Thursday, December 10, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #12: Buzz

Today, I begin a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It is my list of 12 beer books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.


The 12th Book for Christmas


Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine
Stephen Braun
Oxford University Press, USA: 1996
ISBN: 0-19-509289-9

The science is over a decade old, but I would guess that much remains correct in this book. Stephen Braun is a science writer, so he writes 'scientifically' for a lay audience. If you're a user (that is, lover) of beer, wine, or spirits, it might behoove you to understand alcohol's good and bad, how and what.
Far from being a simple depressant, alcohol is a subtle, complicated drug that exerts a wide range of pharmacological effects. <...> By releasing endorphins, alcohol resembles opium, giving users a rush of pleasure similar to the "natural high" experienced after a vigorous workout.

And the caffeine in your coffee or tea?
The brain resembles a car with several brake pedals and several accelerators. <...> Caffeine works by getting in the way of the adenosine brake. [Adenosine functions as a kind of thermostat: it keeps neuronal activity within safe limits.]

Beyond [one and four cups of coffee], pouring more caffeine into the brain probably won't increase stimulation —and it may have the reverse effect [a depressant effect] because of caffeine's actions on other molecular subsystems.


12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the full list here.

1 comment:

  1. 2 comments...

    1. I think the last thing I want to do while drinking is ... read!

    2. I didn't know alcohol released endorphins as well...I'm gonna pick up this book


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