Why does draft beer cause headaches?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “why does draft beer cause headaches” with an in-depth analysis of the possible factors that can trigger headaches after consuming draft beer. Moreover, we are going to discuss what draft beer is and the things you should consider before drinking draft beer.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Does draft beer cause headaches?

Yes, draft beer can cause headaches in some people, although it is very rare. Draft beer contains higher levels of CO2 in comparison to other beer in cans and bottles. The high content of gas can sometimes trigger headaches.

Why does draft beer give me a headache?

Ethanol, the chemical substance present in alcoholic beverages is the main reason behind the headaches that you get after consuming a lot of draft beer. So let me get this straight like all other types of alcoholic beverages, beer also contains alcohol. Different varieties of beer have different percentages of alcohol added to their composition but commonly 5% alcohol is used in the formulation of the beer along with some other ingredient.

Moreover, there are also some chemicals other than the ethanol known as congeners that play a significant role in the headaches or the hangover if they are consumed in excess.

What is draft beer?

Draft beer is a lager put away into barrels and served directly from the tap that is connected with these barrels. The tap can be pressurized or pumped by hand depending upon the particular technique that is used in the bar. There are a few reasons why draft beer has unrivaled quality than canned or bottled beer. To start with, the barrel blocks daylight away. Thus it acts as a barrier between the beer and the sunlight. So the barrel protects the beer from the ill effects of the sunlight. 

The barrel additionally keeps oxygen from leaking in, in this way keeping the beer fresh for a long time, as it is halting the oxidation reaction. Finally, if you notice, draft beer is generally consumed at a quicker rate, compared to the bottled or canned beer, in the bar.

How does ethanol give headaches?

So there can be a number of ways by which ethanol can induce headaches whenever you consume some alcoholic beverage like beer. 


To start with, ethanol is an immediate vasodilator. Being a vasodilator, it dilates your blood vessels by relaxing the smooth muscles present in them, thereby increasing the overall area that the blood has to flow through them. And in certain individuals, this vasodilation can be a reason for headaches.


Secondly, ethanol is a characteristic diuretic which means that it increases the outflux of water from your body in the form of urine. Now it is not only the water that is getting eliminated from your body but many salts, nutrients, and minerals are also getting eliminated from the body through the kidneys. Thus utilizing large amounts of ethanol in the form of beer will result in dehydration and chemical imbalance in your body which can result in severe headaches. 

What is the difference between draft beer and bottled beer?

  1. draft beers or draft beers are the type of beers that come from or are emptied down from a tap into a glass. Despite what might be expected, bottle beers are the ones that are stored in cans or bottles. Both of them have noticeable differences in their taste and smell with some people regarding the draft beer more flavorsome.
  2. When we talk about the sunlight vulnerability then draft beers are safer as it is difficult for the UV lights from the sun to penetrate these kegs or barrels while it is easier for them to enter the glass bottles in which beer is stored.
  3. When it comes to cleanliness the bottled beers are far more hygienic than the draft beer.
  4. In the case of portability, the bottled beer has an upper hand on the draft beer as the former can be taken everywhere but it is really difficult to move the latter from place to place.

Why consuming draft beer gives more headache than bottled beer?

If the faucets or the taps through which the beer is coming out in the glass are dirty then it will result in bacterial growth forming in these taps. The beer coming out of the taps will have a lot of disease-causing microbes in it that can cause many health problems including severe headaches.

Moreover, if the bartender is lazy enough not to clean the glassware properly, then drinking beer in dirty glasses can also result in headaches and other health-related problems.

Things to keep in mind when drinking draft beer

  1. Know your limit and do not drink more beer than you can handle
  2. Keep a keen eye on the cleanliness of the glasses or the tap from which you are going to drink beer
  3. If you are too much concerned about the cleanliness profile then it is better to choose can or bottled beer.

Other FAQs about Beer which you may be interested in.

Does beer have to be kept cold?

Does diet root beer have caffeine?

Why does beer make you burp?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “why does draft beer cause headaches” with an in-depth analysis of the possible factors that can trigger headaches after consuming draft beer. Moreover, we discussed what draft beer is and the things you should consider before drinking draft beer.