We can’t even begin to talk about all the terrible things that cancer and chemotherapy can do to a person.
But besides the major fatigue, nausea, pain — you get our drift — it can also take away your appetite, and/or cause things to taste bland or just plain bad. And that can really hamper someone who used to be so into food—or drinks.
Meet Jana Drexlerová, a breast cancer survivor and resident of the Czech Republic, who absolutely loved beer before she got sick. However, she says that chemotherapy caused everything to taste like sand.
“When I finally got my appetite back, all I could eat was cold tomato soup, and even that was flavorless,” she said.
That’s when Mamma Beer was born, the first and only beer created just for people enduring chemotherapy.
First off, the taste is said to appeal to those undergoing chemo. It’s purposely sweet so as to counteract any bitter flavors chemo patients might experience.
Mamma Beer is also packed with tons of vitamins, including potassium and vitamin B, since patients struggle to get all their nutrients in, especially when they have no appetite.
So while a Corona or a Heineken might taste terrible to someone who previously liked these beer varieties, but who are undergoing chemo, Mamma Beer is now not only an option, but a healthy option that optimizes nutrition.
The beer has zero alcohol and tastes somewhat like a mixture between a cider and a regular beer.
“I wanted the beer to boost nutrition and improve health during treatment,” says Drexlerová, whose beer, after debuting at the Prague Beer Festival earlier this year, is now being distributed at oncology wards and pharmacies in Europe. “It was also important for me to give these women back a sense of normalcy in their lives.”
Unfortunately, Mamma Beer isn’t available in the United States just yet, just the Czech Republic. It’s brewed by Zatec Brewery and distributed through some pharmacies as well as the Mamma HELP website. Some oncology hospitals even give out the beers for free.
There’s actually a study published in the British Journal of Community Nursing that says alcohol can stimulate appetite increase energy in people who have poor appetite, such as chemo patients.
“Doctors often recommended drinking beer, in moderation, to get some nutrition and vitamins. It really does help, but the taste is just so bitter,” says Tereza Sverakova, the CCO of Y&R Prague, who diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34. “So, we thought it would be great to develop beer specifically for women undergoing chemo— beer that has all the vitamins and nutrients, but has no alcohol and is made sweeter to kill the bitterness.”
We think this is such a cool idea! Our only question is, how has this not already been invented? We’re so glad people undergoing chemo can still enjoy a flavorful beer—and one that could even aid in their healing process, for that matter.
What do you think of Mamma Beer? Would you ever buy it for a friend undergoing chemo?