What are the best beers for breastfeeding? I suppose the answer has to do with what beers do you like? As I’ve discovered and wrote about in my Beer and Breastfeeding post, it doesn’t really matter what the actual beer is!
As a matter of fact, even non-alcoholic beers (blech) aid in the lactation process because its not the alcohol that offers the benefits, but rather a polysaccharide in the barley seems to stimulate prolactin, which helps moms make more milk.
Sounds good right?
Well, it is. But how does one harvest the magical milk-making powers of beer if Mom isn’t a beer drinker? Hmmm. Being a beer-lover, I should be able to help my Wife find at least a few palatable (to her) beers, but it turned out to be a harder task than I first thought.
My Wife, is not a beer drinker. Almost every beer that I enjoy, induces a face similar to someone eating poo on her. She just doesn’t like the taste of beer. Its all ‘beery’. She does, however, enjoy things like Mike’s Hard Lemonade and some wine coolers. (I don’t know if Mike’s is made with the magical barley that beer is, I suspect it is, but I’m going to look into it.) So, that’s my frame of reference.
As much as I hate to say it, my Wife is like many women I know when it comes to beer. Its a shame really, how the spell of fruity-flavored beverages has a stranglehold on their minds. Anything not fruity or sweet is frowned upon. For me though, there’s no time to develop a proper palate for her! We need beer-induced milk now!
So, as you can see, the above picture is what I purchased for her to try. What do you think? Some of them are even from respectable domestic craft breweries!
The first on tap (she drank 1/2 bottle per evening) was the Leinenkugel’s Berry Wheat. When I tried it for the first and last time in 2008, I thought it was too sweet and generally unimpressive. It turned out to be her favorite of the bunch. Go figure.
The next ‘beer’ was another Leinenkugel offering, the Summer Shandy. I never had this beer, almost like I could perceive the horribleness within just by looking at it. My Wife tried it, and then handed it to me to try. We looked at each other and knew the rest was going down the drain. So we do have something in common!
She followed that up with the Austrian-made Stiegl Radler which is a lager and lemon-soda concoction. Similar to the wheat beer and lemonade of the Summer Shandy, but different. She liked this beer a little better, and after adding some lime juice, was able to finish the bottle.
Long Trail’s Blackberry Wheat is the only beer from Long Trail that I can’t stand. To me, the blackberryness is not enough to make a difference, but enough to ruin what would probably be a decent wheat beer. Unadulterated, my wife found that it tasted too much like ‘beer’ (funny, huh?) and wasn’t able to finish the evening’s dose.
I had high hopes for the Virgin Islands Brand Tropical Mango as I did enjoy their Island Summer Ale. I was worried a bit though, because the label reads ‘Pale Ale’ which is not something I imagine she’d like. The aroma was big-time mango! Taste, not as much, and it wasn’t too much like I would expect a Pale Ale to be. She enjoyed it enough to finish it over two days without doctoring it up with anything.
The last on the list was the Sea Dog Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale. I tried this last summer and remembered it being decent because it wasn’t over the top with blueberry flavors. My wife wasn’t repulsed by the beer, but she didn’t really like it either. Again, too beery. I finished it this one.
So it seems that beer is going to be a tough sell in this house when it comes to beer aided milk production. My wife sort of enjoyed the Linenkugel’s Berry Weiss, Stiegl Radler, and Tropical Mango, and disliked the rest. I would have liked to have included the Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat and Blackberry Wheat, but there were no singles available and I wasn’t about to buy six-packs each of those beers! I suspect it wouldn’t have mattered. She’s just not a beer girl.
My suggestion for those of you thinking of harnessing the power of beer while breastfeeding would be to develop a taste for good beer BEFORE the whole pregnancy thing. (My Wife didn’t have ANY alcohol during pregnancy.) Its a little tough to acquire a taste for it at crunchtime.
Maybe Mike’s Hard Lemonade will fit the bill!