Ask any athlete and they’ll tell you that beer just tastes sweeter after a hard workout. But the shower beer? Now that’s just a thing of genius. With exhaustion in every limb, hot water washing the sweat from your skin, and an ice-cold beer trickling down your throat, there’s proof that heaven is a place on earth. But why does drinking in the shower feel so damn good?
The shower beer originated from Swedish Craft Brewery Pang Pang, whose fascination with drinking beer in the shower led them to create a 6-ounce ale meant to be swallowed in three sips —just long enough for a quick shower. Although the initial volume was likely influenced by modesty (after all, the practice can smack of a drinking problem to some), today people have come to accept its practice, and volumes are no longer restricted. Therefore, the “shower beer” moniker today refers to any brew taken in the shower, to save time before heading out, or to unwind after a long day.
“The shower beer is actually a great way to improve productivity and creativity,” says Christopher Hollingsworth, M.D., of NYC Surgical Associates. “Showers are a great way to release dopamine, and adding one drink to that can assist your creative juices due to your relaxed mindset.”
The reward centers of the brain were first identified in the 1950s when scientists realized that stimulating a region of the rat brain known as the nucleus accumbens released an addictive amount of dopamine. These findings have been duplicated in a number of animal studies, and neuroscientists believe human brains work in similar ways. But it wasn’t until 2012 that scientists looked at human brains and found that alcohol floods their pleasure centers with endorphins.
“This is something that we’ve speculated about for 30 years, based on animal studies, but haven’t observed in humans until now,” study co-author Jennifer Mitchell, professor of neurology at University of California, San Francisco, commented in 2012. “It provides the first direct evidence of how alcohol makes people feel good.” A more recent study out of Britain bolstered these claims, reporting that light drinking makes adults happier even after controlling for happy occasions.
But rest that drink on your soap dish as the bathroom fills with steam, and double the benefits. Multiple studies have shown that showers help people think, relax, and maximize their creativity. Perhaps that’s why there’s a (slightly NSFW) subreddit dedicated entirely to shower beer. Even the beer industry has caught on, with one Swedish company now advertising a sudsy brew.
We would be remiss not to note that alcohol is a depressant, and that the negative effects of irresponsible drinking will not be offset by a bringing your vice into the bathing process. But if you can harness the power of the shower beer in moderation — say, after a hard workout or after an especially long day resulting in success — it might be one of the more productive and enjoyable cold ones you’ll ever have.
Just ask Hollingsworth: “The extra release of dopamine from the shower, added with the initial benefits of the ‘one drink a day’ philosophy, can actually help reduce stress a lot.”
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