Can I be "allergic to beer?"
June 16, 2005 9:53 AM   Subscribe

I'm usually a liquor drinker (scotch, whisky, bourbon, vodka) and recently I tried to make the move to beer, just to give myself a lighter option. Problem is I'm noticing the day after drinking a few beers (usually 3-4) I'm horribly sore all over, and basically feel like shit. Not hungover but flu-like symptoms (achey body, sore joints, sensitive skin, mildly feverish) I never feel this way when drinking liquor, so is it possible that I am allergic to beer?
posted by mrs.pants to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
Could be. Wheat is a commen allergen, but it could be the yeast or hops... Do you have any known food allergies?

I don't know what I'd do if I was allergic to beer.
posted by Specklet at 10:00 AM on June 16, 2005

Try better beer. Find some micro-brews without preservatives.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:02 AM on June 16, 2005

Beer also has a considerable amount of sugars and simple carbohydrates. And it functions as a diuretic. You are (likely) taking in considerably more beer than you were liquor. I have experienced this a few times with beer and believe I have combined dehydration with a sugar crash.
posted by Slothrop at 10:07 AM on June 16, 2005

Do you feel the same after eating bread? Pizza? You might have a gluten allergy.
posted by Rothko at 10:23 AM on June 16, 2005

I have a friend who's allergic to the yeast in beer, and his symptoms were pretty much as you described. So it's possible. It sounds horrible, being allergic to beer. Like being allergic to salvation or sex or truth or light.
posted by goatdog at 10:24 AM on June 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

What kind of beer are you drinking? I've experienced this with some micro-brews but never with cheaper thinner American beer. I would suggest trying lighter beer rather than darker.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:25 AM on June 16, 2005

I'd say you're more likely to avoid allergens by trying an over-processed beer like 'budweiser select'. They filter it very thoroughly, to remove nearly all traces of body and flavor, which should also take care of any allergens.

Never thought I'd recommend that stuff to anyone... On second thought, why not just mix a shot of liquor with 10 oz of seltzer and drink that.
posted by Mark Doner at 10:51 AM on June 16, 2005

I had a friend who was allergic to malt and felt the same way after a beer (or wine cooler, malted milkshake, malted milk balls, etc). The maltier the beer, the worse it was, but even a light beer would do it. Her nose also got stuffed up almost immediately after the first sip.

Wine and clear liquors only ever caused her the normal kind of day-after feelings.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:07 AM on June 16, 2005

It sounds horrible, being allergic to beer. Like being allergic to salvation or sex or truth or light.

I'm alergic to beer (or, to be more specific, to hops, which come, these days, in more things than just beer), but for me my throat closes up an and stops breathing.

However, I have a number of friends with gluten allergies, and they describe almost exactly what you describe.
posted by anastasiav at 11:50 AM on June 16, 2005

I'm definitely not allergic to wheat, not sure about the hops though. And I'm not sure if switching beer would help, I wasn't drinking cheap beer. So maybe Slothrop nailed it. Back to bourbon and lovely lovely single malt scotches for me.
posted by mrs.pants at 12:26 PM on June 16, 2005

and mygothlaundry I was drinking Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Blue Moon, Haaker Schorr and some others, which I thought didn't qualify as bad beers. Not sure though.
posted by mrs.pants at 12:28 PM on June 16, 2005

most likely it's the diuretic effect. do you usually balance your booze with water? apparently, (and i don't drink beer, either, but this is what my friends who do say) you need to drink more water with beer than with booze to stave off the morning after.

i say, forego beer. i doubt it's a gluten allergy if you only have hang-over like symptoms with beer and not with burbon or other whiskeys or allergic reactions to bread, pasta, some vinegars, some soy sauces, graham crackers, couscous. . . .
posted by crush-onastick at 12:49 PM on June 16, 2005

I noticed drinking after weight lifting gives the same effects to me. I stay hydrated during the workout itself but I'm guessing my body hasn't had a chance to 100% recover and thus get the diuretic effects. Oddly I never got hangovers on just beer alone. I have a feeling this has to do feeling full with beer and stopping while not receiving same negative feedback with harder liquors.
posted by geoff. at 1:07 PM on June 16, 2005

The three beers you mentioned -- SNPA, Blue Moon and Hacker Pschorr (I'll assume hefe-weizen here) -- are all unfiltered. That means the yeast is still alive, unlike in most factory-processed beer.
posted by sixpack at 2:15 PM on June 16, 2005

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