6 Reasons Why A Post-Hike Beer Can Actually Be Good For You


By: Jen Weir

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You know those times when you’ve spent all day on the trail – you’re exhausted, starving, parched and all you want is a cold one? While many of us wouldn’t think twice about enjoying that glorious nectar, some of you more health-conscious individuals may feel obligated to opt for water or Gatorade instead -- it’s alright, I’ll twist your arm. If beer isn't for you, all the power to you. But for the rest of us, here are six reasons why you should consider indulging in a beer (or two) after your next hike and partake in a little end-of-the-day celebration.

Hike To Hidden Lake, Washington | Photo: Christin Healey

1. Beer Can Be A Source Of Fuel

Much like a sports drink, beer can offer sustenance, which is a necessity after a couple hours on the trail. A run-of-the-mill beer has about 13 grams of carbs per serving. Add that to the 35 grams found in a snack bag of pretzels and you’re well on your way. Use your favorite brewski to restore your glycogen stores and extend your endurance on the trail.

2. Beer Makes Your Bones Strong

Hiking is hard work and can put your skeletal system through the ringer. Give your bones a fighting chance against stress fractures and other injuries by enjoying a cold one every once in a while. A study published in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that beer is a significant source of silicon, particularly in its soluble form, known to be important for the growth and development of bones and connective tissue. Beer rich in malted barley and hops (think pale ale) offers a higher source of silicon compared to wheat-based beers.

3. Beer Makes Your Heart Happy

If you’re a beer lover, not only does that bottle of stout make your heart happy metaphorically but also literally. Several studies, including two published in the British Medical Journal, have shown moderate consumption of alcohol to reduce the risk of cardiovascular outcomes and coronary heart disease, a perk for any outdoor enthusiast.

Hike Breakneck Ridge, New York | Photo: Shaun O’Neil

4. Beer Can Extend Your Hiking Career

Beer can help you live longer, which means you’ll have more years on the trail. A meta-analysis of several studies prepared for the American Council on Science and Health found moderate drinkers enjoy greater longevity than those who drink heavily or abstain from the good stuff all together.

5. (Some) Beer Can Hydrate

Recently Ben Desbrow, an associate professor at Griffith University (and in my book, a saint), found that by reducing the alcohol content of beer and adding sodium to alter the electrolyte concentration, urine output was significantly reduced. In order to reach optimum hydration after succumbing to a dehydrated state, your body has to retain as much fluid as possible. The added sodium tipped the scales to improve post-exercise fluid retention and improve the body’s state of hydration, making this doctored beer a feasible recovery option. Clam beer, anyone?

6. Beer Can Keep You Sharp On The Trail

Just like beer is good for your heart, it also seems to be good for that thing between your ears. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that there was actually a decrease in the risk of mental decline for women who indulged in up to one drink per day. When you get lost hiking with your grandkids someday, at least you’ll know you can blame it on your crappy navigating skills instead of cognitive decline. Cheers!

Hike to Cataract Falls, Montana | Photo: Jen Weir

We’re all for having a beer (or two) after an adventure, but please remember to always drink responsibly and obey the laws of the land wherever you go exploring.


Cover photo: Josiah Roe

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.