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Posted on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 9:50 a.m.

Can a beer cure a cold?

By Patti Smith

Instead of pairing food and beer this week, Boyfriend Ken and I had no choice but to pair beer and cold. (Or, in my case, sinus infection). We found ourselves desperately ill on Sunday evening and no real taste for anything except…beer.

So a quick trip to Falsetta's later, and we had ourselves Atwater’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Shamans Porter and North Peak’s Dark Angel Cherry Porter. Boyfriend Ken is more of a fruit beer fan than I am, and I am more of a bourbon barrel aged fan than he is, so it sort of worked itself out. Let's examine one beer at a time.

Atwaters: It poured a nice dark brown hue, slightly fizzy beige head. The smell was all roasted malts and bourbon — yum! Definite bourbon taste, medium to medium heavy mouthfeel and creamy. Nice balance between bitter hops, coffee, chocolate and lightly smoked wood. I looked it up on the Googlez and found that it weighs in at 6.8 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). (I also found out that a bottle is around 200 calories; information that I didn’t need or want, but it’s there now).

North Peak: Poured a beautiful dark brown with slight head. The smell was roasty malts, and it had a medium to medium-light mouth feel. The biggest surprise was how bitter this beer was. The bitter hops overwhelmed the other, more subtle flavors that I think were there. We did not get any cherry taste, except maybe a very light cherry finish. It is 5 percent ABV, so definitely drinkable, but not what we were expecting.

Verdict? I would choose the Atwaters, simply because the idea of being sick and drinking bourbon (well, sort of) appeals to me. Also, I simply liked the beer much, much better. Boyfriend Ken gave positive reviews for the North Peak, but it was not the cherry taste that he was expecting.

Oh, and did the beer cure the cold? Man, you think I'd be sitting here blogging if I'd discovered the cure? Okay it didn't cure it, but it sure did help!

Patti Smith is a beer drink & brewer who lives in Ann Arbor.