"If you're going to live in the real world, you can either spend your time telling people what they shouldn't do, or you can work on ways of reducing the danger of some of these socialized activities."
Says Associate professor Ben Desbrow from Griffith Health Institute's Centre for Health Practice Innovation. He has been looking for a way to add to beer's list of health benefits (a longer list for Lambics) by combing electrolytes (the stuff commonly found in sports drinks) to improve hydration. And he is ready to share his findings:
Working exclusively with commercial (as opposed to 'craft') beers, the Australian researchers tested sweaty post work out volunteers with two electrolyte enhanced beers and two non enhanced beers: one low alcohol beer (2.3% abv)[aka LightBeer], one of the same low alcohol LightBeers but with added electrolytes [aka LightBeer+25], one full strength beer (4.8% abv)[aka Beer] and one intensified Beer [Beer+25]. Then, using several measures to monitor the participant's fluid recovery, came to the following conclusion:
A low alcohol beer with added sodium offers a potential compromise between a beverage with high social acceptance and one which avoids the exacerbated fluid losses observed when consuming full strength beer. (see here for official test perimeters and source)
“Of the four different beers the subjects consumed, our augmented light beer was by far the most well retained by the body, meaning it was the most effective at rehydrating the subjects."
Hydrating Beer is for the macro swillers
At this stage in the frankenstein sports beer or 'working man's beer' development, there is no need for a beer geek to get excited.
As stated in the opening quote, Prof. Desbrow himself is aiming to change the habits of dangerous drinkers instead of wasting breath by lecturing them. Most modern beer culture friends are not the planking type.
And, although the hydrating beer's sodium additive will enable college fraternities and underage drinkers to limit the dreaded hang-over it won't be as effective when coupled with your 10% abv AleSmith Wee Heavy. With little to no effect on the flavor of light commercial lagers, the sodium added to create the new super beer is likely to show up on the beer reviewer's palate.
Time will tell where this creation will lead, but more likely than not- big beer companies will be able to pick up the research and marketing bills required to get the new 'sports beer' in the hands of us commoners.