• Auto-Brewery Syndrome: Apparently, You Can Make Beer In Your Gut

    Beer Belly

    A man who would get drunk out of the blue without drinking beer?  Here is how it happened.

    This medical case may give a whole new meaning to the phrase “beer gut.”

     

    A 61-year-old man — with a history of home-brewing — stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer test. And sure enough, the man’s blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas.

     

    There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol that day.

     

    “He would get drunk out of the blue — on a Sunday morning after being at church, or really, just anytime,” says Barabara Cordell, the dean of nursing at Panola College in Carthage, Texas. “His wife was so dismayed about it that she even bought a Breathalyzer.”

    Other medical professionals chalked up the man’s problem to “closet drinking.” But Cordell and Dr. Justin McCarthy, a gastroenterologist in Lubbock, wanted to figure out what was really going on.

     

    So the team searched the man’s belongings for liquor and then isolated him in a hospital room for 24 hours. Throughout the day, he ate carbohydrate-rich foods, and the doctors periodically checked his blood for alcohol. At one point, it rose 0.12 percent.

     

    Eventually, McCarthy and Cordell pinpointed the culprit: an overabundance of brewer’s yeast in his gut.

     

    That’s right, folks. According to Cordell and McCarthy, the man’s intestinal tract was acting like his own internal brewery.

     

    The patient had an infection with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Cordell says. So when he ate or drank a bunch of starch — a bagel, pasta or even a soda — the yeast fermented the sugars into ethanol, and he would get drunk. Essentially, he was brewing beer in his own gut. Cordell and McCarthy reported the case of “auto-brewery syndrome” a few months ago in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine.

     

    When we first read the case study, we were more than a little skeptical. It sounded crazy, a phenomenon akin to spontaneous combustion. I mean, come on: Could a person’s gut really generate that much ethanol?

     

    Brewer’s yeast is in a whole host of foods, including breads, wine and, of course, beer (hence, the name). The critters usually don’t do any harm. They just flow right through us. Some people even take Saccharomyces as a probiotic supplement.

     

    But it turns out that in rare cases, the yeasty beasts can indeed take up long-term residency in the gut and possibly cause problems, says Dr. Joseph Heitman, a microbiologist at Duke University.

     

    “Researchers have shown unequivocally that Saccharomyces can grow in the intestinal tract,” Heitman tells The Salt. “But it’s still unclear whether it’s associated with any disease” — or whether it could make someone drunk from the gut up.

     

    We dug around the scant literature on auto-brewery syndrome and uncovered a handful of cases similar to the one in Texas. Some reports in Japan date back to the 1970s. In most instances, the infections occurred after a person took antibiotics — which can wipe out the bacteria in the gut, making room for fungi like yeast to flourish — or had another illness that suppresses their immune system.

     

    Still, such case reports remain extremely rare. Heitman says he had never heard of auto-brewery syndrome until we called him up. “It sounds interesting,” he says. But he’s also cautious.

     

    “The problem with a case report,” he notes, “is that it’s just one person. It’s not a controlled clinical study.

  • Beerporn: Editor’s Choice

    Tuesday is Editor’s Choice award day on http://hashtagbeerporn.com.  We are giving out an Editor’s Choice Award each week to the picture we think best represents beerporn during that week.  As an ongoing feature on Indy Beers each week I’ll be posting the Editor’s Choice winner from #Beerporn.  Remember, anyone can join and post pictures of beer to http://hashtagbeerporn.com.

    This week’s winner is Vampkel.  She was just in California for a Lagunitas event, and this bit of joy was just the tip of the iceberg.

    http://hashtagbeerporn.com/2013/09/13/lagunitas-little-sumpin-sumpin-on-da-bus/

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  • How to Make Beer

    Beer Ingredients

    This is an animated short on how to make beer.

  • Beerporn: Editor’s Choice

    Tuesday is Editor’s Choice award day on http://hashtagbeerporn.com.  We are giving out an Editor’s Choice Award each week to the picture we think best represents beerporn during that week.  As an ongoing feature on Indy Beers each week I’ll be posting the Editor’s Choice winner from #Beerporn.  Remember, anyone can join and post pictures of beer to http://hashtagbeerporn.com.

    This week’s winner is Vampkel.   I love seeing the bottle/can and the beer in a glass.

    http://hashtagbeerporn.com/2013/09/02/brouwerij-huyghe-fruli-strawberry-victoriagpub/

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  • Craft Beer Makes a Movie

    4.Olivia Wilde in DRINKING BUDDIES, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

    Olivia Wilde in DRINKING BUDDIES, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

     

    It was the movie Beer Wars that partially helped in igniting my desire to start this website, and now there is another movie coming out about craft beer.  Drinking Buddies will be coming out August 23rd, 2013 and while the movie isn’t completely about craft beer, it is the backdrop for a story of a group of friends.  This one, if for the craft beer alone, is on my list to go see.

    Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) work together at a craft brewery. They have one of those friendships that feels like it could be something more. But Kate is with Chris (Ron Livingston), and Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick). And Jill wants to know if Luke is ready to talk about marriage. The answer to that question becomes crystal clear when Luke and Kate unexpectedly find themselves alone for a weekend.  DRINKING BUDDIES is written and directed by Joe Swanberg and stars Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston.

     

    Q&A WITH DIRECTOR JOE SWANBERG

    7.Joe Swanberg, director of DRINKING BUDDIES, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

    Joe Swanberg, director of DRINKING BUDDIES, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

     

    What was the inspiration for this project?

    The inspiration originally came from two places: The first was studio comedies of the early 1970’s, specifically BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE and Elaine May’s THE HEARTBREAK KID, which were both mainstream films (and big hits!) that portrayed complicated, interesting characters and adult points-of-view.  The most important lesson I took from these films is that they never forgot to be funny, which earned them the space to also be complex and challenging.

    The second inspiration was the craft beer world.  Craft beer is the most exciting business in America right now, if you ask me, and I wanted to get inside a world that I love.  I’m a home brewer and a craft beer advocate, and as the years passed, I realized that nobody was making a movie about it.

    I started talking to a friend of mine, Kate Thomas, who works for Half Acre Brewing in Chicago.  She told me about her job, and about being a woman in a very male dominated industry.  Through her stories, and other conversations with friends who work at breweries, I started to form the Kate character, who has learned to thrive in her surroundings.  The other main character, Luke, and his girlfriend, Jill, are modeled after my wife and I at a certain point in our relationship before we were married, when we were still trying to figure things out.

    As with all of my films, once I had the cast in place we started to work on the characters and the story together.  Olivia had great ideas about Kate, and brought a lot of her own life to it.  Jake Johnson and Anna Kendrick shared their own relationship experiences with me so that we could blend them with mine to make Luke and Jill as relatable as possible.  Once we all started talking about these issues, we realized how universal they are.  Everyone struggles to balance relationships and platonic friendships with the opposite sex.  Everyone has doubts and questions about whether they’re with the right person, or whether they could be happier with someone else.  We had fun throughout the shoot talking about these subjects and working our ideas into the film.

     

    How did you work with the actors?

    Working with actors remains the most inspiring part of the filmmaking process for me, and DRINKING BUDDIES allowed me to devote most of my energy to this.  I was lucky to have a few days with Olivia and Jake before we started shooting, and I used this time to familiarize them with the Chicago craft beer world.  We brewed beer together in my basement, so they could see how it’s made, and then we took a trip to the Three Floyd’s brewery, where my friend Andrew Mason, who brews there, showed them around.  I knew I wasn’t going to turn either of them into beer experts in 2 days, but I wanted them to soak up the atmosphere and get a sense of the people who work in a brewery.  During this beer boot camp, we were also discussing the characters and the story and finding ways to plug Olivia and Jake’s experiences into the story.

  • Beerporn: Editor’s Choice

    Tuesday is Editor’s Choice award day on http://hashtagbeerporn.com.  We are giving out an Editor’s Choice Award each week to the picture we think best represents beerporn during that week.  As an ongoing feature on Indy Beers each week I’ll be posting the Editor’s Choice winner from #Beerporn.  Remember, anyone can join and post pictures of beer to http://hashtagbeerporn.com.

    This week’s winner is Husar.  Good depth of shot.

    http://hashtagbeerporn.com/2013/09/01/mirror-pond-pale-ale/

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  • How to Make a Beer Glass from a Beer Bottle

    Over the weekend I saw this clip on how to make a beer glass from a beer bottle:

    Beer Bottle Pint Glass – D-I-Why Not from www.KORDUROY.tv on Vimeo.

    I may have to try this myself at some point.  I’ll post the results if I do.

  • Beer or Wine?

    beer_vs_wine

    When you have a choice between Beer and wine, which do you choose?  A new gallop poll shows that Americans who drink alcohol are about equally likely to say they drink beer (36%) or wine (35%) most often.

     Another 23% say liquor is their beverage of choice. That continues the trend in which beer has declined as the preferred beverage of U.S. drinkers, shrinking its advantage over wine from 20 percentage points in 1992 to one point today.

     

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    The results are based on Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits poll, conducted July 10-14. The poll finds 60% of Americans saying they drink alcohol at least occasionally, in line with the historical average of 63% since 1939.

