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Sorry, Hangover-Free Beer Isn’t Real

If it sounds too good to be true, it definitely is

Beer Alan Levine/Flickr

Hangovers suck, and all the related calling in sick or totally-phoning-it-in-at-work days cost the U.S. economy an estimated $77 billion annually. Being able to rid ourselves of the unpleasant after-effects of a night of heavy drinking would not only be a triumph for the human spirit, but also for our nation’s GDP — so naturally, a Dutch brewer’s announcement that he’d created a “hangover-free beer” has been met with plenty of excitement.

Beer maker Thomas Gesink of Amsterdam’s De Prael brewery “says that he’s cracked the code for brewing beer which gets people drunk but doesn’t leave them cowering in a dark corner the next morning,” the Metro reports. (Cue the celebratory headlines, such as “Hangover-free beer is here. Rejoice!”)

Gesink is keeping most of the recipe a secret, but has revealed what he says are the beer’s “hangover-busting” ingredients: sea salt (to prevent dehydration), ginger (commonly used to treat nausea), willow fibers (said to have a “cleansing effect”), and vitamin B12. Even Gesink admits that his concoction isn’t fool-proof, and drinkers who go overboard will still feel bad the next day, but per the Metro he insists that “four or five beers will leave you feeling fresh in the morning.”

In reality, that probably depends more on your personal level of alcohol tolerance: “This is of course a marketing trick,” says Dr. Joris Verster, an associate professor at the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Netherlands and the head of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group. “There is no scientific evidence that any of the ingredients prevents or reduces alcohol hangover.”

According to Verster, “The only beer that successfully prevents hangovers is already available in all stores: alcohol-free beer.”

If sipping O’Doul’s all night isn’t your idea of a good time, perhaps take Anthony Bourdain’s advice instead and combat the morning-after with a joint, a cold Coca-Cola, and a bowl of spicy noodles.

Attention: Someone Claims to Have Finally Made Hangover-Free Beer [Metro]
The Science of Hangovers [E]
More Beer Coverage [E]