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Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Erin Leydon
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

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Inside Vettä Nordic Spa, an indoor-outdoor Finnish pleasure palace in Oro-Medonte

For the uninitiated (a.k.a. everyone), a beer spa combines outdoor massages and saunas with copious quantities of suds. Although there’s no opportunity to bathe in beer like the Czechs do—thanks, health department—the on-site brewery (Clear Lake Brewing Co.) has plenty to sip on. Think of the place as a Scandinavian spa, plus a healthy dose of revelry, minus the shushing. Even the dunk bucket is a spectacle: it’s suspended nearly six metres above the ground, contains 35 litres of cold water, and shoots your endorphins through the roof on contact. (Don’t worry, you can quickly regain your zen with a pint or a stint in a hot tub.) If you’ve had your fill of ales for the day, there’s plenty to do around the area too: the site is just eight kilometres from Torrance Barrens, an internationally renowned dark-sky preserve with exceptional starscapes. Here’s a look inside the spa.

 


The 12-acre property welcomes day guests, but if you’re going to indulge, it’s best to crash on-site.

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

There are 13 rustic cabins, all with in-room draught taps.

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

There’s a 6,000-title VHS collection of Blockbuster calibre—in both size and vintage. Some are notable (Shawshank Redemption, Lawrence of Arabia, The Wedding Singer), others are not (Juggernaut, Good Burger).

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

The sprawling sylvan grounds make up for the lo-fi accommodations.

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

The surrounding forest—a swath of coastal plain flora—is populated by pine, birch and hemlock.

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Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Overnighters get special perks, including access to Clear Lake beach.

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

There are two outdoor massage cabanas and a half-dozen firepits scattered around the property, so even those without a private hearth can curl up by a fire and relax.

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Here’s the outdoor pool area.

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

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Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

With a bar not too far away.

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Spa amenities include two hot tubs (at 38 and 40 degrees), a steam room and an infrared sauna.

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

There are gendered locker rooms.

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

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Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Soak your feet in a keg and enjoy a gratis hop-infused pedicure while kicking back in a Muskoka chair and hoisting a pint ($9).

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Clear Lake Brewery’s honey cream ale is made with seasonal honey from a local beekeeper ($8).

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Guests can pick up a six-pack to go.

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Here’s the brewery and storefront:

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Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country
Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

Inside Muskoka Beer Spa, a hop lovers’ utopia in cottage country

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