by Lisa Gregory, photography by Nikola Tzenov

Soaking in Suds

Sykesville’s BierBath Spa Offers a Beer-Bathing Experience

Josh Collier and his father, Tegan, enjoy a good beer. “One of our bonding experiences between the two of us is we both love craft beer,” says Josh.

The BierBath spa experience includes a bath, sauna and rain shower.

Recently, however, the two men took their love of beer to the next level as visitors to BierBath in Sykesville. There, they not only drank beer but also submerged themselves in it.

“It was the first time that I had even heard of it,” says Josh of the beer bath experience. “I was intrigued and wanted to try it.”

While an ancient tradition in parts of Eastern Europe, beer baths are relatively new in the United States. In fact, BierBath is only one of four beer spas in the nation; the others are in Denver, Chicago and Orlando.

BierBath is an alehouse and spa. The alehouse has a selection of more than 30 different beer styles, a food menu and an environment that welcomes kids and dogs. The beer spa is in the back and removed from the hustle and bustle of the alehouse. This setting provides three spacious, private rooms, candlelight and a sense of serenity.

Spa participants soak in a resin-coated oak tub, which can be made available for one person or shared by two. In addition to the beer bath, the spa experience, which starts at $100, includes an infrared sauna and a rain shower. The beer bath lasts 40 minutes plus 10 minutes in the infrared sauna and 10 minutes in the rain shower. Guests wear bathing suits inside the tub. Staff provide fresh towels, slippers and a bathrobe afterward and clean the oak tubs after each session.

First-time guests might have some misconceptions about the experience. “At first, I was confused and thought you took a bath in beer,” says Deven Pirro, who has provided marketing services for BierBath through her business Deven’s Deals and has tried the beer bath.

Not so, says co-owner Hector Enriquez.

“We use the ingredients of beer,” he explains. The warm baths blend craft beer ingredients, such as hops and barley, while adding Epsom salts and other aromatic delights, such as lavender, hibiscus or rose petals. “People tell us that, when they get out of the tub, they feel like a new person,” says Enriquez, who notes the bath ingredients are believed to have beneficial properties for the skin and can help with relaxation and rejuvenation.

Enriquez and co-owner Greg Baran met through their children, who are friends. Much like Josh and his father, the two men bonded over their love of beer. “I would do beer tastings at my house,” says Enriquez, who is originally from Venezuela but has been a Carroll County resident for several years. “One day, Greg said to me, ‘You want to start a brewery together?’ I told him, ‘I have an even better idea.’”

BierBath co-owner Hector Enriquez

As an international hotel photographer, Enriquez distinctly remembers his first encounter with a beer spa in Iceland.
“I thought, ‘This is amazing,’” he says.

The two men decided to make a go of it and opened up BierBath last December. “It’s new and different,” says Baran, who works in the tech industry. “Another alehouse is just another alehouse, and there’s a lot of them. There are a lot of breweries. We knew this would pique people’s interest.”

For those with some hesitations, Baran says, “People may be like, ‘Why would I do that?’ But once they are in there and see it, they’re asking, ‘Why wouldn’t I do it?’”

First-timers have become repeat customers, says Enriquez.

Josh, for example, is a believer. “The water has a really nice feeling on your skin,” he says. “I go to the gym, and my legs are sore regularly. It was fantastic for getting rid of that soreness. I felt great the rest of the weekend.”

While soaking in beer ingredients, one can also be drinking beer. The price of the spa experience includes selected draft beers, soda and water. Items such as wine, food and charcuterie boards are available for purchase. All come to those in the tub; a request for guest service is only a call button away.

“It’s like you are on vacation, and you paid extra for the butler service,” says Pirro. “It’s an opportunity to relax and catch your breath,” she says.

For Josh, who first visited the beer spa on a Friday after a hectic day at work, the experience offered a respite from the day’s worries.

“All the stress that I walked in there with was completely gone,” says Josh, a financial controller. “You walk into the spa. You have the strong aroma of flowers and hops, and you get a nice cold beer.”