Peace and Yeast
Is yeast the secret to enjoying great beer all night without blacking out or waking up feeling like you've been hit by a truck – generally getting too drunk?
This question seems to be on everyone’s radars recently and we here at The Beer Boutique are glad of it! Not only do we clearly appreciate the ability to drink all night without getting drunk – after all the heart of beer drinking should be enjoyment of flavour verses the need to become numb to the world – but the concept of yeast as the key is something we whole heartedly agree with; only in our own way.
Two influential sources in picking up this discussion are Aaron Goldfarb’s article for Esquire “How to drink all night without getting drunk” and NPR’s Eliza Barclay, Alastair Bland, and Michaeleen Douclef’s “Alcohol Test: Does eating yeast keep you from getting drunk” which support and disprove the theory respectively.
You can follow the links below to read the full articles but essentially Goldfarb writes about a discussion he had with Boston Beer’s Jim Koch who swears by swallowing standard dry yeast (mixed into yogurt) before drinking. He picked this up from Joe Owades a Biochemist who had worked in the fermentation sciences department at Fleischmann’s.
“What Owades knew was that active dry yeast has an enzyme in it called alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH). Roughly put, ADH is able to break alcohol molecules down into their constituent parts of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Which is the same thing that happens when your body metabolizes alcohol in its liver. Owades realized if you also have that enzyme in your stomach when the alcohol first hits it, the ADH will begin breaking it down before it gets into your bloodstream and, thus, your brain. ‘”And it will mitigate – not eliminate – but mitigate the effects of alcohol!’ Koch told me” (Goldfarb).
On the other hand NPR conducted an experiment using themselves as test subjects which, according to their data proved that drinking water between beers was more effective than eating yeast beforehand to reducing one BAC. (Read the full articles here: Esquire and NPR)
Both sources have legitimate claims to make regardless of not having truly complete tests 0 or any at all - and so do we.
The Beer Boutique Theory: Yeast is the key but forget eating it. Instead, drink Belgian beers!
Much of the distinct flavour and aroma within Belgian Beers comes from yeast whether through top, bottom, or spontaneous fermented (which is exposing the beer to Belgium’s airborne yeast – most commonly Brettanomyces Lambicus strain.
Theory: The Yeast within the beer has already had the opportunity to absorb plenty of glucose – as is the nature of beer – and thus is less likely to go straight for the sugars in ones stomach, instead, absorbing more alcohol.
The only true example we have of this working is our staff’s own experience with the limited effects of Belgian beer during a night of drinking. One specific event comes to mind during our beloved employee Paul’s goodbye party: those who finished the night with Belgian beers were back at work the next day and those who did not were entirely incapacitated. I won’t name any names.
That all being said here are our suggestions of great yeasty brews to keep you going all night.
- Bernardus Pater 6: A seasonably yeasty beer at 6.7%
- Lefebvre Hopus: Traditionally served with the yeast pour carefully as a shot on the side. (Check out this article on the art of serving.)
- Tripel Karmeliet: The favourite of many, the blonde that can be a lovely compliment to such a variety of food.
So whether you agree or disagree with any of the writings – including ours – we suggested adding Belgian beer to your usual selection because it’s a knock out that will not knock you out.
Peace and Yeast,
From all of us at The Beer Boutique.
(And much love from your writer, Cecilia.)