Friday, March 20, 2015

Brewery in a national park: Talk about the ultimate in local and sustainable marketing tie-ins.

Immediately I am transported to Karlovy Vary, late 1980s and early 1990s, and frequent meals of wafers, Pilsner Urquell and Becherovka.

My national park "collecting" phase came around the age of 11 or 12 -- say, 1972. I became obsessed not so much with America's national parks as natural preserves, as with the federal government's way (at the time) of promoting them.

Specifically, the US government printing office produced little two-sided foldout pamphlets, perhaps 3" by 5", and I wanted them all. When we'd visit a national park on vacation (my father's dreams were fulfilled by "going West"), I'd grab the pamphlets and explore the visitor's center.

Back home, there were letters to the park headquarters at the federal units we'd never reach, asking them to send information, and those pamphlets. No backcountry hikes for this boy.

A bizarre childhood fetish? Maybe, though in retrospect, it testifies to my literary and historical bents. My dad was the outdoorsman, not me. More than four decades later, the fact that the country's most atypical National Park unit has its own brewery has me excited all over again.

When do we road trip to Arkansas?

A Park with a Brew: Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery, by Leslie Fisher (All About Beer Magazine)

On a breezy Saturday afternoon, a row of faces peers through the oversized windows of the Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery—looking out on the magnolia trees and the passersby as they stroll along “Bathhouse Row” in Hot Springs National Park, AR. It’s a familiar scene in Hot Springs’ history and, yet, a completely new one—for the National Park System and, perhaps, the world.

Housed in a historic bathhouse, the Superior is the nation’s first brewery headquartered in a national park, and owner/brewer Rose Schweikhart believes it is the only brewery to use thermal spring water as its main ingredient.

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