Where do you go when you really need to relax and you love beer? HOP IN THE SPA, America’s first beer-soaking spa!
When I was looking for an adventure for Mike and I this past November, I started looking at spa options in the Bend, Oregon area, and Hop In the Spa popped up in my search…a Newsweek article led me to it in fact. We headed to Bend and explored the craft-beer scene for a couple of days, and on our way home, we took the scenic route to Sisters, Oregon. I knew, kinda, what was in store for us, but it was a secret for Mike. (I know, I’m a very nice girlfriend! 😉 )
A small, renovated house on the main drag (West Cascade Ave.) in Sisters, Oregon stands with a decorative storefront and wooden bathtub examples in the front yard. Even without the sign, you know where you are. Inspired by the bathhouses in Prague, Mike Boyle, a local business owner/resident and now Chief Hopismistic Officer at Hop in the Spa, partnered up with his massage therapist Sally Champa and opened Hop in the Spa in February 2016. At Hop in the Spa, you can soak in a “microbrew soak” with beer inspired ingredients in a wooden tub and follow that up with a massage using hop oil for a naturally intoxicating good time.
When we arrived, it was the morning after the November 2017 Presidential election and a two-day trip in Bend, Oregon exploring beer. We were exhausted and mentally drained from seeing Trump take the win. So, we needed a bit of relaxation. When we pulled up, Mike was like…”what is this place?” Immediately we were welcomed into the spa and given a Deschutes beer in a bottle. Mike had a Fresh-Squeezed IPA and I had a …Chasin’ Freshies IPA. Then, we were seated in the waiting/preparation area with our beers and a warm, soft pretzel to munch on. As the soaking tubs were getting prepared, we talked with Mike and Sally about the spa and how it came about.
After suffering immensely from a terrible car-accident leaving Mike (Boyle) in lots of pain, he started soaking and started to get frequent massages in Bend (from Sally) to relieve pain and calm his nerves. Inspired by his own recovery process, Sally and Mike set out to see what the options were with using hops (oils). See, hops have medicinal qualities, and Sally knew that, from talking with some of her clients who were Deschutes employees. Hops are an great anti-inflammatory and help with insomnia and anxiety, and therefore have healing benefits. Sally and Mike were frankly taken aback that there were no beer-inspired spas in Bend or Central Oregon, a mecca for craft-beer. Therefore, Hop in the Spa was born!
Once the tub and the beery soak were ready, we were left on our own to de-robe and hop in! We slipped our toes into our individual tubs and settled in seated opposite ways but facing each other. The tub was filled with about 130 degree water, tons of hops, lemons, and a mixture of minerals and essential oils. The “bath-brew” is their own propriety creation and was created by taking locally brewed Deschutes Beer, rendering it into a solid, grinding it up and using it as part of soaking water. As we sipped our beers and soaked our bodies from ours neck down, our worries and slightly foggy heads from our beery weekend faded away. We got a couples soak which was about 45 minutes, and we took it all in.
In the room, along with the soaking experience, Hop in the Spa owners create an overall soothing sensory experience. With classical instrumental music, essential oils defusing into the air, and dim lighting, spa soakers are in full-spa relaxation mode. Between taking minutes to soak quietly, to marveling with excitement to each other about what we were soaking in, we enjoyed every moment of it. While we didn’t get a massage after, Mike and Sally ensure us that is the ultimate experience. We will have to go back!
After our time was up, we got out of the tubs and felt anew. A little wobbly on my feet from all the intoxicating relaxation, I dressed slowly and gathered all of my things. We met Mike and Sally out on the deck to cool down and chat a bit more. The cool air was refreshing, and I remember feeling completely warm, supple, and refreshed. I had a clear head, no leftovers of election exhaustion, and was ready to see the day as a new beginning.
Hop in the Spa plans to expand. They have big dreams of bringing the Hop-In-The-Spa concept all over the United States with licensing their propriety process of making their microbrew-soak. Since they partner up with Deschutes for the hops they use and the beer they serve, I would assume their next big steps will be in the East Coast as Deschutes expands and finishes their production facility in Roanoke, Virginia. I secretly hope they will get someone to open one in Portland, Oregon or close to us so we can take it in closer to home! (Heathen Estate, maybe? I think that would be just perfect!)
You have anything stressing you out? Any ailments keeping you tense and hungry for some “me” time? You should Hop in the Spa! When you go, check out their packages to get the most out of your time there! Also, they run Groupon specials often too. And, be sure to check out the sweet Travel Channel video where Hop in the Spa is featured (around minute 10)!
After your soak, check out Three Creeks Brewing right in Sisters, Oregon like we did! They offer up some good brews and yummy food! Take a seat at the bar and order one of their Main Trail beers…Hoodoo Voodoo IPA, Crowdpleaser IPA (my favorite of theirs), FivePint Porter or Knotty Blonde Ale from their regular line-up of craft beer. Then, try one of their specialty “Outlaw” beers which are always changing and are listed on the end of a barrel looking to the right in the bar. You can even take their beer to-go, in cans!
Next time you need to relax and want to be naturally intoxicated, check out Hop in the Spa in Sisters and tell them I sent you! Oh, and, let me know what you think!
Cheers, and happy relaxing and adventuring!