A quick update on the Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery, a craft microbrewery and restaurant located on Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park. A tasting room on site is now open, along with a restaurant. The craft beer tasting room is located in the historic lobby of the bathhouse and there is a custom built beer tap with 18 taps. The restaurant offers eclectic pub fare and beer parings to put with different foods. The aim is to use as much local produce as possible in dishes.
The featured beer are varieties that are rare in Arkansas and ones that highlight regional breweries such as Lazy Magnolia located in Mississippi and Core Brewing in Springdale, Arkansas.
The Superior Bathhouse building had previously been vacant for 30 years after it closed its doors to bathers in 1983.
Due to the scope of the operation, the owners are opening the project in phases. According to Rose Cranson, president and distillatrix of the brewery, they will soon make their own brew on site using thermal spring water. Cranson said she hopes this part of the operation will be ready by early Fall. When it is, it will be the world’s first brewery or distillery to use thermal spring water as the main ingredient. It will also be the only brewery located inside a national park.
The National Park Service sends thermal water to the Superior in its hot state, at about 144 degrees. From that point plans are for the brewery to use their custom built brewing and distilling equipment, plus grains, hops, and yeast, to turn that water into craft beers, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages, including root beer and seltzer.
Overall, the Superior Bathhouse Brewery project has been a big task and it has taken two years to get both the project and construction (they had to have it approved by historical architects and even archeologists) completed. The first phase has been opened in an effort to introduce the public to the brewery.
So far the staff includes head chef Angela Nardi, Marque Haupert, who will be operating a gelato counter, Todd Cranson, who will be head brewer (Cranson is also the director of the Hot Springs Music Festival in town and is Rose’s husband) and general manager Jimm Powell.
To keep updated on the progress of the brewery, check out their website here.