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The Village Voice’s Brooklyn Pour is just around the corner (this Saturday 9/27 at Skylight One Hanson in Fort Greene ft. 100+ craft brews under one roof! Tickets available HERE…VIP go for $85, GA for $55 UNTIL Friday at 2pm, when tickets go off sale until doors, where they’ll be $10 more a pop IF they’re still available by then…) so we asked Chris Cuzme (Brewer at 508 Gastrobrewery and VP of the NYC Brewers Guild) to hook us up with some hangover tips ‘n cures to 1. get you sorted to take on Saturday afternoon’s event, and 2. prepare you to take on a post-Pour Sunday morning:

(Photo via BeerUnion)

Inebriation is not a destination point, it’s a perk for those with good taste. It’s the inevitable outcome of a night spent savoring the diversity of flavors in Craft Beer. And let’s face it, Craft Beer in America has never been more exciting than it is right now! Each sip is a palate party of epic proportions not to be missed. Brewers of all sizes are redefining what good beer is all across the arena, experimenting with flavors made available to us in a rapidly shrinking world. So taste taste, taste, savor and celebrate!!! But dangit, following nights of libational education, dreaded hangovers of all kinds abound.

And immersed in this world as I am, a good portion of my life has been devoted to research and development in this area. I hereby share with you, dear Village Voice readers, my thoughts and advice on hangovers. Advice is based on experience, not scientific study, and therefore must be taken in stride.

Be preventative. Drink smart and avoid hangovers by not drinking to excess. It really is that simple.

That’s of course easy to say, but the socialite in us and the “living for now” mentality (which we should never ever ever change – perhaps some modification is encouraged but whatever) doesn’t look to tomorrow. What good is tomorrow if today sucks? Enjoy all of your moments. Be entirely there. Enjoy your company. After all, beer can only taste as good as the company we keep when drinking it*. Beer is the soundtrack to our life experiences (choose wisely and don’t drink elevator muzak). It’s our nightly mixtape and I frickin love “Slow Jam Tuesdays”! But since we are in tune with the socialite part of us that doesn’t want to go home, the part of us that wants this moment and journey to last forever, then we drink knowing full well that sometimes when we face the line we shouldn’t cross, we may not have the proper judgment not to cross it. This doesn’t excuse crossing it, however, we don’t always see the line! That the line is rarely clear is one of life’s known knowns. Therefore, we must be mindful and drink smart:

  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat a meal first or during your first brew.
  • Perpetually hydrate! Try and have one 8oz glass of water for every drink. Sure, it may mean many visits throughout the night to the water closet (rapidly losing potassium), but we’ll thank ourselves in the morning.
  • Only drink what you want to taste! Flavor is the important part, not the Alcohol By Volume. Be mindful of big ABV’s. Often times, bigger ABV beers (actually good beer in general) taste better at warmer temperatures so slow way down and let the glass warm up so you can taste the subtler nuances!
  • IMPORTANT: It’s totally okay and encouraged to say no to free shots even after the tasty craft beers you’ve just delightfully imbibed.

Surprise Surprise. You totally didn’t pay attention to that last piece of advice did you? That’s what you get for hanging out in an Irish craft beer bar. That shot was inevitable and happened so danged fast… should have turned it/them down and here you are. You just totally destroyed the fantastically sophisticated aftertaste and memory in your mouth of that big creamy chocolaty and delicious barrel aged imperial stout, tonight’s perfect closer. In one fell swoop that subtle and smooth goodness was wiped away by a candy sweet elixir with an alcohol burn that cleared you of any residual sweetness coating the walls of your gullet. Naturally you’re going to have ‘just one more’ to search for that once gratifying finishing feeling you had moments ago, pre-shot. “The line” was just crossed but you don’t yet recognize that since the effect of that quick stupidity isn’t realized by your body. Screw it! There is only one today. Order a barley wine and sip it…just one.

