People have done a lot of weird things to beer, like bull and whale testicle beers, glitter beer, or Rogue Ale’s The Beard beer (which is no longer available) that used yeast from a beard to make. But have you heard of putting raw egg in beer? No? Where have you been?
Don’t worry, we understand. Egg in beer isn’t as talked about as beer styles or hops, but it is something that’s been around for awhile and has some pretty fascinating history. If you want to give it a try, here’s everything you need to know about egg in beer.
How to Add Egg to Beer
It’s a straightforward recipe:
- Pour your favorite beer into a glass
- Crack open a raw egg
- Drop the yolk straight into the brew
Don’t be surprised that the egg doesn’t dissolve into the beer. The yolk stays rather whole and settles at the bottom of the glass.
Drink your beer as you usually would. Nearing the end of the beverage, you can swirl the final dregs of beer and egg together then knock it back into your mouth. You don’t have to try to swallow it all in one go like an oyster. Some people recommend biting gently into the egg, because it adds a slight sweetness to the beer.
The History of Putting Raw Egg in Beer
Nobody truly knows where the practice comes from initially, but people have been adding eggs to their beer since the 17th century or earlier. For a while, egg in beer was extremely popular in England.
Cream, sugar, spices, and whipped egg were frequently added to beer to make posset, a thin custard that helped with colds and flu. Aside from the supposed medical benefits, many early brews came out cloudy, so egg was added to clear it up.
Eggs in Beer in America
Eventually, the egg in beer concept made its way to America. The Flip was a drink concocted during the colonial era that was made with liquor, beer (or wine), hot water, sugar, and egg yolks. The Flip is still popular in modern times.
During the 1800s, there was a beverage known as the Miner’s Breakfast, which was two eggs cracked into a beer and served with a whiskey shot on the side. It began in Pennsylvania, where mining towns were ubiquitous, then spread along the East Coast.
This is actually discussed in the book “Yuengling: A History of America’s Oldest Brewery.” Around 5 o’ clock in the morning, laborers would make their way to bars, drowsy and in need of a pick-me-up. That’s where the whiskey and egged up beer came in handy.
Today, you can order the Miner’s Breakfast (also known as the Irish Breakfast) throughout America, but most often on the East Coast.
Ever Hear The Phrase “Egg In Your Beer”?
Though it’s not as trendy to say now, a common phrase during the 1940s was “What do you want? Eggs in your beer?”
Basically, it was used when someone was complaining about something that was actually positive. For example, the individual might have won a new car, but they grouse about the color not being their favorite.
Next time a friend starts to complain, use the phrase and see what they think!
Is Putting Egg in Beer Safe?
The answer to this depends on where you are in the world. Some places, such as the UK, have high standards that reduce the risk of contracting salmonella from eggs to an incredibly low possibility. That said, raw eggs often contain bacteria that are harmful. By consuming raw egg, you may develop food poisoning, which leads to abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Always consider this risk before trying egg in beer.
Reasons Why People Drink Beer With Egg
Having read the brief history on beer with egg, you might have figured out that there are four schools of thought: nutrition, hangover cures, culture, and taste. While taste is based on your opinion and whether you like the flavor of raw egg with beer, we can discuss other reasons why egg in beer is more common than originally assumed.
1. Nutritional Benefits
We briefly touched on this earlier, but having an egg in beer was thought to have powerful medical and nutritional benefits. Many English doctors believed that eggs could treat ailments and that beer was medicinal, though those ideas didn’t linger too long after the 17th century.
Still chugging beer was seen as a healthy exercise, one that could be fortified with another healthy food, like eggs.
From miners, dockworkers, to even upper-class families, beer was a standard beverage. And while we can now see the issues with starting a day with beer, it was considered healthier than other alternatives.
But does the belief about the nutritional benefits about egg in beer hold any water? Yes, but also no. See, eggs are a great source of protein and choline, but you only absorb about 51% of the available protein from a raw egg. Cooked eggs are much more bioavailable, so if you want a healthy breakfast, you should scramble, fry, or make those eggs sunny-side up instead.
2. Malta Con Huevo
A Chilean tradition includes beer as part of dessert. And guess what? Eggs go into the mixture as well. It’s called Malta Con Huevo, and it mixes dark malt beer, eggs, and sugar all together in a blender. You’ll often find it on dinner tables throughout Chile around the year.
3. Vietnamese Egg Beer
Did you know that some cultures make delicious beverages by mixing in raw egg? Take egg beer in Vietnam, for instance. Many cultures will crack eggs into rice, cola, coffee, and tea. In Vietnam, you can get egg yolks whisked together with butter and sugar then pour in a fresh beer.
4. Depression Protein
Maybe you’ve heard stories from the elders in your family about the 1920s and the Great Depression. Although people often romanticize this period, there are many dark stories as well. Like lining up for rations or cracking a raw egg into beer to get your nutrition. This happened a lot, because eggs and beer were more widely available than meat.
5. Does Drinking Egg in Beer Cure Hangovers?
There is a belief—a myth, really—that egg in beer can provide relief from a nagging hangover. It’s become an important question, too. Is it worth trying?
Well, no. Sadly, egg in beer does not do what you hope it did.
Things are never that easy, right? Yes, eggs are very nutritious and have several key minerals and vitamins that keep people healthy. But for all the “incredible, edible egg” has to offer, it’s not a hangover elixir.
The reason egg in beer seems to cure a hangover is not the egg but the alcohol present in beer. Hangover symptoms generally start when the alcohol in your blood disappears. By adding more alcohol to your blood, you can lessen the severity of your hangover just a little.
This is often referred to as the “hair of the dog” method.
So instead of suffering through the pain of drinking down a raw egg Rocky-style, pour yourself a Bloody Mary. Of course, we’re not recommending that you drink more alcohol, because you’re only delaying the inevitable. And the more you delay it, the worse your hangover is going to be.
Thinking about putting raw egg in your next beer? Even though using eggs in beer for anything more than flavor is questionable, there is something to be said for novelty. All sorts of people have cracked eggs into their beer and enjoyed it. Why not give it a try? You might just discover something amazing.
Hangover cures, deliciousness, nutrition…you decide. Most of the time, it’s because people want to either clarify a cloudy beer, they have a hangover, or they are whipping up a delicious cocktail.
Raw eggs reportedly don’t have a lot of flavor on their own, though the white of the egg can make a cloudy beer clearer. The only way to know whether egg in beer is good is to try it for yourself.
There is no designated name for putting an egg in beer. It depends on what else goes into the beer. For instance, beer nogs, the Fallujah Omelet, West Country Ale, Malta Con Leche Condesada, Miner’s Meal, and others all contain beer and other ingredients, not just egg in beer.
That depends. While it’s impossible to guarantee absolute safety while eating or drinking raw egg, there are some places where the risk is lower. In many countries, like the UK and Japan, getting salmonella from a raw egg is more or less impossible, due to farming practices and vaccines. In the US, you still run the risk of getting bad bacteria from the eggshell, so make sure no shell gets into your beer.