Monday, June 13, 2011

Gordon Strong - Drinking and Staying Alive

I just finished reading Brewing Better Beer, by Gordon Strong, the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) President, and found the book enjoyable and informative.  Gordon takes a very conversational tone in explaining his beliefs and recommendations on how homebrewers can improve their craft, while maintaining their interest in this great hobby.  The books presents information on mastering techniques, equipment, ingredients, developing recipes, and other topics.  Gordon also concludes each chapter by outlining his actual brewing processes and procedures, which I found very enlightening.  I would definitely recommend Brewing Better Beer to all of our readers.

Gordon concludes the book with some very helpful tips, especially given that the American Homebrewing Association (AHA) conducts the National Homebrewers Conference this weekend in San Diego.  Gordon presents the following recommendations to help enjoy events that feature a lot of beer, so that you can enjoy yourself and not end up with a hangover.  I am quoting Gordon's notes directly below and hope that they prove helpful.



"Water.  Stay hydrated.  Have some water before you drink, alternate water with beer while you drink, and have two glasses of water when you're finished drinking.  Most ill effects of alcohol have to do with you being dehydrated, and your liver needs water to help break down the alcohol

Propel.  A sports drink or "vitamin-enhanced water beverage."  OK, this one may sound a little silly but it works.  It contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and water, all of which are good for you when drinking.  I get the powder so I can mix it to taste; sometimes it's a little sweet, but it seems to work well for avoiding hangovers.  Have one before you go to bed, and one when you wake up.

Vitamin B complex.  I take one multivitamin, normally labeled as a super or mega vitamin B tablet, that contains 1000 percent RDA of multiple B vitamins.  This is liver insurance, since B vitamins will get depleted when your liver is working hard.

Ibuprofen.  A pain reliever that works much better than acetaminophen (Tylenol) when drinking.  Tylenol can beat up your liver, which you don't need.  It also breaks down into chemicals that can aggravate a hangover.  Ibuprofen beats up the kidneys, so don't take high dosages for long.  This can help you avoid a headache; take at bedtime or when you get a headache.

Acid reducer.  I use Pepcid AC or the generic equivalent.  This turns off acid production in your stomach for 12 hours and can help prevent waking up with acid reflux or a sour stomach.  When I drink a lot of strong, highly hopped, or sour beers, this is an absolute must.  It doesn't help if you already have an upset stomach, so take it before drinking.  I used to use Pepto-Bismol as a preventative stomach-coater, but this works better.

Food.  The Belgians have it right; they always have food with their beer.  Food can slow the rate of absorption of alcohol, especially proteins and fats (a steak works great).  Food can also help you pace your consumption and provide some nutrients your body needs."

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