It’s 2019 and the ice caps are melting, the news cycle is relentless, and we’re already supposed to be freaking out about an election that is more than a year away. Can we take a dang minute to just sit and breathe? Please?
Seriously, though, given the state of things, it’s no real wonder that there’s a lot of discussion about the importance of self-care going on these days. Apple declared it last year’s biggest app trend. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is all about it. Assorted hot takes have dubbed it a political act and whatnot for years now.
While we’re all for doing what you need to do to stop and restore some semblance of sanity, we also acknowledge that the act of doing so may not look the same for everyone. Self-care is a nebulous concept at best and whether yours looks like a Korean beauty mask or just cradling a puppy for a good 15 minutes, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Which brings us to the self-care trend that most people didn’t see coming, but we’re actually kind of here for: beer. No, we don’t just mean cracking open a growler of your favorite IPA (although we’re pretty sure that counts). We’re talking about wellness industry trends that use beer as their secret weapon. While we don’t endorse some of the more dubious fads, like swapping your shampoo for beer or rubbing a hair mask of raw egg yolks and beer all over your scalp, some of these are less silly than they sound. Our writers and editors have already attested to the soothing power of soaking in hops at the spa, after all.
Whether you need some TLC or a gift for the stressed-out beer-nerd in your life, consider giving these a go.
Damn Handsome Old-School Shaving Cream
If most shaving creams remind you of your grandparents, try these all-natural options loaded up with organic hops and other fresh-smelling botanicals. You can opt for Scotch Ale, with undertones of all-spice, mandarin oranges and tobacco, Hoppy Mint, with soothing rosemary and mint, or American Ale, with a whiff of cedar, white musk and sandalwood. The beer here is pleasantly understated, but adds a welcome touch.
IPA Hops Beard Oil
Fact: hops smell freaking fantastic, as anyone who’s ever poured out a juicy, hazy IPA amped up on Galaxy, Mosaic, and other tropical heavy-hitters will attest. This potent potion combines organic ingredients with Hungarian hops to restore lost luster to your manly man. Note that a few drops of this stuff go a long way. ($16.95, here)
Beer Soap with Apricot Wheat
Yes, beer soap. If you were feeling ambitious, you could whip up a batch of your own, but who the hell has time for that? Plus, unlike the novelty items doomed for last-minute Father’s Day gifts, this bar made with a crisp, fruity apricot wheat beer is one you’ll want to keep for yourself. It smells delicious and has a sprinkling of crushed walnut shells for maximum exfoliation. ($7.99, here)
Breakfast Stout Brew Candle
Wake up and smell the beer. If starting your day with a coffee lager is now acceptable, we see no reason why lighting up this candle redolent of cinnamon, roasted coffee beans, and waffles dripping with maple syrup should be any different. The recycled 22 oz. beer bottle packaging is a plus, as is the 40-hour burn time. ($19.99, here)
American East-Coast IPA Candle
If stout sounds too heady for you, perhaps you’d prefer this zingy hop-heavy number with fresh-squeezed blood orange and grapefruit juice, not to mention a perfume-y hit of lemon and orange zest. It’s everything you expect on the nose of a great, citrusy New England IPA, just in candle form. (from $12.50, here)
Hops Essential Oil
Hops are powerfully aromatic and said to possess calming properties. If you struggle with insomnia and are looking for an all-natural Ambien alternative, stocking up a steam diffuser with this essential oil might help. Note that those piney, citrusy notes that are sought-after in IPAs may not be to everyone’s taste. Start off by blending a small amount with other soporific scents like Valerian to get adjusted. ($38, here)
Beer Relaxation Experiences
Brew and Renew Treatments at the Four Seasons Resort Vail Colorado
Given the vibrancy of Colorado’s craft brewing scene, it only makes sense that one of the state's most luxurious spas would tap into the healing power of hops. The Brew and Renew Massage (from $200 for 50 minutes) draws inspiration from restorative hot stone massages, except it swaps the rocks for cans of Crazy Mountain Brew. A skillful masseuse will gently apply the warmed cans to pressure points to melt away tension, before handing you a cold one to enjoy after the treatment. With he The Amber Ale Foot Soak ($65 for 25 minutes), you’ll enjoy an exfoliating scrub and foot massage while soaking in a foot bath full of warm Crazy Mountain Brewery’s Amber Ale. Apparently, the yeast is helpful for getting rid of any, erm, fungal problems you might have. Your feet may smell like a brewery afterward, but that’s probably an improvement. Oh, and you can drink the same beer that’s cleansing your tootsies during the process.
Balance & Brews Beer Yoga
Before there was goat yoga or puppy yoga or whatever other thirsty social media bait they’ll dream up next, there was beer yoga. It showed up at Burning Man one year, then in a techno club in Berlin, before it migrated to Asia, where Thailand declared it illegal probably because the authorities couldn’t stomach another obnoxious sun salutation selfie. It is, admittedly, ridiculous, but one of our staff members has personally tried it and will vouch that it’s good, dumb fun sans the sanctimonious edge of your average bikram session. If you’re going to get your vinyasa flow sequence on, you might as well go to the place that started it all, which holds classes and retreats to far-flung beer-y destinations like a Trappist monastery in Belgium.
Das BierBad at Starkenberger Schloss
So let’s say you’ve had a rough couple of months and you’re looking to do something… well, a little out of the ordinary. Sure, you could bathe in beer right here in the good old US of A, but for a next-level adventure, you also book a flight to Austria and go to a literal castle-turned brewery. That’s right, Starkenberger Schloss near the Tyrolean Alps has been brewing up textbook pilsners and lagers for over 200 years. Grab a group of up to four friends together and rent out one of their converted fermentation tanks, which they’ll fill up with 12,000 liters of water and 300 liters of glorious beer. People in this part of the world have been soaking in suds since the Middle Ages. The practice purportedly boosts circulation, softens skin, and provides beneficial trace minerals and nutrients. (€250 per tub, here)
Illustration by Adam Waito