All About Beer Magazine - Volume 35, Issue 3
July 26, 2014 By Heather Vandenengel
Yoga Class at Holy City Brewing
A yoga class at Holy City Brewing in Charleston, SC. Photo courtesy Bendy Brewski by Dave Quick.

A beer tent at the finish line of a 5K is not an uncommon sight, but the latest fitness pairing—yoga and beer—is bringing the workout inside the brewery. Yoga instructors are partnering with breweries across the country, from Hoppy Yoga at San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Co. to OM Brew Yoga at Florida’s Funky Buddha Brewery, to practice poses between tanks and barrels and follow shavasana, the corpse pose, with a pint or a round of tasters.

An unlikely combination, perhaps, but the brewery and the promise of beer after class creates a vibe not found in the typical unsullied yoga studio, says Beth Cosi, founder of Bendy Brewski & Tapas Yoga in Charleston, SC.

At Charleston’s Holy City Brewing, where Cosi teaches classes from March to November, the brewery’s garage-style doors are rolled up so it’s an indoor/outdoor experience, susceptible to gravel, grass, dirt, leaves and rain blowing in. It’s noisy, with the whirr of the glycol chiller and redolent with a potpourri of hops, sweet malt and sweat.

“Sometimes it can get a little bit overwhelming,” says Cosi, who also teaches in a studio. “I’m sure there have been students who have come and tried it out and it’s just not their thing, especially if you’re used to the fancy, pristine cleanliness, all the props, the very controlled incense smell of a studio, which is beautiful, but it’s very different than that.”

Yoga instructors are bringing beer into the studio, too. Cosi also partners with a local yoga studio for a class and tasting called Ales and OMs, and Philadelphia beer writer Joe Sixpack, also known as Don Russell, and his wife, yoga teacher Theresa Conroy, host Happy Hour Yoga, a one-hour all-levels class followed by a beer tasting.

The nontraditional format and space attract a diverse crowd, says Cosi: Her classes are usually split 50/50 between men and women, with students ranging from ages 12 to 55 (beers are served only for the over-21 crowd, of course), clad in everything from Lululemon gear to Carhartts or swim trunks.

The beginner-oriented 45-minute Hatha and Yin style class is followed by four 4-oz samples. A drop-in class costs $15 with tasting included, or a $60 five-class card is available for classes at any of her locations, including Holy City, Freehouse Brewing, Frothy Beard Brewing and Highwire Distilling Co.

Classes also bring new customers into breweries. And in brewery-rich Denver, where Adrienne Rinaldi founded BrewAsanas, there is no shortage of breweries willing to sweep their floors and open their tasting rooms for class. BrewAsanas holds hourlong classes at Denver- and Boulder-area breweries including Jagged Mountain Brewery, Diebolt Brewing Co., Kokopelli Beer Co. and Crystal Springs Brewing Co. She also started a class of vinyasa flow and deeper yin poses, followed by a drink of the fizzy, fermented tea known as kombucha, at Denver’s Happy Leaf Kombucha.

Rinaldi, who is also author of the beer blog “The Beer Snob Chick,” says that after one recent class a student tried a porter and discovered a new favorite style.

“You’re trying something new—yoga in a brewery, right?—so I think people are open to trying new beers and different breweries,” she says.