There’s a lot to love about beer, but if there’s one inarguable fact, it’s that beer doesn’t rate very highly in the “good-for-you” department. Unfortunately for beer, that’s a department a lot of people are starting to care about, from embracing wellness trends like hygge to substituting zucchini for pasta noodles to jumping on the probiotics train.
Some people might see this as a reason to chase their beer with sauerkraut, but a student from the National University of Singapore saw it as an opportunity to bring people the best of both worlds. Probiotic beer is the brainchild of fourth-year food science student Chan Mei Zhi Alcine, which redefines the term “craft beer” and is loaded with tons of good bacteria for a happy gut.
Of course, there’s a reason why Alcine is the first person to bring this to life: a yeasty, boozy environment isn’t the normal environment for probiotics. Kimchi? Yes. Kefir? Yes. Beer? Not so much. While probiotics are found in other fermented foods, the hop acids in beer inhibit their growth and survival.
After nine months of trial and error, Alcine found the solution: using the Lactobacillus paracasei (L26) strain as a probiotic microorganism. It eats the sugars in the unfermented beer – the beer is left unfiltered and unpasteurized during production – to create a sour lactic acid. The end result is a tart, sharp beer with an alcohol content of about 3.5 percent that takes about a month to brew.
The best news for health nuts? In every three ounces of the drink, there at at least 1 billion probiotics, the daily amount recommended by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. This particular strain is known to neutralize toxins and viruses, strengthen the immune system, and do wonders for your gastrointestinal system. L26 is also known to boost brain function and ward off dementia, although the exact health benefits of the beer have not yet been published.
It’s not known when the probiotic beer will make it to market, so if you’re really invested in getting your probiotic fix during a night out, best to mix your vodka with kombucha.
Now if only they’ll invent wine that doesn’t give you a hangover.