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How to drink beer and not get drunk

Most weeks, when I sit down to write the weekly beer post, I usually pour myself a beer or other drink to enjoy while writing. While this is good, I try not to have more than one drink while writing or I may start feeling the effects of the alcohol – especially if I drink hard liquor. As you likely know, if you drink liquor of any kind, you will eventually start to feel drunk. To many, this is inevitable and while it can be fun, there are times when you want to have a drink and not get too drunk.

Interestingly enough, there has been a number of articles circulating various news channels over the past month or so regarding a famous brewer and his secret about not getting drunk. That brewer is Jim Koch, Co-Founder of the Boston Brewing Company. Boston Brewing is one of the most well known to breweries and also one of the main breweries responsible for bringing the craft beer industry into the limelight in the US.

Boston Brewing creates a wide variety of popular craft brews, and is now one of the largest brewers in the US, aside from the major ones like Coors and Budweiser of course. Because of this, Mr Koch is almost always trying new beers or out and about drinking at various meet and greets. You would think that the man would be drunk 24/7, but as we said above, he has a secret.

What’s the secret to not getting drunk?

According to a couple of interviews that Mr Koch has done, the key to being able to drink beer without getting drunk is actually quite simple. He eats active dry yeast before drinking. Active dry yeast is an important ingredient in baking, and can actually be bought at almost any grocery store in the US, Canada and Europe. In fact, it can even be found here in many of the larger stores in Thailand.

What Mr. Koch does is mix one teaspoon of active dry yeast with yogurt for each beer he is going to drink just before he starts drinking. By doing this, he is able to mitigate the effects of the alcohol.

Does it work?

It may seem a bit odd to ingest a bunch of yeast before drinking, but active dry yeast has an enzyme called ADH or alcohol dehydrogenases. ADH is capable of breaking alcohol molecules down into their base forms – Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. This is the same thing that happens when your liver breaks down, or metabolizes alcohol.

Because of the ADH in the active dry yeast, scientists and brewers figured that if it is in your stomach when the alcohol reaches it, there is a good chance that it will be broken down before it reaches your blood stream. Why this is important is because when alcohol hits the bloodstream, the molecules are transported to the brain which leads to you feeling drunk.

While this works in theory, there are mixed results as to whether this works or not. From what we have been able to see online, the answers are mixed. If you are binge drinking – as in sitting down with a six pack of beer and drinking them one after the other – and eat the yeast ahead of time, most people have found that the yeast doesn’t really help at all.

On the other hand, those who ate the yeast and then spread the drinks out over a longer period noticed that they did indeed feel less drunk, and felt generally less hung over the next day. So this indicates it may actually help at least a little bit.

The problem many people may have with this is actually eating the yeast, largely because it does not have the best taste. Also, the yeast may cause a bit of stomach rumbling, or more, so you may want to be near a bathroom just incase.

Is it useful?

This trick could be useful in some situations, for example if you are going to a beer tasting or event and want to be able to try beer without getting too drunk. Generally however, you should be aware that while eating the yeast may in fact reduce the effects of being drunk, it will not make you less drunk. So, don’t even think about driving after a few beers because you “feel ok”, there is a good chance that you are still drunk, just not feeling the effects.

We are curious about whether you think eating yeast can help reduce how drunk you feel? Let us know.

Wish of the week

Rogue Roguenbier Rye Ale

Oregon brewer Rogue is known for constantly pushing boundaries when it comes to craft beer. The brewery has their own farm and works with other local farms in the area to grow some of their ingredients. The first thing Rogue grew is rye, a popular grain. Personally, I am a big fan of Rye Whisky and was curious to try this one, especially because beers made with Rye are quite rare. This is an interesting beer, slightly sweet with some fruity flavors. If you are looking for something different, give this a try!

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