Filled Under: beer

Science Fixes Unhealthy Grilling Problem With Beer

Science Fixes Unhealthy Grilling Problem With Beer
May 23rd, 2014 | by Michael Keller

Breaking news just in from the Txchnologist Memorial Day grilling desk (actually, the study was published in March, but let’s just go with it):

Anyone firing up the grill this weekend for the unofficial start of the backyard cooking season should take note. Meat marinades made with beer significantly lower the amount of cancer-causing byproducts that result from cooking pork with charcoal, food chemists in Spain and Portugal report.

We repeat: pork + beer > pork – beer. Science, 1. Cancer, 0. Thank you, food scientists.

We’re not sure why you’d need to know more than this information, but click through to learn more.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are compounds released from the incomplete burning of wood, charcoal, fossil fuels or any other organic substance. It is a family of compounds comprised of more than 100 chemicals, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and many are released into the atmosphere by forest fires, volcano eruptions and automobile emissions.

They are also present in grilled meats as a result of the cooking process.

Along with multiple health and reproductive problems seen in animal trials, the ATSDR reports: “The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that some PAHs may reasonably be expected to be carcinogens. Some people who have breathed or touched mixtures of PAHs and other chemicals for long periods of time have developed cancer. Some PAHs have caused cancer in laboratory animals when they breathed air containing them (lung cancer), ingested them in food (stomach cancer), or had them applied to their skin (skin cancer).”

Studies have connected eating chargrilled meats with a higher incidence of colorectal cancer.

Now University of Porto and University of Vigo scientists have put their analytical abilities to this pork chop travesty and come up with a solution that many will appreciate.

They tested meat marinated for four hours in pilsner, nonalcoholic pilsner or black beers on PAH formation and compared these results against carcinogen development in meat that was not marinated. They then cooked all the pork to well done (another travesty, but that’s for a different story). The result: Black beer marinades inhibited PAH development by as much as 53 percent compared to meat that wasn’t marinated; nonalcoholic pilsner inhibited PAH formation by 25 percent; and pilsner dropped formation of the harmful compounds by 13 percent.

Black beer “marinade was the most efficient on reduction of PAH formation, providing a proper mitigation strategy,” the authors conclude in their recently published paper in the ACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Top Image: So this gentleman appears to be cooking chicken and shrimp. Still, you get the idea. via Shutterstock.

Which Is Better For Your Brain? Beer Or Coffee? You’ll Never Guess.

Which Is Better For Your Brain? Beer Or Coffee? You’ll Never Guess.

Filed in Coffee Table Reading by on June 2, 2014 12 Comments

Beer vs Coffee

By now most of us know that we can alter the brain with the consumption of certain beverages. Sometimes the altered state is good and can lead to something great (GENIUS IDEA) and some are bad (POOR CHOICES). So when it comes to beer & coffee, which is better for your brain? First let’s learn a little about the brain.

What happens to your brain when you drink beer?

Have you ever been drinking with your friends and thought, “WOW, I’m really smart and eloquent. beerbrainPeople should really listen to me.”  That would be because the alcohol is having its way with your cerebral cortex.  The cerebral cortex processes information from your senses, processes thoughts, initiates the majority of voluntary muscle movements and has some control over lower-order brain centers. When alcohol hits your cerebral cortex you feel less focused, BUT it frees up your brain from all the distractions that normally keep you in your inhibited box.

What’s the sweet spot? 

This is going to vary between people, but typically 2 drinks will get you into the perfect zone of crazy quick wit, more confidence and of course your idea machine will kick into overdrive.


Beer makes you less worried about the world around you, which frees up your brain to make deeper connections and come up with great ideas.


A couple of beers makes you less focused and decreases your memory, so keep a pen and pad of paper handy if you are using beer to lubricate your idea machine. You don’t want to lose that million dollar concept.

Okay, so beer is good if you are searching for an initial idea. Now you need to get to work and bring that idea to life.

