By Jason Sitzman
Some thought it was a “cuke”y idea. Others thought it was brine time. So why exactly are we putting pickle juice into Local Time? Well, the easy answer is: why not?
But allow me to delve a bit deeper into this topic and provide some intriguing answers to this question many have asked that may help you wrap your head around our reasoning and get you prepared to enjoy a nice, cold glass of Pickle Time Lager.
Let’s address one thing from the start: Stop it… I don’t want to hear about how silly you think it is to make a pickle beer. It’s 2021 and there have been far more egregious beer additions than the complimentary flavor of pickles in a light lager.
With that out of the way, I shall proceed.
Just before the world shut down due to the COVID-19 Health Pandemic, we began packaging our new locally made low calorie light lager: Local Time. The Lincoln Marathon was weeks away and the after-party was to be sponsored by Zipline and serve as the release party for Local Time. We’ve always considered ourselves an active lifestyle brand and having a deliciously crafted light lager just made sense.
Local Time Can Design
Then the shutdown happened. Due to the circumstances, we had more than enough Local Time, so I brought some home to enjoy while away from the brewery.
I should mention, Local Time is a fantastic beer. All malted barley, 99 Calories, 3g Carbohydrates, clean, easy drinking, AND locally produced by your friends at Zipline. I mean what else could you ask for? For me, easy: pickles. I friggin’ love GOOD pickles. When I was in college, a few of my friends and I would level-up domestic lagers with the addition of a pickle spear or juice in our beer.
So, I started downing Local Time with pickle juice and referred to it as “Pickle Time.” Local Time offers one of the best beer bases to blend with pickle juice. That smooth, crisp drinkability coupled with the lighter malt bill allowed the pickle juice to not only pleasantly blend with the beer, but also offered a wonderfully complementary flavor. It provided a level of comfort and brought me back to my early 20’s when I was graduating college and really didn’t know what would or could happen next. Pickle Time was my comfort blanket while headed into the unknowns of a global pandemic.
But could there be more to this dynamic duo? Could there actually be any tangible benefit to enjoying a Pickle Time other than my personal comfort and nostalgia?
Let’s talk recovery beers. In a world of athletic workout practices, many have found the benefits of a workout recovery beer. According to a 2021 Men’s Health article, research conducted by Old Dominion University found that a low ABV beer has effectiveness as a post-workout hydrator. The research also concluded additional sodium to said beer would increase these benefits, but would present an issue with the flavor and taste of the beer. Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, a Men’s Health exercise science advisor and associate professor at Lehman College added, “Beer has carbohydrates and some sodium where water does not, which could be beneficial post-exercise.”
Basically, beers lower in ABV with some, not loads, of carbohydrates are a strong recovery drink. What would be even more beneficial is the aforementioned increase in some sodium.
Enter pickle juice. Pickle juice has been embraced by many in the workout community. An article titled “Drinking Pickle Juice: 10 Reasons it’s all the rage” written by Alli Rainey of Healthline.com and medically reviewed by Natalie Butler, R.D., L.D., dehydration caused during a workout can quickly be reversed with consumption of pickle juice. It also aids in relieving cramps as well as calming nerve signals helping with rapid pain relief due to the addition of vinegar. Dehydration is caused when sweat leaks electrolytes, potassium and of course water. Pickle juice contains a healthy dose of H2O & Sodium (your electrolytes), with the added benefit of potassium.
But that’s not all: Pickle juice is a probiotic. According to research published by Health Essentials Cleveland Clinic in an article written in 2020 titled “6 Health Benefits of Drinking Pickle Juice,” Camille Skoda, RDN, LD, IFNCP, reported multiple ways pickle juice could be used for health benefits. Probiotics, the natural microorganisms found in fermented pickles, help with your tummy.
“Your gut contains many bacteria species that are beneficial for metabolism, overall health, digestion and fighting sickness. They’re also linked to less anxiety, depression and better mood” said Skoda.
Skoda went on to explain benefits of regulation of blood sugar, support in weight loss, disease-fighting antioxidants, as well as a hangover recovery.
Look, it’s not a cure-all, but research sure seems to indicate there are health benefits to consumption of not only low ABV beers, but also pickle juice. So, is it that much of a stretch to consider a pint of Pickle Time as one of the better options as a recovery drink? Maybe! But, I’ll tell you who has two thumbs and is a firm believer that it IS a better option: this guy.
Jason… the guy is Jason.
Let’s whittle this thing down to the day-to-day reality: pickle juice in Local Time is just really freaking tasty. I get it… if you don’t like pickles, it might not be your thing. It sounds sort of strange, but at least we’re not using “bread & butter” style pickle juice. There will be none of that. That would be as shameful as switching out lime Skittles with green apple Skittles and having the audacity to still refer to that package as “Original.” No, Original Skittles were a cohesive blend of complimentary flavors, all playing their part individually, but also collaborating collectively. Green Apple is a ball hog. So bad the other flavors suffered (I must note, Skittles figured it out and will be restoring Original Skittles to their former glory.)
Jason collecting trash in his office.
In conclusion, pickles go great with beer. It’s an American pastime: enjoying a bowl of pickled cukes with a pint of American Lager. It’s as American as saving all the green apple skittles in every bag you open and mailing them back to Mars Wrigley Corporation in protest. So why not have some fun? We all deserve it after the past 21 months. And while so many are clamoring for a chocolate birthday cake iced donut macchiato stout, or even a caramel lava powdered cupcake sour, why not embrace beer… and pickles… together…the way they should be.
I’m Jason Sitzman and this has been my TED Talk. You’re welcome America.
(Editors note: Pickle Time Lager will be released exclusively on tap in our taproom locations Wednesday, November 24th. While this op-ed addresses most of the issues regarding pickles and beer, it does not include any reasoning for the holiday release of Pickle Time. For more info on Christmas Pickles, click here.)