By Molly Hayden, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Public Affairs January 23, 2013
CHODOVA PLANA, Czech Republic -- While German culture is bathed in mores of beer, their neighbors to the east have taken it one step further -- by literally bathing themselves in beer.
Tucked away in the Bohemian town of Chodova Plana is a wellness center that would make Homer Simpson drool. Stainless steel tubs are filled to the brim with a special mixture of mineral water and bathing beer -- a substance of active beer yeast, hops and a mixture of dehydrated herbs -- concocted by the head brewer of the Chodovar Brewery. Set at a temperature of around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, bathers are immersed in a restorative enterprise that is said to activate circulation, rejuvenate skin and relax the mind.
As an added bonus, a glass of nonpasteurized Chodovar beer is served during the process, which the brewery claims to increase the outcome of the bath by harmonizing blood pressure, aiding in digestion and enhancing the relaxation experience. (Prost!)
After 20 minutes, dripping bathers are led to a quiet room, reposed on a bed and swaddled in a fleece quilt. Music plays softly under the dim lighting, prompting soft snores from the pampered participants.
The aroma of beer permeates off the skin during the hourlong procedure. While the softness of the skin is felt almost immediately, the active minerals from the bath are absorbed into the skin slowly, so bathers are asked not to shower for the rest of the day.
Aside from the obvious pampering and vanity that comes from visiting the beer spa, the bath is also used as a successful treatment of psoriasis, cellulitis and acne and is a noted anti-stress treatment to combat mental disharmonies. Regardless of the reasons for indulging, the beer bath is an unique experince warranting a day trip across the border.
After a day at the spa, visit the "Ve Skále," restaurant and Chodavar brewery museum, both situated in the unique rock labyrinth of the 800 year-old brewery cellars. The restaurant provides an array of Bohemian fare with unbeatable prices, (a hearty dinner for two, including drinks, for well under 20 euros). The brewery offers tours daily at 2 p.m., and tours are conducted in German or Czech, but an English handout makes it easy to follow along.
For more information on Chodovar, or to book reservations online (reservations are required), visit www.chodovar.cz.