Beer Before Wine – The Myth Debunked
“Beer before wine makes you feel fine,” as the old saying goes, suggests drinking beer before you start on the wine will help you avoid a severe hangover! Is there any medical evidence or scientific proof to support this? Where does the saying even come from? An even more bizarre saying is, “Wine before beer makes you feel queer”! Why do people place such an emphasis on the order you drink wine or beer?
Why is mixing beer and wine such a controversial subject with so many people against it? What are the dangerous “magic” ingredients in beer and wine make them such a hazardous mix? Is there any time when it’s acceptable for a beer drinker to mix wine with beer? Are there any beer cocktails with wine or beer-wine hybrid drinks?
Beer Before Wine – The Scientific Evidence
Researchers at Cambridge University in England and the Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, after studying a group of drinkers and how they drink their beer and wine, have said no rhyme will prevent bad hangovers, no matter how clever it seems.
90 participants were recruited to drink copious amounts of wine and beer and split into three groups. The first group was given 2.5 pints of a cold lager before consuming four large glasses of chilled white wine. A second group drank the drinks in reverse order, i.e., four large glasses of white wine followed by 2.5 pints of beer after wine, while the third group (or the “control” group) drank only wine or beer. Throughout the experiment, which lasted two weeks, the researchers would ask the participants questions about their general well-being and how they would rate their drunkenness on a scale of 1 to 10.
After their final gulp, the participants were given a glass of chilled water before being sent to bed at the study facility, where their sleep would be supervised.
The next morning, the subjects would be asked if they were suffering a hangover and asked to rate their symptoms on a scale of 0 to 56 along the Acute hangover scale. The scale looks at hangover symptoms such as thirst, loss of appetite, stomach aches, headaches, and nausea to determine the hangover intensity.
A week later, the experiment was reversed after being given a chance to dry out and maybe shake off any effects of hangovers. The beer-before-wine drinkers now started their evenings with the wine followed by the beer, and vice versa for the other group. The control group subjects who had only drunk beer previously became wine drinkers, and the wine-quaffing group became beer drinkers.
The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and showed no significant difference in hangover scores of any of the three groups. No matter what order they drank their beer and wine in, there were no milder or worse hangovers in any group. The researchers concluded: “The truth is that drinking too much of any alcoholic drink is likely to result in a hangover.”
Is It Safe to Drink Beer and Wine Together?
Yes, totally – the key is in moderation. Suffering from persistent nasty hangovers or alcohol poisoning will land you in the hospital, so avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Keeping hydrated and ensuring you always eat a well-balanced meal before a night of drinking can help prevent the hangover effects the next morning.
It may be true it’s harder to control your alcohol intake if you already feel a bit drunk, but you can try simple things like having water on the table to alternate your drinks with and maybe even slipping in the odd non-alcoholic beer.
Although many people will advise you against mixing your types of drink in a single drinking session, there’s no scientific reason why it should give you any worse hangovers than sticking to the same drink all night or why it should be more dangerous.