From Baths to Beers: Part Two | Superior Bathhouse Brewery

By now, most of us know about Superior Bathhouse Brewery in Hot Springs. It's the only brewery located in a national park. I spent a day at Superior this past spring photographing their brewing process as well as some beauty shots of selected beers and some of their more popular menu items.

The old, and historic, Superior bathhouse seemed like a logical place to have a brewery, after all bathhouses are built to handle large amounts of beer's main ingredient: hot water.

 Karen E. Segrave | KES Photo

Superior Bathhouse Brewery

The idea of re-purposing an old building as a brewery is not new. Retrofitting Superior posed special challenges since the bathhouse building itself is a National Historic Landmark.

The spring water that is brought into the building is already at 142 degrees, so less energy is needed to get it to 172 degrees which is ideal for brewing beer.

Superior is getting lots of national attention. In a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, spoke to owner Rose Schweikhart, "Very few springs are both hot and potable. We are the only brewery in the world utilizing thermal spring water in our beer. You will find many breweries with spring water and many breweries that use geothermal technology to heat water, but we are truly the only one who uses thermal spring water out of the ground directly into our processing vessels."

 Karen E. Segrave | KES Photo

Superior Bathhouse Brewery

There's a lot of downtime when it comes to brewing beer, which is something I learned during my photo shoot. In between the steps of the brewing process is when I photographed the beer beauty shots. You can see those in my other blog post.

Once the brewing process is complete, the spent grains are then scooped out and dumped into buckets. But what to do with it? Jay Lee, a local farmer and owner of JV Farms in Bismarck picks up the grains who then feeds it to his pigs. To the pigs, it's like eating candy. JV Farms processes their pork and several of their items can be found on the menu at Superior. I can attest to how good their bratwurst it.

More on that in another blog post coming next month....