Tim Hampson's Beer Blog

The quest for the perfect beer

Soaking in the suds – a beery experience

with 2 comments

I HAVE taken my clothes off in some strange places, but I’ve never been naked in a brewery before.

The Chodavar brewery is about 40 miles north-west of Pilsen. Seemingly hewn out of living granite and set into a hillside, each summer the brewery’s visitors’ centre hosts a popular beer festival and intriguingly the European championship for rolling wood beer barrels. The brewery is also home to “beer wellness land” and a beer spa. Supping beer is good for people’s health. It increases our levels of good cholesterols which protect against heart attacks. Beer drinkers have a lower risk of kidney stones and a glass a day can give people stronger bones. But bathing in beer? I always thought a good soak was a happy drunk.

“Take you clothes off and put them in this locker,” the nurse motions in her best sign language as she hands me a crisp white towel. “No no,” she indicates, “you don’t keep your shorts on, you take everything off.”

Sheepishly I follow her, along with some fellow journalists, from the changing room into the spa. A beer spa it seems like drinking is something best done communally. We are ushered into a room which has the clinical air of a ward in a cottage hospital, but instead of beds there are large baths of steaming liquor, each with a glass of unfiltered beer alongside.

One by one our dignity is stripped away and the nurse, who has clearly seen it all before, helps us into our own personal mash tun. Each tub contains 80l of warm mineral water – between 36-38C – to which four litres of an unfiltered dark beer and a handful of Saaz hops have been added.

Within moments tenseness and shyness gives away to laughter and relaxation. Pete, iphone in hand is tweeting pictures of himself. Adrian is discovering what it is like to put his head totally under-beer. Least that is what Pete and I hope the vibrant, bubbling sound from his tub is. Bizairre.

I don’t think I’ve ever drunk a beer in a bath before. I’m rather beginning to enjoy this. After half an hour our charge-nurse reappears and says we must get out. Wrapped in our towels, we shuffle behind her into a room with subdued lighting and soft music playing. I’m sure the nurse is giggling. We each lie on a bed, next to which is another glass of beer. Then we are tightly wrapped, like babies being put to bed, in an orange blanket and left to chill out. Total relaxation. It’s so good.

As we put our clothes back on, nurse makes it clear we must not have a shower for at least four hours, so the beer dried on our skin can continue to do its healthy work. It must be time for another beer.

Written by timhampson

August 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

Posted in beer spa, Pilsen

2 Responses

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  1. Simply superb, I must make a pilgrimage to the Czech Republic soon!

    Fat Gary

    August 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    • And if you get there check out some of the new wave of brewers and not just the great established ones.


      August 12, 2011 at 6:58 am

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