We all have different ways of relaxing. After a long week, some people treat themselves to a spa day to melt away the stress. Others make a beeline from work to their favorite bar for a few happy hour pints with friends. Both approaches are equally valid. But what if there was a way to combine them into one blissful, beery spa experience?

There is now, thanks to Chicago’s recently opened Piva Beer Spa. Piva is all about the restorative power of the “beer soak.” In essence, spa patrons climb into large wooden bathtubs filled with the Czech brew Pilsner Urquell (diluted with water so as not to create a sticky mess) and some hops. As patrons float and sip on a separate glass of Pilsner Urquell, beer components like hops, barley, and brewer’s yeast help to repair and refresh the skin.

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Piva’s core spa offering might feel like a trendy gimmick, but the business, cofounded by father and son duo Edin and Dino Sarancic, is rooted in both the present and ancient past of brewing. Beer-themed spas already exist in certain pockets of Europe, and are especially popular destinations in Prague. As Piva sees it, there’s also reason to believe that even the brewers of the ancient world were wise to the benefits that a good beer soak has to offer.


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“Our ancestors were almost certainly much less wasteful than we are today, and there is evidence of past civilizations using beer for more purposes than just filling their bellies with it,” Piva’s website reads. “Bathing in beer and the various components in its make-up such as brewer’s yeast, hops, and barley, has been around for much longer than any of us have.”

Even if you’re skeptical of those historical claims, it sounds like soaking up in some beery bathwater can have real benefits. Piva touts the beer soak’s ability to fortify and hydrate damaged skin, clear acne, condition hair, and even boost feelings of relaxation. 

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From the sound of it, that’s not merely drunken boasting either. “Beer soaks are commonly used to treat a variety of skin issues, from anti-aging to eczema,” Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, told Yahoo Beauty. “Hops are potent antioxidants, and as such help reduce inflammation. Beer also contains brewer’s yeast, which is rich in B-complex vitamins, which have skin soothing and brightening effects.”

Despite declining sales, plenty of people still love beer. The world’s fixation on wellness doesn’t seem like it’s going away any time soon, either. So don’t be surprised if Piva is just the first of many beer soak spots to open its doors in the near future. For now, pour a six pack in with the bathwater if you’re desperate for an easy at-home spa day.


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