What happens to your brain when you drink coffee?

coffeebrainFeeling tired? That happens when receptors and adenosine bind together. Drowsy time. When caffeine enters the scene, the receptor instead binds with caffeine and you then get more energy. Yippee. Pretty obvious right? But why does this happen?

Caffeine Makes Me Happy But Why?

According to HowStuffWorks, we have something called adenosine that is created in our brains. As it binds to adenosine receptors, it slows down our nerve cell activity, which then causes drowsiness. A nerve cell mistakes caffeine for adenosine. Therefore, caffeine binds with the adenosine receptor, but rather than slowing down the cell’s activity, the nerve cells speed up. While adenosine opens up blood vessels, allowing for more oxygen intake, caffeine constricts these blood vessels. This is why some people who get frequent headaches take medication that has caffeine in it- the caffeine closes the blood vessels and relieves the headache.


Gives you more energy and stronger ability to focus. This is when your idea magic gets put to the test. Did the beer work wonders or just send you on a wild goose chase?


Drinking too much coffee can keep you awake during your nighty night time, but hey, if you are trying to come up with, and build, the next Apple Computers then sleep really isn’t an option is it? Just saying.



Need an idea? Have a couple of beers.

Need to figure out how to get your idea off the ground? Brew that pot of coffee.

Neither of these beverages are great for you in mass quantities, but in moderation great things can happen.

Created with care and awesomeness:

Beer brewers nationwide are scrambling to head off proposed new federal regulations that would make it more difficult to use leftover grains from the brewing process as animal feed.

Sonoma County brewers say beer is good for cows, too

Beer brewers nationwide are scrambling to head off proposed new federal regulations that would make it more difficult to use leftover grains from the brewing process as animal feed. That could force them to dump million of tons of waste into landfills instead.

The waste product, known as “spent grains,” is left over when a brewery steeps barley, wheat and other grains in hot water, extracting a sugary liquid that eventually becomes beer.

Nearly every brewery has an arrangement with nearby farmers to use the tons of spent grain produced every year as feed for cows, pigs and other livestock. The breweries usually give it away or sell it at an extreme discount compared with commercially available feed.

The Food and Drug Administration, however, is proposing rules that would make breweries meet the same standards as livestock and pet-food manufacturers, requiring sanitary handling procedures and extensive planning, record keeping and reporting to health officials.

While it’s not clear exactly what such a system would cost, area brewers say it is likely to be impractical both financially and administratively.

If such rules are adopted, “the whole process would have to go away,” said Rich Norgrove, brewmaster at Bear Republic in Healdsburg and Cloverdale. “It would become cost prohibitive.”

For 18 years, Bear Republic has sold its spent grains to Knight’s Valley rancher Cheryl LaFranchi, who has come to rely on it as a main food source for her 300 or so head of cattle. She takes up to 12.5 tons at a time, five times a week.

“Now the government wants to get involved,” she said. “What are they going to do with it? Put it in a landfill?”

That’s exactly what will happen at Anderson Valley Brewing in Booneville if the regulations are approved, said brewmaster Fal Allen. The brewery generates nearly 1,500 tons of spent grain every year, all of which goes to nearby rancher Peter Bradford. But the likely cost of the extra food processing equipment and paperwork would make it cheaper just to dump it, Allen said.

That would spell disaster for the ranch, Bradford said, because he pays Anderson Valley a pittance for the grain, about a tenth of the cost of any other feed.

“It would be a tremendous hit on our production,” he said. “We rely on the grain … It is certainly one of the best feeds for the price.”

The FDA is collecting comment on the proposal through Monday. The Brewers Association and the Beer Institute, the two primary industry associations, have mobilized brewers and farmers to weigh in against the idea. Lawmakers from major brewing states, such as Colorado and Oregon, also have spoken out against it, Brewers Association Director Paul Gatza said.

“Grains have been given to livestock for thousands of years, and there’s not been a problem with this,” Gatza said. “This is just a regulation solving a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Beer Institute spokesman Chris Thorne said he is optimistic the industry will convince the FDA that the proposal “exceeds the intent of Congress” when it passed recent legislation calling for an overhaul of food safety rules.

