Scientists have proven what many beer lovers have known for thousands of years – the mere taste of beer can cause pleasure. Not only does it cause pleasure, but it releases the chemical dopamine in the brain which is associated with the body’s pleasure and reward centers. Something any craft beer enthusiast could have told the egg heads, but now they can actually prove it.
The results of a study of 49 men who were given small tastes of their favorite beers – about one half ounce – were published in the online version of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. The article, published April 15 details how the subjects were given the small tastes of beer and then had their brains scanned using Positron Emission Tomography. This process revealed that after just tasting beer without any of the alcoholic effects caused dopamine to release in significant amounts.
As a control, the men were also given a similar amount of sports drinks or water and then scanned. The results showed that there was a far weaker release of dopamine for the other substances. This suggested that beer, and not necessarily the alcohol in beer, can significantly influence the brains pleasure centers.
But, again, that is not really news to those who enjoy the myriad pleasures of a pint. To many, it is the aroma, the character, and the flavor of beer that is the reward. The pleasant buzz it provides is simply an added bonus.
Read more about the study go to: http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/vaop/naam/pdf/npp201391a.pdf.
- This is the Real Reason We Love Beer (gizmodo.co.uk)