Beer – The Healthy Alternative?
One drawn to the path less traveled, I was curious about an Austrian beer spa I heard about a few years ago. You sit in a barrel filled with beer, while drinking beer and accessing a beer tap next to the tub. My thoughts danced around excitedly as I imagined myself in that very barrel filling my mug at the tap. “What could be better”, I thought, “drinking as much beer as you want, while soaking in beer?”
In Medieval Europe, drinking beer actually saved lives. Yes, it is true. Diseases were prevalent and it wasn’t yet known that boiling water, part of the beer brewing process, destroyed deadly bacteria. But, are there healing and nutritional aspects of beer beyond killing bacteria? Fasting during lent, medieval monks in Bavaria Germany went 40 days without food; their primary sustenance was beer, bockbier to be exact. Doing a little research, I was informed that soaking in beer is thought to have healing properties to include: improving circulation, detox, easing skin disorders, improving metabolism, and exfoliating, just to name a few. This needed further examination.
Determined to experience this novel idea, I invited my good-humored travel buddy to come along. Being a dog friendly hotel, taking my furry companions was definitely a bonus. Living in northern Italy, this was an easy weekend trip.
Arriving at our weekend destination, we found this hidden gem nestled in a blanket of velvety green meadows with rolling hills dotted with horses and a variety of farm animals. We were greeted with a warm welcome matching the cozy, friendly, and rustic ambiance of this generationally family owned hotel, The Moorhof Landhotel.
Looking out of my room’s balcony, I was welcomed by a sea of green pastures, trees popping with bubble gum pink blossoms, while other trees anxiously awaited leaves to burst through tiny buds. Surrounded by country roads and a scenic lake, our destination presented a multitude of dog walking options. A lovely country walk and tour of the wellness center, ended with a four-course beer menu and pairing that culminated with a beer-amisu dessert.
The next day began with a large breakfast buffet featuring an assortment of mouth-watering delights with an organic corner. This was followed by a massage and a peaceful morning at the wellness center. The early spring day graced us with sunshine, enjoyed while relaxing on lounge chairs in the pool’s solarium. “I want to provide a place for people to appreciate the natural landscape, relax and forget about their worries. People tend to spend too much time in their heads”, explains Eva Bauer. After her marriage to Bernhard, Eva eventually left a successful career in the travel industry and joined the family hotel and spa business.
Later that afternoon, Eva suggested a walk around a nearby lake sporting two names, Heratinger See (see is lake in German) and Ibmner See. This lovely walk through ornate homes, lush green countryside, and a clear azure lake was enveloped with the scent of spring flowers and fresh grass tickling our noses. Coming out of a long and cold winter, this sunny spring day was alive with the promise of long, golden summer days ahead. This picturesque Austrian scene inspired my theatrical travel companion to break into song - ”The hills are alive with the sound of music” - you know the tune. After our nature exploration and adventure, we were ready for the long awaited beer bath.
The Bauer family is well known for providing unique and personalized experiences. In the 1980’s, this was home to a discotheque created by Bernhard’s mother, right smack dab in the middle of pastures and farmland. “People from miles around traveled here to have a good time”. Shares Bernhard Bauer, as he prepares our Beer Bath. Why people from miles around came to this country discotheque in the middle of farmland, must have solely been the promise of fun, I thought to myself. Bernhad proudly shares that his cousin is married to the brewmaster of the house beer, Schnaitl; a family business since 1842.
“Later, my mother decided to turn the discotheque into a hotel and restaurant.” In the 1990’s, Ms. Bauer became inspired with the creative idea to provide a barrel filled beer bath and a beer tap within reach. Guests would enjoy an unlimited amount of beer, while soaking up the healing properties of the bath.
As we immerse ourselves into the foamy, bubbling, avocado colored liquid, the distinct smell of hops emanates from the tub in a cloud of steam. A full mug of beer patiently awaits its fate near the beer tap. The water is warm and feels like a Jacuzzi. “This is so cool!” I squeal with delight. My friend and I relish this unique experience and I cannot seem to get enough of filling my mug with the foamy liquid gold, while never leaving the warm barrel.
Upon completion of the bath, you are wrapped in a crisp, white sheet to relax in a bed of straw. Bernhard explains that the straw bed allows the healing aspects of the beer to soak into the skin and the straw traps the heat allowing you to relax. My friend and I were struck with a case of the giggles; the setting seemed to demand it.
This four star hotel and restaurant has 25 double and seven single rooms, all with balconies. Inclusive weekend packages are available starting at 68 euros a person and vary depending upon the package desired. For more information, go to their website, available in English http://www.moorhof.com/
This hidden treasure, promising health and tranquility, is located in northern Austria, a mere 38 kilometers (21 miles) from Salzburg, 132 kilometers (71 miles) from Munich Germany, and is easy to access by car or train. The 40-minute train ride from Salzburg leaves every 30 minutes and arrives at Lamprechtshausen, a 10-minute drive to the hotel. Upon request, the hotel provides free transportation from this location.
It is located in the tri-border area where upper Austria, Salzburg and Bavaria converge in the Flachgau region; the largest pasture fed, dairy cow location in Europe. Known for its Eco-tourism, the region was honored with the prestigious European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) award in 2010. The criteria for this award are based on commitment to social, cultural and environmental sustainability of tourism.
If you love nature, unique experiences, and enjoy being off the beaten path, this beer spa is a fun way to experience beer, nature, and wellness.
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