A beer bath might sound like a distinctly collegiate activity, but at one Denver spa, it’s a decidedly adult way to achieve a state of relaxation.
At least that’s what I’m experiencing at The Beer Spa, in the Mile High City’s hip Five Points neighborhood, as I soak in a bath of blackberry leaf, cashmere hops, and pale and crystal malts from Odell Brewing Company’s Hazer Tag IPA. The mix isn’t actually an ale or lager, but rather a sort of warm beer tea that my friendly “beer therapist” tells me will make my skin more supple and smooth—thanks to its antioxidant properties—and will help me chill out due to the sedative effect of hops (a member of the hemp family).
While a beer spa may seem like a quintessentially Denver concept, founders Jessica French and Damien Zouaoui admit they didn’t come up with it entirely on their own. The Franco-American husband-and-wife team were inspired by an evening spent sitting in a communal wooden-barrel hot tub, drinking unlimited pints of beer in the mountain resort town of Zakopane, Poland.
“We knew that this was the business idea we had been searching for,” French says. “It combines so many things that we love: craft beer, hospitality, and wellness.” The first-time entrepreneurs spent seven months bathing around the world—from thermal baths in Hungary to onsens in Japan—in the name of research (talk about making a clean start!) and opened their place last year.
Today, their business is part day spa, part taproom, where a different Colorado brewery is featured each month and wine, cider, and kombucha are also on offer. Guests can sip cold beverages while sweating out toxins in a private infrared sauna or soaking in a cedar hydrotherapy tub. French explains that the boozy element is a way to entice patrons who perhaps don’t have home wellness regimens.
“Nearly half of our guests are first-time spa-goers, typically coerced to come to The Beer Spa by their partner with the promise of beer,” she says. “But by the end of their experience, that person is often the one begging their partner to come back!”