File under “Obvious Things We All Knew from Life Experience”: The taste of beer is enough to make the drinker feel happier, before the effects of alcohol even come into play. According to new research, which focused on a male demographic, the flavor of malts and hops alone causes a release of dopamine in the brain.

The study was the first of its kind to focus on the role of flavor, not intoxication, while drinking. All of the men surveyed reported wanting to continue drinking after taking their first sip of beer, and those with a family history of alcohol abuse showed a higher dopamine response. The findings didn’t surprise the researchers, but they could lend some insight into the role that genetics plays in reward pathways, which might create a predisposition for drinking.

If only nonalcoholic beers tasted better…

[via The Scientist and Fox News]