After generations of American drinkers eschewing hoppy beers, hop-forward brews started to get their due in the 1990s before exploding onto the craft beer scene over the past couple decades turning the hopped-up IPA into hippest style out there. Hops intriguing and diverse flavors have been what’s driven this new demand, but hops can do more for a beer than just make it citrusy or piney. One of the original advantages of adding hops to beer was that these flowers act as a preservative in the liquid. Now, a new study suggests that beers with more hops may also help preserve the health of your liver.
A group of researchers from Germany (where else?) set out to see how consuming different types of alcoholic beverages affected a mouse’s liver. “Using a binge-drinking mouse model” (those are scientists’ words, not mine; no mention if they employed the use of a mini funnel), the tiny mammals were given one of four drinks: normal beer, beer without hops, plain ethanol or an alcohol-free control solution. According to Live Science, after 12 hours, the mice given the normal beer with hops showed less fat buildup in their livers than the mice given either hop-free beer or plain ethanol, two groups that saw a similar level of fat accumulation.
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“Our data suggest that hops content in beer is at least in part responsible for the less damaging effects of beer on the liver” when it comes to short-term exposure in mice, the researchers wrote. These findings reportedly support an earlier study conducted by the researchers that found mice accumulated let fat in their livers when given beer than when given straight drinking alcohol.
The research team stressed that more studies would be needed to see if the results seen in the livers of mice would be similar to what happens in human livers or whether these effects would still be seen over longer stretches of time. It’s also worth noting that this study received funding from the German brewing industry. Sure, it’s a bit shady, but it’s not like it’s as bad as a study on how lederhosen make you look sexy funded entirely by “big lederhosen.”