Step aside, chocolate milk.
Get out of the way, Gatorade!
Buzz off, protein shake.
This is a job for BEER.
While we don't condone overconsumption, when drank in moderation beer can be the perfect post workout treat. In a 2011 German study* (come on, Germans know their beer) it was stated that the polyphenols in beer can reduce inflammation and be beneficial for the immune system of those who participate in prolonged exercise. Like...I don't know...a long run? An eight hour bike ride? Yes, please.
Beer contains water, carbs and electrolytes. Which most athletes know are essential for post workout recovery. Beer is also mostly plant based, made of grains and sometimes hops which supply a range of naturally occurring nutrients that sports drinks just don't have. According to this article* from LiveStrong.com, it provides a plethora of B-vitamins such as folate, niacin, riboflavin, B6 and B12. The key words here, however, are "in moderation". This is because while beer does have all of these things, it still contains alcohol. Be aware of the ABV content in the beverage you consume and remember to drink some water, too.
There is another reason beer is served at the finish line of so many races. Doesn't it feel amazing to clink glasses (or plastic cups) with your peers? After all, you worked hard to get where you are and that is always worth celebrating.
Check out our favorite post race pints below!
A Belgian Style ale that's very pale and cloudy in appearance due to it being unfiltered and the high level of wheat, and sometimes oats, that's used in the mash. Always spiced, generally with coriander, orange peel and other oddball spices or herbs in the back ground. The crispness and slight twang comes from the wheat and the lively level of carbonation.*
E.g.: Philadelphia Brewing Company Walt Wit (4.2% ABV), Blue Moon Belgian White (5.4% ABV), Allagash White (5.1% ABV)
AMERICAN BROWN ALE
Spawned from the English Brown Ale, the American version can simply use American ingredients. Many other versions may have additions of coffee or nuts. This style also encompasses "Dark Ales". The bitterness and hop flavor has a wide range and the alcohol is not limited to the average either.*
E.g.: Smuttynose Old Brown Dog (6.7% ABV), French Toast Double Brown Ale (8.8% ABV), Hazelnut Brown Nectar (6.2% ABV)
Light bodied, pale, fizzy lagers made popular by the large macro-breweries (large breweries) of America after prohibition. Low bitterness, thin malts and moderate alcohol.*
E.g.: Session Lager (5.1% ABV), Corona (4.6% ABV), Totally Naked (4.25% ABV)
A south German style of wheat beer (weissbier) made with a typical ratio of 50:50, or even higher, wheat. A yeast that produces a unique phenolic flavors of banana and cloves with an often dry and tart edge, some spiciness, bubblegum or notes of apples. Little hop bitterness, and a moderate level of alcohol. The "Hefe" prefix means "with yeast", hence the beers unfiltered and cloudy appearance. Poured into a traditional Weizen glass, the Hefeweizen can be one sexy looking beer.*
E.g.: Sly Fox Royal Weisse (5.4% ABV), Yuengling Summer Wheat (4.6% ABV), Widmer Hefeweizen (4.9% ABV)
The Czech Pilsner, or sometimes known as the Bohemian Pilsner, is light straw to golden color and crystal clear. Hops are very prevalent usually with a spicy bitterness and or a spicy floral flavor and aroma, notably one of the defining characteristics of the Saaz hop. Smooth and crisp with a clean malty palate, many are grassy. Some of the originals will show some archaic yeast characteristics similar to very mild buttery or fusel (rose like alcohol) flavors and aromas.*
E.g.: Wiseacre Brewing Tiny Bomb (4.5% ABV), Samuel Adams Noble Pils (4.9% ABV), Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager (5% ABV)
The American IPA is a different soul from the reincarnated IPA style. More flavorful than the withering English IPA, color can range from very pale golden to reddish amber. Hops are typically American with a big herbal and / or citric character, bitterness is high as well. Moderate to medium bodied with a balancing malt backbone.*
E.g.: Founders All Day IPA (4.7% ABV), Hop Hunter (6.2% ABV), Flower Power India Pale Ale (7.5% ABV)
Take an India Pale Ale and feed it steroids, ergo the term Double IPA. Although open to the same interpretation as its sister styles, you should expect something robust, malty, alcoholic and with a hop profile that might rip your tongue out. The Imperial usage comes from Russian Imperial stout, a style of strong stout originally brewed in England for the Russian Imperial Court of the late 1700s; though Double IPA is often the preferred name.*
E.g.: Bell's Hopslam (10% ABV), Mammoth Brewing's IPA 395 (8% ABV), 90 Minute IPA (9% ABV)
A generic form of flavored beer, some breweries actually use real fruit or veggies, though most use an extract, syrup or processed flavor to give the effect of a particular fruit or vegetable. Usually ales, but with not much ale character to them and commonly unbalanced. Malt flavor is typically hidden with a low hop bitterness to allow the fruit or vegetable to dominate.*
E.g.: Stiegl Radler Grapefruit (2.5% ABV), Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat (5.3% ABV), Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy (4.2% ABV)
EURO PALE LAGER
Similar to the Munich Helles story, many European countries reacted to the popularity of early pale lagers by brewing their own. Hop flavor is significant and of noble varieties, bitterness is moderate, and both are backed by a solid malt body and sweetish notes from an all-malt base.*
E.g.: Stella Artois (5% ABV), Lucky Buddha Enlightened Beer (4.8% ABV), San Miguel Especial (5.4% ABV)
Cheers! Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Written by Ashley Pettigrew
Follow Ashley on Instagram @ashley.trisirena
The following sources were utilized in this article.
* Duvauchelle, Joshua. "List of Vitamins in Beer". Livestrong.com. May 5, 2015.
* Poon, Linda. "Beer as a Post-Workout Recovery Drink? Not as Crazy as It Sounds". npr.com. March 5, 2014.
* Scherr J, Nieman DC, Schuster T, Habermann J, Rank M, Braun S, Pressler A, Wolfarth B, Halle M. "Nonalcoholic beer reduces inflammation and incidence of respiratory tract illness". PubMed.gov. January 2012.
* BeerAdvocate. beeradvocate.com/beer/style.