully relaxing.
We finished our beers and then, as if by magic, the hotel man appeared again and topped us up. I’ve had table service before but never bath service – it was great!
Then I had to consider something I hadn’t really thought about. I really needed to go to the toilet (that’s beer for you!). I timidly started to ask the man and he immediately understood, gave a sympathetic nod and pointed me towards a toilet adjoining our room. They really had thought of everything.
We even got our photograph taken as a keepsake (though I’ve opted to use the hotel’s photographs with this post as the internet does not need to see pictures of me in the bath).
When we hopped (ahem) out of the tub we were given sheets to wrap around ourselves, and and we lay in the straw bed, warm and sleepy from the combination of the bath and the beer. It was a strange but incredibly chilled experience lying there swaddled in sheets, breathing in the smell of the hay.
I wish I could remember more about the restaurant as this is a hotel that prides itself in its cuisine, but this trip was a couple of years ago and the beer bath is the memory that I recall most clearly.
But I do remember my starter. I wanted to try new things so I ordered a soup I’d never heard of, and when it arrived it was a clear broth with a giant meatball in the middle. I’d never seen anything like it.
I was prodding the dumpling curiously with my spoon when I became aware of two older, Austrian ladies sitting at the next table, staring and struggling to hide their laughter. They thought it was hilarious that I’d never seen the dish before as apparently it’s a favourite. I understood why…it was delicious.
The next visit
As I write about this trip with really fond memories, I realise it’s been far too long since I had a bath in beer. I reckon it’s time to start planning the next trip.
The hotel has now extended its beer bath offering with a brand new package called “In Love with Beer for 2” and it’s a beer-lover’s dream. You get a champagne beer welcome drink, double room with breakfast, beer cosmetics in your room, beer bath and straw bed, a hop oil aroma massage, four course beer menu with beer tasting, and beer cheese fondue!
It sounds like the ultimate beer experience and it’s going on my list as something the boyfriend and I must try in the near future.