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In defense of real beer running

CATEGORIES: Beer Editor   Beer Runner  

Dr. Johannes Scherr doesn’t think I can down 1.5 liters of beer daily. Sounds like a challenge.

Flickr photo by afagen

That amount is about four 12 ounce bottles of beer. I usually try to limit myself to no more than three on a nightly basis, but depending on the beer this is certainly doable.

I know that’s not how I should interpret a study written about in the New York Times about non-alcoholic beer giving runners a boost. But I think it needs a control group for runners who like a little alcohol with their recovery drink.

The study — if you haven’t seen it — shows that marathoners who drink large amounts of non-alcoholic beer showed fewer signs of inflammation and illness. They became stronger and better at adapting to the stresses of running than those who received a placebo.

[Side question: What would a placebo that supposed to taste like non-alcoholic beer taste like?]

The study’s lead author Dr. Scherr  credits polyphenols for this action, but even he notes that beer with alcohol is “drenched” with the stuff and has more than it’s non-alcoholic counterparts.

However, he’s quick to brush off the concept of runner recovery with real beer, noting that “it is not possible to drink one to one and a half liters of alcoholic beer per day, especially not during strenuous training.”

Ooooooh really, doctor?

The concept of non-alcoholic beer for helping performance is not new, especially in Europe where this study was authored. But I think what we need now is a study that compares runners who drink beer and those who drink non-alcoholic beer. Any takers?

I have nothing against non-alcoholic beer. I just prefer that my beer would be… beer.

So far tonight I’ve had a bit more than a liter, between a bomber of Lagunitas Lucky 13 and Lakefront Fixed Gear. If I have to, I’ll make my own study.


Tim Cigelske is DRAFT's Beer Runner. (Beer Run•ner [noun]: Someone equally devoted to fine beer appreciation and an active, healthy lifestyle. Ex. "John downed four microbrews at the triathlon finish line. He's a total beer runner.”) Follow Tim on Twitter @TheBeerRunner, and email him at beerrunner [at] draftmag.com.


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