Cracking open a cold one is nothing new for athletes and runners after a big event. Sports teams often follow up a big game with an even bigger beer-filled celebration, and there are hundreds of "beer runs" across America with finish lines conveniently located at the local bar. A "beer run" might be the only thing better than a "pizza run" when it comes to exercise.
But beer, in all its carbonated, carb-loaded glory, is probably not the best thing for your body after a grueling bout of physical activity.
Until, that is, Dogfish Head Brewery created beer that doubles as an "active lifestyle" drink. SeaQuench Ale, first released in 2016, is out to solve everything about beer that's wrong for your body after a workout. Sam Calagione, founder of the brewery with brawn on the brain, says their goal is "to brew the most objectively thirst-quenching beer Dogfish Head has ever brewed." So after your run, or your lift, or your burst of 10 push-ups in an attempt impress your roommates, you can replenish and rehydrate with beer instead of something less awesome - like, say, water.
Dogfish Head is widely regarded as one of the very best craft breweries in America, and the beer itself is a blend of three German beer styles: Kölsch, Berliner Weisse, and Gose. The brewery then adds black lime for flavor, and sea salt - for electrolytes and, consequently, hydration. The result is the Gatorade of alcoholic beverages, with a total alcohol concentration of 4.9 percent. That's better than a Bud Light for your buzz.
Some say the brew is way too salty to be palatable. Others don't mind the taste. But the idea is simple: The salt is necessary for water retention and, therefore, post-workout recovery. There's a special balance of electrolytes and water to be sought after for optimal hydration.
Exercise physiologist and founder of the Gatorade Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Bob Murray, tried to find that balance. Murray helped to design the beer, testing and altering concentrations as necessary. He explained, "There will be a slight diuretic effect of the alcohol," he says, "but it can be countered by the presence of the extra minerals." The result of his careful alterations is a beer that claims to hydrate as much as possible.
Of course, drinking the beer during a workout is a terrible idea. Alcohol inhibits your reaction time, judgement, and motor control skills - all of which you kind of need to be able to lift heavy weights and do cardio without hurting yourself.
Additionally, the fact that the beer hydrates you doesn't make it a nutritious snack. After your gym session, you still need food to replenish your carb stores and provide your body with protein. But we think it sounds more fun to ignore the empty calories and just happily add "hydrating" to the list of health benefits a pint of beer has to offer.