Good morning hangover. How are you? Nice to see you, old friend. I wish I meant that. I know how to avoid you and sincerely try, but this city is just too small not to run into you on the subway. Oh geesh, I’m on the subway on the way to work. Is there a bucket nearby? Rest assured I’ll never be writing in the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist, to try and find you. Why don’t they have a “stay the @$%# away” section of Craigslist? I’d write in it right this effin’ minute if it would increase the chances of you going away immediately and staying away for good!!!

What now?

  • Water. Drink water. And wait it out. Water and time, in tandem, is unfortunately the only true cure to a hangover. That said…
  • Hamburgers & Fried Chicken! I’m no doctor, but I trust in the healing powers of fried chicken and hamburgers. The problem is, if I keep rewarding myself with fried chicken and Peter Luger Burgers after a night of solid “research and development” (brewing is my livelihood), I’ll never fully be convinced that being preventative is actually in my interest. Hamburgers and Fried Chicken (yes I capitalize Fried Chicken – it deserves the respect) should probably be part of our regular diet so that it’s not so special and seen as a reward for over indulgence. Come to think of it this remedy is not a remedy at all. It’s just for general mental health… and a happy you is the you we like.
  • Bananas. Bananas are way better for us than burgers and fried chicken, unless of course you have a banana allergy. If you are allergic to bananas, DO NOT eat bananas no matter how hungover you are! We like you alive and hungover way more than gone. Find your potassium another way like through coconut water or energy drinks which also have other electrolytes that also aid in recovery. You are dehydrated and have lost a lot of potassium through those frequent water closet visits. Replenishing it is in your interest. And actually, while bananas are at the top of the list, fruit of all kinds help us perform and recover on a hangover day. Solid or as a juice, they help replenish vitamins and nutrients.
  • Eggs. Eat them how you like them! Eggs contain both taurine and cysteine. While taurine is said to help your liver flush out toxins more quickly, cysteine works to counteract the effects of acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a by-product of ethanol metabolism and is present in all alcohol. Not that it’s all that relevant but as a beer judge I’d be remiss to not mention that in excess, it reveals itself as a flavor of green apples. And in dealing with acetaldehyde, I have friends (& at least one girlfriend) that swear by taking NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) prior to a night of drinking, their hangovers are greatly reduced. NAC is available over the counter in pill form but when considering its use, one should consult their physician prior to doing so to see whether it is right for them.
  • Advil. Yep. If you need it you need it. But if your stomach is upset, do so with caution. Do not take acetaminophen. While metabolizing alcohol, acetaminophen’s toxicity is increased.
  • Never “Hair of the Dog”. Nope. Never. I realize this is unpopular to say. But it doesn’t work for me and it literally is just prolonging an inevitable even worse hangover than what you might have had. It costs the same as or more than a banana smoothie anyhow, so go to that crunchy juice stand you were making fun of last night. They know what you need.

I personally tend to just suck it up. I drink lots of water the night I’m drinking, banana in the morning and then of course ease the pain of waiting it out with fried chicken and hamburgers (and naps if possible). Hangovers are entirely accidental but unfortunately still occur as I excitedly hang out way too late enjoying the delicious craft beers made in and made available in NYC today. It’s a celebration of now! Revere today. But drink smart.

Much love,

Friends in my circle say:

  • “It will never be a hangover if you don’t stop drinking.”
  • “Alka Seltzer.”
  • “Burrito before bed. Spicy breakfast w a Bloody Mary. Sweat it out.”
  • “Dramamine before bed. Advil 1 hour before you have to be up so set two alarms.”
  • “Sleep dude. Sleep.”
  • * I only mostly believe this sentence, in part out of fear that admitting that I like to drink a great craft beer alone sometimes might expose alcoholic tendencies. I don’t support alcoholism and truly believe that alcohol abuse is a disease. Those with problems/issues should seek counseling and help, not hangover remedies.

Chris Cuzme is the Brewer at 508 Gastrobrewery, and is Vice President of the NYC Brewers Guild. He plays jazz saxophone every Tuesday at 508, and politely refuses to drink shots…most of the time.