Friday, 6 April 2012

Does beer have medicinal qualities or what?

Right, just to give you the background to this, I've been poorly.  I don't mean man-flu or whatever the derogatory term for a man's illness the female of the species choose to be dismissive about.  I mean I've had a sore throat...for ages, and now it's turned into a full blown head cold so bad that I have been forced to consult a 'neti-pot' for some simple relief (actually they are quite good, I recommend them).  

Rest assured (in case you are worried), I've seen the doctor and it is apparently nothing sinister and doesn't even require antibiotics - and no, I didn't take any time off work and yes, I did still get up and do the early shifts with the kids.

Ah, I hear you say, but if you have been ill, I bet you haven't been drinking have you?  Well, you'd be wrong in surmising that.  Very wrong indeed, and you'll have lost your bet.

The life I have chosen as someone who reviews beer has meant that my actual reviewing has been somewhat stymied as I would want to get the best out of any beer that I reviewed.  So instead I chose, nay welcomed this ongoing throaty nemesis to be part of a grander experiment, one that spoke to all man.  The answer to the question that is as old as life itself...what beer should I drink when I am unwell?  Where do I find the answers I hear you ask?  Reader, I wrote them underneath here.

The first question to resolve for me was, should I waste decent booze on me whilst my ability to enjoy it is curtailed?

The simple answer to this is, YES, of course you idiot.  Beer is one of my few vices, so even to glean some enjoyment after a hard day at the office (other than that my wife, children, dog and Xbox obviously bring me), makes it worthwhile.

The second question to tackle involved me identifying the symptoms quite precisely in order that I came up with the right 'treatment'.  In the early stages (bearing in mind I started feeling grotty at the end of February) I was suffering from a sore throat and an ongoing sniff (some of you may have spotted it on my videos, apologies for that).  So I experimented with several kinds of beer.  So, what then, is the best medicine for this stage of illness?

In 3rd place, a chocolate porter was quite good, and I went for the Meantime one several nights running, not a big bottle and a high-ish ABV, so no bloating involved.  Quite smooth as well and the flavours were not subtle.  

In 2nd place, I experimented with a few different stouts, in my weakened state, they were all much of a muchness in terms of taste but I picked up the basic and obvious tastes, but the generally lower ABV meant I could lubricate my throat for a longer while.

In 1st place though and by an absolute country mile, it was the DunkelWeiss Beer from the Arcobrau (which is sold by Waitrose).  I am surprised that this stuff is not available on presciption via the NHS.  The smell, the taste and most importantly how it felt caressing my mouth and throat before winding its merry way down to my belly was absolutely spot on.  Two of these and I would feel a temporary release from the chains of man-pain.  Maybe there is something medicinal about the cloves?  Maybe the water quality is the thing?   Maybe the carbonation is just right to make it all better?  Maybe Germany was right the whole time (no, wait, not that one).

You can clearly see the winner, well done Arcobrau.  The only difficulty is that Waitrose have run out (mostly because I bought it all).  Luckily for me though, I am no longer in need because as mentioned above, this bug has now matured and turned into a massive headcold, so I think I am going to have to alter my medication.  My head tells me that the way to go might be quite spicy, mega hoppy beer, my heart says go with the Arcobrau, my hands say, stop typing and just go and get yourself a beer.  Ok I will.  

If you've got any recommendations for beer as medicine, please feel free to detail them in the comments below.


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