Reasons to drink craft beer #3

A while ago, a friend claimed that he got completely different and more severe hangovers after drinking mass-produced beers (even in small quantities) compared with craft beers. This seemed like a potential urban myth to me. Given my scientific background, it was clear that I needed to devise an experiment to determine the existence and size of this effect. Putting my fear aside I bravely decided to be the human guinea pig in a series of precise beer drinking experiments. The results were astounding.

Over some months I sampled between one and six craft beers in an evening and noted the effect, if any, the following morning. In between ‘craft evenings’, I drank mass-produced beers (usually VB – old habits and all) and again noted the morning-after feelings. On a couple of occasions I even went so far as to drink too much VB or craft beer (there are those habits again).

I can say with some certainty that for me, the morning after is more unpleasant after drinking mass-produced beer. The effect ranges from minor if 1 or 2 drinks have been consumed to really quite nasty for 5 or more beers.

I understand that there are many other factors at play here – food consumed, water drunk, time frames, general mood, alignment of the planets, etc. – however I believe that the depth of my research is sufficient to say that craft beer is definitely less likely to produce unpleasant effects the next day.

Exactly why this is so will be the subject of a future study, however I suspect the answer lies in the additives in your average mass-produced beer. I am told these include foaming agents (propylene glycol alginate?) and chemicals to speed up the brewing process (betaglucanase?). As far as I know these are not used in a typical craft brew. The standard beer ingredients – water, barley, hops and yeast – and perhaps some fruit or even seafood are all the craft brewers use.

A reason to drink craft beer? Because it feels better the next day.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Wes on July 14, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Sounds like a very good reason to me 🙂


  2. The meaning of the term “craft beer”seems to vary from person to person. To some it implies a higher quality, to others a higher price, and for a few it has even come to denote hoppy beers. The Brewer’s Association of America defines ”craft brewers” as producers of all-malt beers, owned less than 25% by a non-craft alcoholic beverage industry member, and showing annual production of 6 million barrels or less. But “craft brewers” are so much more than any generalization or narrow definition. They are artisans making beer that is innovative and experimental but often refined and perfected, and their product is not designed out of a need for mass distribution, but rather from a desire to achieve a taste that the brewer and like-minded consumers can cherish.


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