Beers are amazing after hard bike rides, long runs, and intense weight sessions. But the cold lager you drink as you shower off after an epic adventure probably isn’t a great muscle-recovery substance.
Enter homebrewer and weightlifter Blake Konrardy, who wondered one day after a workout, if he could build what he calls a “recovery beer.” See, most suds are crafted with low protein content by design. The brewing process removes naturally occurring proteins from the grains, since they can make the finished product cloudy. But protein is exactly what you need to build muscle after a hard workout. In September, after months of tinkering, Konrardy launched Supplemental Brewing, which bottles a protein enriched wheat beer and a light lager. Konrardy is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund his “get swoll” recipes. If all goes according to plan, he’ll be rolling out regional production by early next year. He’s calling it Brewtein.
Brewtein is a 178-calorie wheat lager with Amarillo and Strisselspalt hops that includes more than the natural proteins found in typical beer, which includes about one gram of protein on average. Konrardy adds whey protein during the brewing process, injecting a 12-ounce bottle of Brewtein with seven grams of protein. Brewtein’s clarity does suffer a bit, but he promises it’s not thick like a protein shake, saying, “You’ll never have to chew your beer.”
Konrardy is also offering a light option, called Nutribeer, which is finished with citrusy Cascade hops and has four grams of protein and only 122 calories. He says his beers are good enough for a craft beer enthusiast to enjoy, but that so far on Kickstarter his main backers have been the spandex wearing, protein-shake-cup toting, live-at-the-gym set.
Not everyone in the fitness community is convinced that protein beer is what you should be pounding after a hard gym session, either. Jeff Godin, a kinesiologist, certified sports nutritionist, and head of fitness education for Spartan Race, says he won’t be recommending beer as a recovery beverage anytime soon. “I’m pretty much thinking it’s a joke. It probably doesn’t have enough protein or carbohydrates to really give you what you need,” he says. Godin also has concerns about whether the alcohol could change or denature the whey protein. Plus, he says, “alcohol suppresses testosterone,” which is crucial for muscle synthesis.
“If I’m going to have a beer, I’m going to have a beer because it tastes good, not because it helps me recover,” says Godin.
But for the rest of us, at least there’s the option.