Two of Canada’s favourite drinks (for very different reasons), beer and coffee affect the brain in different ways. While both help “facilitate” social interaction, many people intuitively understand how but don’t know specific channels.
Caffeine works by binding with receptors in your brain that would otherwise make you feel sleepy or drowsy. Instead, you become more alert and are able to work more diligently on tasks that would otherwise seem mundane and put you to sleep. Studies have shown that repetitive tasks with small cognitive overhead see the most benefit from caffeine, as opposed to reactive performance-based tasks.
Alcohol on the other hand inhibits short-term memory and lets you focus on being creative. With top-level thinking and focus inhibited, people are more readily able to make connections between two non-obvious topics, and move on to new topics without lingering too long.
Here’s a little infographic: