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Superior Bathhouse Brewery Hot Springs, AR



Building Entrance


Superior Bathhouse Brewery

329 Central Avenue

Hot Springs, AR 71901

Phone 501 624-2337

www.superiorbathhouse.com









Our Brews Sampled and Favorites

Looking for something to do in Hot Springs, AR? We recently visited and taste tested craft beers at one of the Breweries in Hot Springs, AR. The brewery is named Superior Bathhouse Brewery.

SUPERIOR BATHHOUSE BREWERY IS HOME TO THE ONLY BREWERY IN A US NATIONAL PARK & THE ONLY BREWERY IN THE WORLD TO UTILIZE THERMAL SPRING WATER AS OUR MAIN INGREDIENT


On our visit to the Grand Canyon, my wife asked the hostess if the lodge we stayed in had a hot tub and the hostess answered, “Honey this is a National Park.” We interpreted her response to mean no adult hot tubs in any National Parks. But yes! There are hot tubs in Hot Springs National Park!

This park has adult beverages and good ones at that!

First thing to comment on is the high number of in-house brews they offer at all times. Some breweries may have 6-8, but Superior Bathhouse had 18 active taps and a good variety of styles. They also offer wine and hard ciders on the menu, but we did not sample any of the wines or ciders.

As you may know I prefer the darker style, and my wife leans toward the hazy IPA.

On our first visit, I ordered the Goat Rock Bock and my lovely bride ordered the Spaceforce Hazy IPA. Both beers were delicious. We don't know if the spring water makes that much of a difference or if it's the good Brewers but we are very satisfied with each of our selections. They were closed on Tuesday, so we went back Wednesday and sampled more beers. I sampled and bought a pint of the Killer Irish Red. My wife sampled the:

  • Bees Knees,

  • The Weekend Warrior

  • Seven Fiddy Double IPA.

Since we were there just around noon, my wife went with the Weekday Warrior as it is a little bit lighter, and we had a long drive home in front of us. My Killer Irish Red was good. but I think my favorite was the Goat Rock Bock.


Couple enjoying their beers

Beer menu


One additional thing that was unique is you can order what's called a beer bath. The beer bath is a sample of all 18 beers that they have on tap. They bring the beer bath out and it looks almost like a 3-foot-long board. I thought that was pretty interesting and it would be fun if you have a group of friends to share it with.


Beer Bath serving boards

The brewery offers beer to go and we regret that we did not take any beer to go.

Images here



Brewery Ambiance

The inside had plenty of seating and was pretty basic in terms of tables chairs. As I said earlier, it seemed like the number of families that were eating there indicated good food. What I really liked was the outside patio. My wife and both prefer the outside over inside on most days. There are probably a dozen to 15 picnic tables. Each table had an umbrella. There was nice sound system around the fenced in area and the music was enjoyable. Adjacent to Superior Bathhouse Brewery is an open field of green grass with tall trees which made for a peaceful relaxing place to enjoy our beverages. The patio is pet friendly! We happen to be there in the early afternoon on a weekday, but I imagine it gets crowded there during the weekends and when tourist season is happening.

The Superior Bathhouse is located on the Bathhouse Row in the Hot Springs National Park and there is also a National Park Visitor Center on the Bathhouse Row.





Food

Superior Bathhouse has two different menus for food. One for inside and one for outside. The outside menu had less selections with appetizers like pretzels. They also have hot dogs outside Friday to Sunday, which is fitting since the outside Beer Park is dog friendly. Inside they have a more robust menu and dogs are welcomed inside as well. The menu includes appetizers, salads, sandwiches, a few entrees, and burgers. There were more people eating inside than just drinking or drinking outside. My wife sampled the inside food menu on a previous trip and was impressed with the variety and selections. She ordered the sweet potato salad, and it was large enough to split with her friend and all the ingredients were very fresh.

Images here


Merchandise

The Brewery had a great selection and variety of good quality. They had six or seven different design T-shirts. Many of the designs were around the bathhouse and the business itself and not just a particular brewed beer shirt. My favorite shirt was the one simply showing the historic building across the front. When my wife visited on an earlier trip, they had some older styles on clearance. They also offered flight and pint glasses, growlers, and several variety of stickers.















Brewery Owner Interview


AMAH: Jonathan, you're a brewer?

SB: Yes

AMAH: How many brewers are here?

