CINCINNATI — Something a little different for craft beer lovers will be on tap later this year in Columbia Tusculum.
Ben Homan hopes to open the Bier Spa by late summer. Homan is currently working to transform the building at 3751 Eastern Ave. (formerly the Shane Weber Salon) he and business partners purchased last year into a full service spa with a focus on beer.
Once open, groups of up to eight people will be able to reserve one of two semi-private hot tubs filled with fresh water infused with hops and other ingredients used to brew beer. Guests will also be able to sip a local craft beer from one of the spa's four in-house taps, according to Homan.
"We will also have massage offering hot oils, and a sauna," he added.
Homan said his girlfriend Ali Wilkens came up with the idea for the Bier Spa after visiting a beer spa with her sister in Eastern Europe a couple of years ago. Wilkens works for a local liquor distributor.
"She just tried it out as something to do in some obscure town over there in the Czech Republic and came back and raved about it," Homan said. "They loved it and were like with Cincinnati's brewing it would be great to start one here."
Luxury beer spas began popping up in countries such Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic more than eight years ago promoting the alleged benefits to skin while soaking in beer ingredients, according travel stories published by the BBC.
"I was kind of skeptical myself when I first heard the idea," Homan said.
As Homan learned though, the belief that soaking in brewing ingredients such as hops have healing properties date as far back as the Roman Empire. He then conducted some firsthand research by visiting three beer spas, including the first in United States that opened in Oregan in 2016.
Some of those beer spas actually fill hot tubs with fresh beer for guests to soak in, while others like the Bier Spa's model infuse hops, hop oils and brewers yeast into hot water.
"The brewers yeast also has some benefits for hair as a conditioner," Homan said.
Homan quit his job as a financial advisor last year to work full time overseeing the Bier Spa's build out.
"The look of it, the development is perfect," Homan said of deciding to purchase a building and open in Columbia Tusculum.
The Bier Spa will be one of the few businesses of its kind in Ohio when it opens.
The nearest business to offer at least a partial beer-centric spa experience is BrewDog USA's DogHouse Hotel, which opened in Columbus last August. Before opening, BrewDog advertised the hotel would have a full-on beer spa experience with hot tubs filled with its IPA.
A spokesperson for BrewDog has since confirmed the Scottish-based brewery dropped those plans after the Ohio health department nixed the idea. Each hotel room at the DogHouse though comes with a fully stocked "shower beer" refrigerator, along with views of BrewDog's onsite brewing facility.
Homan said an hour-and-a-half session at the Bier Spa will cost about $75 and include two beers during the visit. When people arrive they will receive their first drink, then be guided to a changing area, time in the sauna and a chance to shower after their soak.
A massage, extended beer drinking packages and a chance to spend time in the spa's outdoor beer garden will be available for an additional cost.