IPAs may go down with a tongue-rasping, citrusy bitterness, but it turns out they’re gentler on the liver.
This style of beer being so hopped up on hops is a good thing, and the the latest support for this claim is coming from German’s Friedrich Schiller University Jena. It’s preliminary, but the research indicates that “hops content in [hoppier] beer is at least in part responsible for the less damaging effects of these beer on the liver” relative to liquor, lagers, etc.
In their study, 3 groups of mice each drank hoppy beer, OR beer without hops, OR straight ethanol (the alcohol in booze). The livers from all 3 groups were inspected, and the IPA-drinking mice had less fat buildup in their livers. The study also suggested that hops may lower the formation of compounds called reactive oxygen species, which can damage the liver.
Given that all beers have hops in them, to varying degrees, the research falls in line with the general knowledge that hard booze is harder on the body than beer is. Hops may explain why.
As for the study’s subjects, sure, mice aren’t humans, but give this one to the IPA lovers, who have to hear their favourite beer be slammed by those who have yet to acquire a taste for the trending craft beer favourite du jour.
IPAs have become the most common heavily hopped beer, and now that people are hooked, there’s not only a market of hoppier “West Coast Style” IPAs, but even double IPAs, catering to the craze for these hazy, grapefruity, floral, piney-resinous wonders.