Spots to stretch, then sip

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - South Broward - - SPOTLIGHT - By Phillip Valys

On week­end morn­ings at Salt­Wa­ter Brew­ery in Del­ray Beach, it’s not un­com­mon to hear the sound of yoga chants min­gle with the clink of beer glasses.

It’s the new­est beer pair­ing in South Florida: Peo­ple are hop­ping from down­ward dog to tap­room barstools at lo­cal brew­eries, where the ex­er­cise-minded can un­wind with bend­ing and then un­wind again with craft brews.

“I call it go­ing from detox to re-tox,” says yoga in­struc­tor Alexis King, who teaches Bend at the Brew­ery on Satur­days and Sun­days in­side Salt­Wa­ter Brew­ery’s beer hall. The $15 class, held be­fore the brew­ery opens for busi­ness, buys vis­i­tors a one-hour ses­sion fol­lowed by four flights ( or 4-ounce pours) of beer.

As with Salt­Wa­ter, Twisted Trunk Brew­ery in Palm Beach Gar­dens, Con­crete Beach Brew­ery in Wyn­wood and Mi­ami Brew­ing Com­pany in Homestead are serv­ing up Na­maste with pints of beer. The beer-meets-yoga vibe, in­struc­tors and brew­ery own­ers say, has drawn more women to tap­rooms and more men to yoga, lured by a com­mu­nion of fit peo­ple who en­joy re­lax­ing, ex­er­cis­ing and — per­haps most im­por­tant — re­ward­ing that stretch­ing with stouts and ales.

“It’s a great op­por­tu­nity to teach yoga to peo­ple who might be in­tim­i­dated about yoga and yoga stu­dios. What’s more com­fort­able than a brew­ery?” asks King, of Del­ray Beach, adding that “75 to 80 per­cent” of her brew­ery yoga stu­dents are first- timers. “Plus, there’s a lot of fe­males here, so why wouldn’t a guy want to come?”

On a re­cent Sun­day morn­ing, rows of mul­ti­col­ored yoga mats cov­ered this Salt­wa­ter’s ter­razzo floors in­stead of the usual oak ta­bles and barstools. As the brew- Bend at the Brew­ery runs 10-11 a.m. Satur­days and Sun­days at Salt­Wa­ter Brew­ery, 1701 W. At­lantic Ave., in Del­ray Beach. Cost is $15. Call 561-865-5373 or go to Salt­Wa­terBrew­ Om Brew Yoga be­gins 10:45 a.m. Satur­days at Mi­ami Brew­ing Com­pany, 30205 SW 217th Ave., in Homestead. Cost is $15. Call 305-242-1224 or go to Mi­amiBrew­ingCom­ Detox Yoga be­gins 11 a.m. Sun­days at Twisted Trunk Brew­ing, 2000 PGA Blvd., in Palm Beach Gar­dens. Cost is $18. Call 561-671-2337 or go to Twist­edTrunk­Brew­ Na’Ima Stay and Have a Pint runs 6-7 p.m. Wed­nes­days at Con­crete Beach Brew­ery, 339 NW 24th St., in Mi­ami. Cost is $15. Call 305-796-2727 or go to Con­crete­Beach­Brew­ ery’s walls rat­tled from the TriRail rolling past, King strolled among the yoga mats, de­liv­er­ing in­struc­tions to the bare­foot 15 women and six men who flexed their arms and thighs on the floor.

“Keep your ster­num close to the mat as you swoop into upwardfacing dog,” King, 32, told her class, as she moved them from sun salu­ta­tions to war­rior poses.

Andy Szi­raki, who has been at­tend­ing King’s classes for nearly a year, says Salt­Wa­ter’s “chill,” ca­sual set­ting cuts across gen­der and breaks down stereo­types that yoga is “dom­i­nated by women.”

“I call it ‘broga.’ It’s when bros go to yoga,” says Szi­raki, 31, of Del­ray Beach, in be­tween post-work­out sips of Ac­com­plice Straw­berry Cider from a snifter glass. “When I talk to the bud­dies about yoga, I’m like, ‘It’s in a brew­ery, though.’ That helps. You get up in a morn­ing to do some phys­i­cal and stay ath­letic.”

Chris Gove, the pres­i­dent of Salt­Wa­ter Brew­ery, says yoga in the brew­ery not only “mim­ics” a fit­ness trend born in Cal­i­for­nia and Wash­ing­ton’s craft- beer scenes, but has the bonus of con­vert­ing yoga stu­dents into reg­u­lar cus­tomers.

“The South Florida life­style is all about healthy liv­ing, and beer and yoga bal­ance each other out well,” Gove says. “It all about the re­lax­ation they bring.”

At Mi­ami Brew­ing Com­pany in Homestead, She­lah Davis’ Om Brew Yoga has been go­ing strong on Satur­day morn­ings. Her class, which also costs $15 and av­er­ages about 40 peo­ple per ses­sion, mi­grated here two years ago from Funky Bud­dha Brew­ery in Oak­land Park to teach closer to home. Davis’ classes of­ten at­tract “peo­ple with a bit more fluff to their bods” and beer en­thu­si­asts try­ing yoga for the first time.

“We get a lot of men com­ing into the brew­ery,” Davis says. “Their girl­friends and sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers are just say­ing, ‘I can get him to try yoga and I’ll bribe him with beer.’ ”

First-timers al­ways ask the in­evitable ques­tion: Why prac­tice healthy yoga when beer packs on calo­ries?

“It does sound like they con­tra­dict each other, but hav­ing beer once in a while won’t hurt any­one,” Davis says. “They’re def­i­nitely a log­i­cal pair­ing, plus it’s fun.”

Back at Salt­Wa­ter, Del­ray Beach cou­ple Christie Bellino, 29, and Eric Ham­mer, 31, mop sweat from their brows while rolling up their yoga mats. Lured to yoga by his fi­ancée with the prom­ise of free beer, Ham­mer says he’s grown to en­joy the morn­ing rou­tine.

“[Christie] was like, ‘This is some­thing we can do to­gether,’ ” Ham­mer says. “For me, a brew­ery is more com­fort­able, a dif­fer­ent en­ergy from a yoga stu­dio. It’s neu­tral ter­ri­tory, and you can get a beer after­ward.”


Stu­dents prac­tice yoga at Mi­ami Brew­ing Com­pany in Homestead. The ses­sions, taught by in­struc­tor She­lah Davis, run Satur­day morn­ings.

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