This Ancient Austrian Brewery Has 7 Beer Pools for You to Swim In

By Andrew Daniels

Beer, that incredible gift, has myriad uses. You can drink it, of course. You can cook with it, marinate with it, soothe your feet with it, and even kill slugs with it. Best of all, you can bathe in it: Beer is loaded with nutrients that soften your skin, and the hops can boost your circulation and relax your muscles, creating a super calming experience with suds.

That’s why beer spas have started to sprout up all over Europe. There’s the Beer Spa in Prague, for example, which lets you sit in a hot bubble bath filled with brewing ingredients like barley and yeast while sipping the finished product. Here in America, there’s Hop in the Spa in Sisters, Oregon, where you can soak in real brews from nearby Deschutes, including Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale.

It’s an ingenious concept, and a brewery in Austria has taken it one step further. According to Travel + Leisure, the 700-year-old Starkenberger brewery, which sits inside an ancient castle in Tarrenz, has turned seven old fermenting vats into swimming pools filled with beer. Because why go to the beach when you can float in a bock?

A two-hour swim in one of the 13-foot-deep pools will cost you a cool $258, but plenty of people flock to Starkenberger to do it every day, because as the brewery’s Andrea Stigger says in the video below, taking your shirt off with strangers to doggy paddle in beer is “a once-in-a-lifetime experience” that isn’t offered anywhere else in the world. We checked. She’s right.

We know what you’re thinking: Can you drink the beer? Technically, sure. You can drink any beer, provided it’s not laced with poison. And Starkenberger’s beer most certainly is not. But even though Stigger gives her O.K.—“If you like warm beer, you can help yourself,” she says in the video—you might not want to.

For starters, the pool beer is super bitter, but also, you don’t drink pool water after hundreds of people with varying levels of hygiene have sat (and probably peed) in it all day, right? So tempted as you might be to take a glug, you’re better off asking for a few fresh pints from the brewery to enjoy while taking a dip.