The History of Beer
For millennia (yup, thousands of years) humans have been getting merry on a good ol’ Ale (or beer). The origins of ale dates back to the 5th millennia BC and has been documented in records from ancient Egypt! So beer has been synonymous to masculinity and good times in social culture for some time (understatement of the year I know), ironic then that a 3900 year old Sumerian poem honours Ninkasi, the patron GODDESS of brewing… yep, the ‘lads’ and ‘laddettes’ tipple of choice hails from a laaaddyyyy (a Godly lady all the same)! Beer is a social staple for many, and although it’s abused by a frustratingly large proportion of the general public, an occasional beer can actually do you some good.
What is it about beer then
Well it’s not the nutritional value of beer itself that supports mental health, but rather the social gratification the act of drinking beer among friends can bring. A study published in the journal of Health Psychology led by the Medical Research Council established that men aged between 30-35 opened up about their mental health when questioned about their reasoning for going to the pub for a beer. A common response was that the act of drinking relaxed the men, uplifted them and helped them to open up and talk about their troubles.
But is it beer that is actually the reason for this, or is it the alcohol content, or simply the act of having a drink among friends?
A drink can bring us out of our shells
You’ve probably all witnessed people at a party seemingly tied to their seats, making awkward small talk and just waiting for the party to get going. Alcohol helps people to lose their inhibitions, small amounts can increase your confidence, whilst large amounts can leave many people paranoid, whilst increasing their ability to grow beer muscles (an urban legend condition that never fails to make you a fighting machine)! Like anything though, there is a point where one needs to stop, and 5 millenia later man still struggles to know when that point is. A social drink can quickly turn into a drinking session, and the negativity that can come with this does not usually out weigh the positives! This article is by no means encouraging people to turn to drink for a social pick me up, but rather proof that drinking to excess isn’t necessary, that actually the act of drinking with other people is actually the therapeutic element.
This article is coming from a guy that is somewhat of a recluse when it comes to getting p$%&£d, I recall doing this once, or maybe twice, and I will be the first to admit that this is kind of boring. However, whilst this study suggests men find a social drink therapeutic and relaxing, I on the other hand find that down right boring when compared to the solace I draw from hitting my local resistance gym or Crossfit box. Yes I rarely chat whilst in the gym, but being amongst my like minded peers is comfort enough for me…and I even have a little sup on my BCAAs and water during the session too, so that’s a win win if you ask me!
Emslie, C., Hunt, K., Lyons, A. (2013). The role of alcohol in forging and maintaining friendships amongst Scottish men in midlife. Health Psychology. Retrieved 29th January, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23316851