SB: There's only two. Jim is the head Brewer, brewmaster he's one that came up with most of the recipes. They've been here just under nine years. He is not an owner. Rose is the owner. She had the vision with the thermal spring water being here, she felt like there wasn't any craft beer in the city of Hot Springs and why not utilize the thermal spring water. It saves energy because you don't have to heat it up as much as it comes out and rounded 144 degrees, really high bicarbonate there's barely any chlorine so that's really good and high in magnesium.

AMAH: I was going ask you if you had to do any reverse osmosis or anything like that.

SB: No just using and just we just treat it with the lactic acid drop page about 5.1 to 5.2 in that range that's perfect for brewing beer so doesn't have as much as much detergency strange and things of that nature. It's just me and Jim and we account for 50% of the profit in the company.

AMAH: Very nice, so how did you how Rose was able to convince the US government to setup a brewery on their land?

SB: Well that was through the interior department or department of interior. She had to go through a couple rounds of talks to secure the building and getting the approval of the federal government for brewing beer here. I don't know the exact process that fell within here that's more of a question for her she's busy doing stuff right now. But yeah she she got it all approved and she's been here we've been brewing I think officially for over five years because at first was just like guest taps at first and Jim finally started brewing their own beer once I got the brew house in here.

AMAH: How long have you been brewing with them

SB: I have been here just over a here and a half I believe my anniversary is in October so I'll be here two years. I started brewing beer at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in California. I was there for just under five years and there was a great this place called Santa Maria brewing in California as well and then after the pandemic hit it was one of those things where I was like I need to get out of California due to a lot of taxes.

AMAH: You mentioned the pandemic yes how did that affect your business here?

SB: We actually had it when I got hired here when they were doing like to go orders you know curbside pickups I think they did have a thing where they delivered some beer growlers mainly like root beer and things of that nature to people. But we had an increase in sales and so in the end of 2021 I want say they had already surpassed their 2019 numbers in 2019 there's already entire year so craft beer has been picking up on the you know alcohol sales were through the roof and below I think it was up like 120% during the year 2020 and 2021

AMAH: Well that is good news. How many people do you guys employ here?

SB: I would say let's see we got like 15 upstairs and 15 downstairs I would say right around 30 to 35 employees - pretty good size operation, We've got a pretty solid crew.

AMAH: Most breweries have Not For Profit organizations that they work with. You guys work with anybody?

SB: Yes we do! There's the northwest trail that mountain biking and hiking and stuff that's just over this way we supplied beer for their events called a gudrun is like the most popular biking event. We supplied beer for their mullet run and little bike thing. We just come out and have fun at the event. Oh, also the there's music festivals out there I believe it's called Valley of the Vapors and we also supplied beer to those events. So anything that goes on in like the Northwoods trail we’ll set up shop tap for anyone who wants to have an ice cold beer on a hot day after a bike race or if they're enjoying some live music and food you know get yourself some beers. We did do a promotional beer with mountain valley water last summer for the film festival that we had here. That was in certain locations like of the Central Theater over here in the Arlington. So we brewed beer with their water which was quite the event because we had to haul we had taken a bunch of grundy's and corny kegs or take it all the way out to their plant and then have them fill out like you know 800 gallons worth of water so we could brew beer with their water and we were like pumping it indoor HLT to heat it up and that was a really fun event really fun event.

We've also done things with the National Park where we brew with the green pants. We call then that because they always wear green pants. We've collaborated with them to do like a Green Pants Lager. This year I'm thinking the next couple of weeks we're going be brewing a duncle with the National Park Service and this time they actually want to mill the grain, come in and mashing and then do the board off and sparge and boil the Gray now they want to do the process from beginning to end so that's going be a pretty fun event good. Yeah we’re really excited for that alright.



About the Authors

When I first started dating my wife, we enjoyed popular domestic beers. I am sure visiting a craft brewery was her idea. Our taste buds rejoiced as we sampled the various brews. It did not take long before our tastes diverted – the darker ambers, reds, porters, and stouts for me, IPA, Hazy IPA, and pilsners for her.

When we retired, we decided to visit as many of our National Parks across this country. It seemed a natural fit to visit breweries in the many cities we travel through as we drive to the parks.

We currently reside in Fort Worth, Texas. Texas has about 300 micro-breweries, and the Metroplex has over 80. Which means we have a whole lot of day trips ahead of us to visit our local breweries.


Cathy and Frank at an Oktoberfest









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