Using spent grain as feed “is a terrific lifecycle story that should be encouraged,” he said, “because it’s basically recycling.”

The FDA did not make a spokesman available last week but in a written statement said that the proposal stems from a broad modernization of the nation’s food safety system, the largest overhaul in at least 70 years.

“This proposed regulation would help prevent foodborne illness in both animals and people,” the agency said in the statement. “The proposal is part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act’s larger effort to modernize the food safety system for the 21st century and focus public and private efforts on preventing food safety problems, rather than relying primarily on responding to problems after the fact.”

The agency couldn’t immediately say whether there had ever been reports of foodborne illness related to spent grains, though North Coast farmers and brewers say they have never experienced any such thing.

At the region’s largest brewery, Lagunitas in Petaluma, the effect of the regulations could be considerable, said Leon Sharyon, the brewery’s chief financial officer. The brewery generates at least 450 tons of spent grains every week, more than 23,000 tons per year. That number could double now that a second Lagunitas brewery has opened in Chicago.

“We would be forced to just dump it, put it in the landfill,” he said. “Nothing good comes of that.”

Santa Rosa rancher Jim Cunningham has been feeding his cattle about 10 tons of Lagunitas grain per day for about two years. Commercial feed costs about $350 per ton these days, an expense that has risen sharply during the recent droughts in the Midwest and California. Lagunitas sells the grain for $100 per ton.

Losing that source “would cut us,” he said. “It might put us out of business if we couldn’t get cheaper feed.”

(You can reach Staff Writer Sean Scully at 521-5313 or On Twitter @BeerCountry)

Craft Brewery Releases Beer Made With Goat Brains

American craft brewing just got a little stranger, and a little less animal-friendly. The brewsters at Philadelphia’s Dock Street Brewing Co. have announced the release of a new beer inspired by AMC’s zombie smash hit “The Walking Dead”: an American Pale Stout made with wheat, oats, flaked barley, organic cranberry and, of course, smoked goat brains. Yes, that’s right — smoked goat brains.

According to a press release, the line of thinking underpinning the brewery’s decision was, “Screw it, let’s use brains!”:

Gourmet mushrooms and potentially hallucinogenic herbs are one thing, but smoked brains… really? Believe it or not, much of the world considers brain to be a true delicacy. Think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but not ridiculous. Many also believe that using every part of an animal not only increases and encourages sustainability, but also honors the animal’s life and death.

Apparently, consuming an animal’s brain is also a way to honor one’s favorite television show. Dock Street Brewing Co. says their new brew is “quite possibly the smartest beer you’ll ever drink” — and we already know that goats are smarter than we’re wont to give them credit for being — but it’s unclear if there are benefits to adding the organ to beer.

Guy Replaces Food With Beer for Lent

Guy Replaces Food With Beer for Lent
Canadian Chris Schryer is surviving on a special brew
By John Johnson, Newser Staff

Posted Mar 29, 2014 7:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – It’s 40 days and 40 nights of … beer? A Canadian man is giving it a shot for Lent, reports the National Post. Chris Schryer, 33, has sworn off solid food in favor of a calorie-laden brew called dopplebock. Time notes that he is supplementing a bit with water, juice, and tea to stay hydrated and, well, sober, but it’s the beer that is quite literally keeping him alive. Schryer is about halfway through his unusual fast, which he is writing about at his TorontoBeerBlog. “Without being dramatic, it definitely is not fun; it’s challenging,” he says. “Every meal time there’s challenge.”

Generally, Schryer has a bottle for breakfast, another for lunch, and a larger one at dinner. But this isn’t the frat-boyish stunt it might sound like at first blush. Schryer is a devout Anglican, and in a Huffington Post column, he explains that he sees Lent as a time of spiritual “training.” He chose to forgo food as his method and used his knowledge of beer to make it happen—with help from a Toronto brewery that whipped up a special batch with extra oatmeal. “One thing is clear,” writes a columnist for the QMI News Agency. “Drinking all day is not fun and games.” (In other odd beer stories, click to read about a man whose gut is essentially a natural brewery.)