The Case Against “Hangover-Free” Beer

Australian scientists claim to have made a scientific breakthrough in beer. They’ve taken out the dehydrative properties of your favorite leisure-time beverage, by adding electrolytes and essentially making the beer “more like Gatorade,” according to CNet.com.

Electrolyte-infused beer has certain advantages including the ability to assist in bodily re-hydration, and it can all but eliminate beer’s tendency to deliver next-day hangover symptoms such as headache, nausea, and dizziness.  What’s more, testers have noticed no difference in taste which means that even hardcore beer drinkers can enjoy pints to their heart’s content, and still make it to work refreshed in the morning.

I love technology that brings people together, enhances life and prevents suffering … but I think there is something unsavory about stamping out even the more simple discomforts of life, such as the benign weekend hangover.

I’m reminded of a brief essay “A Cup of Decaf Reality” written by Slovene philosopher and cultural critic, Slavoj Zizek. Zizek laments “a whole series of products deprived of their malignant property: coffee without caffeine, cream without fat, beer without alcohol … what about virtual sex as sex without sex.” He describes a hedonistic desire for unconstrained consumption “offering a product deprived of its substance which makes it dangerous” and sees “the chocolate laxative” as perhaps the ultimate example of this perverse pseudo reality.

Until now.

Thanks but no thanks, Australian scientists. Beer is already near perfect, and I believe that the hangover is an important experience and life lesson, where the body teaches us about pace and restraint.

Should this “no-hangover” “Gatorade-beer” ever make it to my local bar, I’ll order my regular Yuengling or maybe a delicious Brooklyn Lager, and deal with the consequences … because that’s life, and that’s beer.

Thank you.

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