     

    Young adult drinkers’ alcoholic beverage preferences have changed dramatically over the past two decades. In the early 1990s, 71% of adults under age 30 said they drank beer most often; now it is 41% among that age group. There has been a much smaller decline in the percentage of 30- to 49-year-olds who say they drink beer the most, from 48% to 43%, with essentially no change in older drinkers’ beer preference.

     

    Younger adults’ preferences have shifted toward both liquor and wine, but more so toward liquor, over the past two decades. Those between the ages of 30 and 49 have moved exclusively toward liquor. Older Americans now increasingly say they drink wine most and are less likely to say they drink liquor most.

     

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    Despite these changes, beer remains the preferred beverage of 18- to 29- and 30- to 49-year-olds. Wine continues to rank as the top choice of those 50 and older.

    Source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/163787/drinkers-divide-beer-wine-favorite.aspx

  • Acid, Not Bubbles, Responsible for Distinctive ‘Bite’ of Carbonated Beverages

    20130723-202016

    Photo Credit: Husar

    Ever wonder about that bit of the bubbles when you sip a beer or other carbonated beverage.  I always thought it was the bubbles that gave the bite.  It turns out that the bite is caused by an acidic by-product of the bubbles.

    New research from the Monell Center reveals that bubbles are not necessary to experience the unique ‘bite’ of carbonated beverages. Bubbles do, however, enhance carbonation’s bite through the light feel of the bubbles picked up by our sense of touch.

     

    The refreshing bite of carbonation is an integral part of beverages consumed around the globe. Carbonated beverages are produced when carbon dioxide is dissolved in a liquid, typically under high pressure. This can happen naturally in certain spring waters or in fermented beverages like beer. Carbon dioxide also can be added to beverages through production processes.

     

    In either case, when pressure is reduced by opening a bottle or can of a carbonated beverage, some of the carbon dioxide is released from the solution in the form of bubbles. After a sip, enzymes in the mouth convert the remaining free carbon dioxide into carbonic acid. The acid then activates sensory nerve endings, which signal the mild irritation that we refer to as ‘bite.’

     

    In the study, published in the public access journal PLOS ONE, the Monell researchers examined the role that bubbles play in carbonation bite. In the first experiment, they took advantage of the fact that bubbles cannot form when atmospheric pressure is raised above a certain level.

     

    Twelve healthy adults were comfortably seated in a hyperbaric chamber and asked to rate the bite intensity of several concentrations of carbonated water. The ratings were collected once while under normal atmospheric pressure (with bubbles) and a second time at higher pressure (no bubbles), equivalent to diving to a depth of 33 feet in sea water.

     

    There was no difference in the bite reported in the two conditions, even though bubbles are physically unable to form at the higher pressure.

     

    “Because the subjects experienced the same bite when bubbles weren’t present, the findings clearly told us that carbonation bite is an acidic chemical sensation rather than a purely physical, tactile one,” said study author Bruce Byant, PhD, a sensory biologist at Monell.

     

    Although bubbles aren’t necessary for bite, they still could be contributing to the overall sensation of carbonation. Thus, a second experiment was designed to address this possibility.

     

    In this experiment, 11 adults rated the intensity of bite in a laboratory setting. The ratings were made for carbonated water under normal conditions and again when additional air bubbles were added to the liquid.

     

    The researchers were surprised to find that air bubbles enhanced the bite of the carbonated bubbles, presumably by stimulating the sense of touch.

     

    “We thought the touch of the bubbles would suppress the painful aspects of carbonation, much as itching a mosquito bite or rubbing a sore muscle does,” said Bryant.

     

    Together, the studies reveal that carbon dioxide bubbles are not directly responsible for the bite of carbonation. However, by stimulating the sense of touch inside the mouth, bubbles do enhance the bite sensation beyond the chemical irritation caused by carbonic acid.

     

    “Pain from some cancers also depends on acid formation in tissue,” noted study lead author Paul M. Wise, PhD, a sensory psychologist at Monell. “Because the bite from carbonation can be considered to be a mild type of pain, the fact that pain intensity can be enhanced via the sense of touch may have implications for understanding these types of cancer pain.”

     

    Future experiments will continue to explore the interactions between chemical and mechanical stimuli.

     

    Source: http://phys.org/

  • Beerporn: Editor’s Choice

    Tuesday is Editor’s Choice award day on http://hashtagbeerporn.com.  We are giving out an Editor’s Choice Award each week to the picture we think best represents beerporn during that week.  As an ongoing feature on Indy Beers each week I’ll be posting the Editor’s Choice winner from #Beerporn.  Remember, anyone can join and post pictures of beer to http://hashtagbeerporn.com.

    This week’s winner is Husar.   Chris said he liked the label of the beer.

    http://hashtagbeerporn.com/2013/08/25/tangerine/

    20130825-085255

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