Here at Lifeway, we like to refer to our kefir as “the champagne of dairy.” Kefir grains are traditionally used to ferment dairy and make kefir, but they can be used for other fun fermentation experiments like these to create interesting non-kefir probiotic drinks. So, we were intrigued, when news started popping up about a drink called kefir beer – beer brewed with traditional kefir cultures – was making the rounds on internet. A bit of digging showed up that this is thanks to a preliminary study that links kefir beer to the reduction of inflammation and stomach ulcers in rats. Very interesting…
A Different Kind of Homebrew
In the study, published in the upcoming March 2016 issue of Journal of Functional Foods, Brazilian researchers first made kefir beer by adding kefir grains to a malted barley (a key ingredient in brewing some forms of beer). The bacteria and yeast in the grains then fermented the malt, turning it into an alcoholic beverage. Researchers induced inflammation in the paws of 48 rats and divided the them into six groups; some rats received kefir beer, while others received plain kefir, plain beer, water, ethanol or an anti-inflammatory medications.
The results are pretty cool: plain kefir, kefir beer and plain beer all helped alleviate inflammation. But when kefir beer and plain beer were compared head on, the kefir beer slashed inflammation by nearly half, and astounding 48 percent – 20 percent more than traditional beer alone! In another experiment, when kefiran (a substance produced by kefir grains) was added to plain beer and fed to the rats, their ulcers essentially disappeared.
While mainstream publications like The Daily Meal are now asking, “could craft kefir beer be the next kombucha,” researchers say it’s too soon to say whether similar effects might be seen in human subjects. We for one can’t wait to see what more studies show.
So to answer the question you undoubtedly are ready to ask: we don’t have plans to come out with a kefir beer just yet (but who knows what the future will hold?). Until then, enjoy your beer and champagne — responsibly, of course — as well as your daily helping of Lifeway Kefir.