Why Do People Put Salt in Beer? (The Good, The Bad, & More!)

If you’ve ever spent any time in the kitchen, you probably know that salt is included in most dishes because it enhances the flavor of the elements. Is the same true for adding salt to beer?

Salt can be added to beer to help reduce its bitterness, enhancing the other flavors and aromas. In addition to improving the flavor, salt can also help the foam head of a beer bloom. The salt can be good for you because it may help reduce “beer bloat” and cramping, but it may also dehydrate you more quickly and lead to faster alcohol absorption.

Read on to discover how this relationship began, whether it is a trend or whether beer salters know something that anti-salters don’t.

Salt in beer – where did it start?

There are several theories on how salt in beer came about.

It’s believed that salting beer originated in Mexico, but there are reports of salt being added to beer in the United States back during Prohibition. With that said, salt added to beer in today’s world results from generational teachings passed down through the years.

In Mexico, salt, with the addition of lime, became a common practice to help enhance a beer’s flavor.

During Prohibition, brewers were looking to cut costs and started using rice and corn, making the beer flavorless. Beer drinkers began to add salt to the beer to help to enhance the flavor so they could enjoy this bland beer. 

As with anything, customs and practices seem to stick as they pass through the years. Today the beer is better, yet today’s salt users may have picked up the practice from their parents, who got it from their parents, and so on.

Maritime provinces have been using salt to make the head of their beer bloom due to salt causing carbon dioxide bubbles to come together to give a healthier head to your beer. 

Is beer salt a Texas thing?

The idea of beer salt came from Mexico where they have a tradition of adding salt and lime to their beer in order to help its taste. The tradition was brought to Texas where they refined the practice and created the product which blends together the flavors making it easier to use.

Everything is bigger and better in Texas, and with beer salt, this goes without saying. Once the custom came to Texas, beer salt has significantly evolved into the product we see today. 

The original beer salt was discovered in Mexico by Roger Trevino Sr. while traveling in Mexico. Roger brought back this Latin tradition of adding lime and salt to a beer and created beer salt by blending the citrus flavor with salt. 

Today, in Texas, it’s a common tradition when ordering a beer in Texas that you will receive a beer dressed-up which is a beer with the rim coated in lime and salt. With so many varieties of beer salt (with each packing a bold flavor) and ease of access thanks to Amazon and your local grocery stores, beer salt is becoming a popular choice for beer drinkers outside the state of Texas. 

Why does salt in beer taste better?

When mixed with food, salt acts as a natural flavor enhancer by reacting with our taste receptors. Salt helps to bring out the flavor by increasing palatability while adding additional flavors.

By squashing the bitter tastes, it enhances the dish by releasing a sweet flavor that is quite palatable. A 1997 Harvard study shows salt’s effects on taste when used as a flavor enhancer in cuisine. 

When mixed with some beers, salt enhances a beer’s flavor by neutralizing the bitter elements of the beer, allowing you to enjoy the beer.

Beer can come off as naturally bitter due to the hops used in the brew. This can be bad for a beer since a bitter taste is synonymous with tasting bad. Bitter tasting does not help a beer, which can come across as bitter and unpleasant tasting, especially to new beer drinkers. Hence, adding salt can help reduce the bitter taste of the beer while also releasing other flavors and aromas that are more pleasant.

Is it good to put salt in beer?

As with anything, moderation is key.

If your body is sodium deficient, it may be beneficial to add some salt to your beer. But too much sodium can increase your risk for severe health issues. Dehydration, heart disease, and strokes are some of the issues resulting from having too much sodium in a diet. 

If you choose to add salt to your beer, be mindful of the amount of salt you use, and a pinch of salt added should suffice.

There are also ways to add salt to your beer without adding it directly to your beer, and that’s the main reason you will find salty snacks at a bar. For those unaware of the tradition of adding salt directly to the beer, one handful of a salty snack will have the same results. 

Does salt in your beer make you drunker?

You may have heard that adding salt to your beer can help you get drunker, but this isn’t exactly true.

Adding salt will not make you drunker, but it will cause your body to absorb the alcohol much quicker. This is due to how reacts to the body allowing it to get to your bloodstream much quicker. 

Sodium does allow the body to absorb alcohol more quickly than without it, and adding sodium will cause your body to absorb alcohol much quicker. Your duodenal sphincter (small intestine) enlarges, allowing the alcohol to enter the bloodstream much faster.

Adding salt may not make you drunker, but it will dehydrate you faster.

How to add salt to beer

There are different ways you can dress up your beer using salt. Whether you are drinking it from a bottle, can, or glass, there is no wrong way to add salt to your beer.

When adding salt be mindful of how much salt you add due to potential health risks.

Bottles

When adding salt to a bottle, you can add it in a couple of different ways:

  • Rub beer salt around the rim of the bottle, and you can use lime to wet the bottle rim, which allows the beer salt to stick to the rim of the bottle. Repeat if needed between gulps.
  • Take a pinch of salt and add it directly into the bottle. Adding salt this way is beneficial if you just want to add salt once and don’t want to keep having to add it before every sip. 

Cans

Adding salt to a can is very similar to how you would add salt to a bottle.

You can add salt directly to the can, or sprinkle the salt using lime around the mouth of the can.

Be careful with putting salt on your can due to the risk of being cut by the aluminum of the can.

Is beer salt the same as regular salt?

There are many different varieties of salt (table, sea, artesian, etc.) available to choose from, with each bringing its own qualities to the table. You can use them all for the same purpose, but understand several differences when comparing beer salt to other salts, especially regular salts.  

Beer salt is a specialty salt that is coarse and has a much bolder taste, usually a citrus flavor.

Table salt is more finely granulated and doesn’t have any additional flavors. It is a better choice if you are not looking to change the flavor of your beer.

You may use both kinds of salts interchangeably, but it may be more costly to use beer salt as a substitute. Below are some popular options for a beer salt.  

Twang beer salt

If you are looking for the perfect complement for your beer, Twang is the brand to know. Started in a garage in San Antonio, Texas, Roger Trevino has created a flavorful product by combining both a natural and unique flavor that you can use to perk up your beer.

Since 1986, Twang has produced beer salt and other salt rimming blends, especially to be used on anything where salt is desired. With several different flavor options available (lemon-lime, lime, michelada, and even a pickle flavor), you’re sure to find the perfect match.

Twangerz beer salt

Twangerz is a salt topper from Twang. It comes in a variety of flavors and sizes. It is a versatile option since it can be added to beer, snacks, and seasoning for fruits and vegetables.

Badia Salt for Beer

Badia is well known for producing various Caribbean and Spanish spices that will give any dish a savory and rich flavor. Badia Salt for Beer is another popular choice to use as a beer salt, and the added lemon gives Badia Beer Salt that citrus taste that will pair well with your brew.

Can you use celery salt in beer?

Celery salt can be used in your beer, especially if you want to liven up your beer. Celery salt is used mainly in beer cocktails like a michelada. But the great thing about beer is it is always an experiment. Try it out. You never know; you may become a fan. 

Some beer drinkers like to pair a cube of cheese like a Gouda or Edam with celery salt and a Belgian beer. 

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