Anyone who has climbed a mountain, run a race, or generally done a lot of exercise will tell you… sometimes you get sick of sports drinks.
After a long 26.2 full of unnatural flavors like “fierce” or “glacier” you just can’t stomach another sugary drink. So what then do you reach for to celebrate a day’s worth of training?
Friends, the answer might be beer.
A new trend in craft beer focuses on “wellness beers.” Brewers like Zēlus, Athletic, and Sufferfest are hoping the industry shift toward lower alcohol craft beers will lead folks to reach for a wellness beer as part of their workout.
“It’s so ingrained in our community to finish a workout with a commemorative pint, so I thought, ‘If I’m going to have one at the end of the race, I may as well have one that’s delicious and complements my needs as an athlete,’” Caitlin Landesberg, CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, told Bon Appétit earlier this year.
Wellness beers have made enough of an impact that major craft brewers like Harpoon, Boulevard, and Avery are all taking notice as well. Any brewery with its malts is probably already brewing sessionable beers anyway so why not add some potassium and salt in there anyway?
As with all alcohol-related trends, the name of the game is still temperance. In their coverage of wellness beers, Vinepair cited a nutritionist who implores active people to stick to traditional hydration methods.
“I still believe water and electrolytes are the preferred method of rehydration,” Laura Ligos, RDN, CSSD, said last year. “I’m not saying you can’t have your beer and drink it, too, but water, electrolytes, and sports drinks as needed should be the first step in rehydrating after exercise always, end of story.”
Check out sites like Delish or Growler USA for lists of the most popular wellness beer offerings. And if you want to support a local craft brewer, we’ve listed a few Southern breweries with wellness-adjacent beers to try out.
Wild Heaven Beer – Emergency Drinking Beer
The beer that took Atlanta by storm. This tart, refreshing pils-style session ale has plenty of Portuguese sea salt in it to refresh your depleted electrolytes. Wild Heaven also offers a few flavor variants like watermelon and a tropical blend if lemon isn’t your thing.
Westbrook Brewing Company – Lassi What Happens
This one is considerably higher in alcohol than a typical recovery beer so maybe split it with your workout buddy. But it’s full of probiotic fruits like black currants and raspberries and juiced up with lactose that will ease your sore muscles so why not give it a shot?
Dogfish Head – Slightly Mighty
The brewery is barely over the Mason-Dixon line, but they distribute throughout the South so we’re including it. The newest offering from one of the biggest names in craft brewing uses the Chinese monk fruit to deliver a strong citrus flavor to compete with any sugary sports drink. Pair it off with your favorite protein bar for one heck of a recovery snack.
If your workout was particularly grueling you may want to skip the alcohol all together. That’s where St. Louis’s WellBeing Brewing comes in. They’re the first brewery in the US to brew exclusively non-alcoholic beer. Hey, if it’s good enough for Olympic athletes it’s probably good enough for you.