Well I’m not sure it is exactly a beauty treatment, but it was a new experience, and since I am making the rules here, it will have to do. The Beer Bath does exactly what it says on the tin – you bathe in some beer!
I love trying random things like this in different countries. I have tried Moroccan baths, Chinese massage, Indian eyebrow-threading, and I have particularly fond memories of sharing a sauna with 20 naked Russian ladies flagellating themselves with bunches of birch twigs. But I have never had a beer bath. The literature assures me it is highly restorative. The literature also suggests I will be enjoying a pint while bathing in several more, what’s not to like?
So. I phoned up the Novosad Mini Brewery and suggested in extremely halting German that I would like to come for a beer bath. Today. At 18.00 hours. As far as I could tell that seemed to be acceptable, so off I went.
On arrival I was recognised, I think, from the phone call. ‘Ah’ said the receptionist. ‘Reservazione’. She may have pegged me on account of the linguistic incompetence, or perhaps it was the lack of any other customers that made me easy to place. Whatever.
In the spa I was greeted next by a sturdy matronly lady, looking a little stern. Over years of travel I have perfected a look that says ‘Please help me and forgive my incompetence; I am really very nice’, so I offered her this, in place of any greeting. She smiled, showed me where to put my shoes, and pointed me to another room, with instructions to disrobe, conveyed in a mix of German and sign language. ‘Complet’ she added sternly, handing me a yellow sheet to protect my modesty.
Kit off, showered and sheeted, I re-emerged, and she showed me into the bath tub room. Sure enough, a bathful of water awaited, to which she added some yeasty pellets, and switched on the beer tap. 10 litres of finest ale turned the water an unpalatably rusty colour. Half a pint of even finer ale was placed on the table beside. She demonstrated the Jacuzzi effect and indicated she would return in half an hour.
I lay back and enjoyed the soothing sound of some 80s power ballads, while wallowing in beer, drinking beer, and inhaling the fumes of beer. The yeasty pellets dissolved around me, leaving an unseemly film of muck all around. The lighting was subdued, the walls were wooden panels like a sauna. There was another bath in the room, mercifully empty.
After 30 minutes, sure enough, she returned, and pointed me to my relaxation bed, one of 11 in the room. Another pint was placed next to me. A blanket over my wet sheet. More music courtesy of Foreigner et al. The relaxing ambience only marred by the sound of the matronly lady scrubbing my filth from her bath tub.
Another 30 minutes and it was time for my massage. There appeared to be no other staff or guests at the Novibad, for the same lady performed the massage, and it did not occur to her to close the door as I sat on the bed as instructed with my norks out.
That done, I was permitted further relaxation, should I wish, before I left. And on no account was I to shower afterwards. ‘Vitaminy’ she explained, sternly.
All in all, a very pleasant evening, though whether a beer bath is more beneficial than any other kind of bath I am not entirely sure!
(NB: any readers who don’t know me should be aware that the buxom lady depicted in the bathtub is not actually me. Alas I am far too British to take a selfie in the bath and post it on the internet!)