With added electrolytes to replace minerals lost while sweating, sports drinks have long sold themselves as the favorite recovery beverage of athletes. But select brewers now have something better to offer. They’re lacing beers with salt, potassium and nutrient-dense superfoods to create beverages that can be thought of as a reward and a source of replenishment.
“We wanted to make a beer for people to enjoy after a marathon, softball game or mowing the grass when it’s 110°F down here in the summertime,” says Chris Juergen, head brewer at Karbach Brewing Co. in Houston.
Last summer, Karbach released Game Changer, a low-alcohol pale ale containing sea salt and turmeric, which purportedly packs anti-inflammatory compounds.
There’s no singular approach to making these added-benefit beers, however, which range from stouts to pilsners and IPAs. Boulevard Brewing Co. took nearly a year to refine their version, a tangerine-scented blonde ale infused with potassium, sea salt and magnesium, while Dogfish Head Brewery enlisted help from the founder of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
Whether it’s to kick back after a softball game or toast the end of a half-marathon, one thing is clear: These beers will electrolyte up your life.
Fifty West Brewing Company
Inspired by its in-house marathon training program, Cincinnati’s Fifty West developed this “activated ale” with an enzyme that eliminates residual sugar. The result is light, dry and finished with watermelon, lime and electrolytes for a 100-calorie pick-me-up.
Harpoon took around 18 months to develop this hazy pale ale filled with fiber-rich chia seeds and B vitamin–packed buckwheat, as well as Mediterranean Sea salt for electrolytes. Big fragrances of pithy grapefruit and ripe mango make this a must for IPA fans.
Sufferfest Beer Company
“Will sweat for beer” is the motto of California’s Sufferfest, the athletic-minded brewery that Sierra Nevada bought last year. FKT (an acronym for Fastest Known Time) contains blackcurrants for tartness balanced by 96 milligrams of sodium per 12-ounce serving.
Zelus Beer Company
Named for the competitive Greek spirit, this Massachusetts brewery was created by a collective of amateur athletes. Race Pace packs all the hazy, fruity aromatics of a New England IPA into a low-alcohol package finished with sodium, calcium and potassium.