Koch told me that for years he has swallowed your standard Fleischmann's dry yeast before he drinks, stirring the white powdery substance in with some yogurt to make it more palatable.
"One teaspoon per beer, right before you start drinking."
He'd learned the trick from his good friend "Dr. Joe," a craft beer legend in his own right. Educated at Harvard with a troika of degrees (a BA, a JD, and an MBA), Koch is no slouch, but the late-Joseph Owades was a flat-out genius. With a PhD in biochemistry from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and an early job in the fermentation sciences department at Fleischmann's, Owades probably knew more about fermentation and alcohol metabolism than perhaps any man who has ever lived. Koch calls him, in fact, "The best brewer who's ever lived." He used that immense knowledge to eventually become a consultant for most of the progenitors of America's early craft brewing movement such as Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, New Amsterdam Brewing in New York, and, yes, the Boston Beer Company. There he became good friends with Koch, helped perfect Boston Lager, and passed on to Koch his little yeast secret.
You see, what Owades knew was that active dry yeast has an enzyme in it called alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH). Roughly put, ADH is able to break alcohol molecules down into their constituent parts of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Which is the same thing that happens when your body metabolizes alcohol in its liver. Owades realized if you also have that enzyme in your stomach when the alcohol first hits it, the ADH will begin breaking it down before it gets into your bloodstream and, thus, your brain.
"And it will mitigate – not eliminate – but mitigate the effects of alcohol!" Koch told me.I think this is wildly wrong. Almost all enzymes are temperature- and pH-dependent. That is to say, they work best (transforming chemical starting materials to product, or vice versa) when they are in a certain pH range and temperature. I find it unlikely that yeast alcohol dehydrogenase works well in the highly acidic environment of the stomach. Also, why would the enzymes in the stomach (pepsin, etc.) fail to digest the yeast?
Note for people who find this via Google: this advice is almost certainly wrong. Dr. Owades was probably incorrect; if you take yeast with your beer, it will probably have no effect on your blood alcohol level.
(While we're at it, has anyone heard of an alcohol cure where it's a combination of hard candies and pure oxygen? This must be an urban legend as well.)