| Wellness Beer
by Anna Boswell
Hello Bob -
I'm an active person who likes beer. One of my dream is that there
would be a beverage I could drink after a major workout — like a
marathon or a mountain biking expedition — that could replenish my
electrolytes, reduce inflammation and leave me less likely to get
sick. And I'm greedy. I'd want that product had fewer than 100
calories per serving and, unlike Gatorade, no sugar. And of course
the ultimate wish is that beverage would be called beer.
Well my dream might be true and I'd thought you and your readers
might be interested in what I found. It's something very new called
wellness beer. It's a type of craft beer that can be a tool for athletic
recovery, self-care and all-around physical optimization.
I life In the SF Bay Area and here we’re witnessing a proliferation of
beers geared toward a healthier lifestyle, with options that are also
friendly to the gluten-averse.
These wellness beers advertise additions of electrolytes, chia seeds,
potassium, even bee pollen. With little or no alcohol, many promise
the hangover-free aftermath of an O’Doul’s and the low calorie count
of a Michelob Ultra — but with the complexity of flavor we’ve come to
expect from top-quality craft.
Big Beer has taken notice of the success of homespun wellness
beer brands including Surreal Brewing in Campbell, Zelus Beer in
Massachusetts, Wellbeing Brewing in Missouri and Athletic Brewing
in Connecticut. Now, Boston’s Harpoon has launched Rec League, a
hazy pale ale with “a healthy dose of hops, sea salt, buckwheat and
chia,” according to its website, while Colorado’s Avery Brewing has
Go Play, an “activated IPA” with added sodium and potassium.
Heineken, PBR and Brooklyn Brewery all have new nonalcoholic
products. Even ABInBev, which makes O’Doul’s, has come out with a
new booze-free prototype: Budweiser Prohibition.
All of this alcohol removal, gluten reduction and electrolyte
enhancement can start to sound like lipstick on a pig. After all,
alcohol notwithstanding, isn’t beer just a bunch of simple carbs and
empty calories? Sure, you can make beer less bad for you — but
can beer ever really be good for you?
Actually, maybe, according to some online research I did. There’s
some scientific evidence to suggest that beer — as in, just regular
beer, not any of these newfangled wellness creations — has health
benefits, especially for athletes. Long story short, beer, which some
now are seriously touting as a sports beverage, has a modest
amount of polyphenols. I had to look that one up. Polyphenols are
compounds that occur naturally in plants and contain antioxidant
properties; beer naturally contains many polyphenols including
ferulic acid, quercetin and tyroso. I wasn't going to look all that up
but it's good stuff.
So it seems beer is a fine choice for polyphenol seekers, but Ifound
that it is not the only vehicle for polyphenol replenishment. In fact,
my research discovered one comestible that appears to be the
optimal source of sugar, potassium, fiber, vitamins and polyphenols.
It’s low in calories, free of gluten and alcohol-free. It’s a banana.
Hey, there are banana beers, Bob.
One last word - I love your column and appreciate the fact you let
we readers make a contribution. Cheers.
Thanks Anna for your informative and well written article. As someone
who enjoys exercise I read your it with great interest. You certainly did
a lot of research. I just might try one of the wellness beers you
Again, many thanks for sending your article.
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about anything
related to beer in any way just as Anna did. I select the best and
publish them here. So join in and get writing!
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