Beer and the common cold

February 23, 2009 | admin

Great has been the debate about drinking beer while fighting a cold, as master Yoda would say. But, I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

The health affects of beer are noted here, and it’s not the yeast, the malt or the hops that cure what ails you, it’s the alcohol that tends to have the greatest impact on your health.

Still, what do you do when you’ve got a nasty headcold, and you still want to enjoy a good beer? Is this even wise? Which beers do you recommend oh sick one?

Well, to start, if you want to drink a beer while you’re fighting off a nasty headcold, then go ahead and do it. Too much beer will lower your immune system’s already flagging libido, so try to stick to one or two. And, since you cannot possibly taste or smell anything, try to pick a beer with some added nutrients.

Our own Kettlehouse Brewing Co. puts out an elixer known as Ginseng Pale Ale. This brew, available only in the tap room, has the benefit of added ginseng, which is known to have health-giving properties.

If you can find it, Wisconsin brewery BluCreek’s Zen (Green Tea) IPA might give you a health dose of catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. I could explain what this is, but I’m a beer writer, not a green tea writer. Suffice it to say, green tea in your beer can’t hurt you, and what can’t hurt you only makes you better, right?

Or, you could try and add some berry into your beer consumption. Berries, especially blue ones, are known to have a lot of incredible health attributes. So, it’s no stretch to think that berries in beer might be a good remedy for a head cold, or at least a good excuse to drink a beer while you’re sick. There are many blueberry beers out there, but if you want real taste, try some of Montana’s huckleberry beers. I’m thinking maybe Lang Creek’s Huckleberry N’ Honey or Great Northern Brewing’s Wild Huckleberry Wheat Lager. On a side note, neither of those breweries have a working website, which I think is cheesy, but I put the link in in case they get around to fixing the problem.



  1. andrew says:

    oh yeah… almost forgot… beer and acid reflux does not mix well… stay away unless you are willing to have one problem over the other…

  2. andrew says:

    Just to update my previous comment. After about 2 hours… my chest cough is coming back… (hope my brain doesnt explode from all the coughing) I am still sniffle free… woo hoo i can still breathe! was worth the couple hours without coughing… but there has gotta be something better and longer lasting than a beer…

  3. andrew says:

    I have had a beer or two in the past when i was sick and noticed that it helped get rid of the symptoms. i felt a lot better. As luck would have it I have a cold right now. I was coughing and my nose was stuffed up… i had a beer… nose no longer stuffed up… i am no longer coughing… is my cold gone? no… but i do feel wayyyy better. I would guess that the beer caused a slight dehydration which is why i do not have a runny nose. (feels great to breath) Oh… and i was coughing so much i thought i would give myself a concussion… well… i am not coughing at the moment and gotta say… the pressure i was feeling from constant coughing… gone. my head doesnt feel like it will explode. I think the effects of beer on a cold are worth studying. I would trade slight dehydration for symptom relief any day… I would try to account for what point in the cold you are at. (i am at day 5 already) Who knows if a beer on day one or two would have helped… but i am at the point where it is mostly in my chest and the symptoms being chest congestion and runny nose and head ache from coughing constantly… gotta say the beer helped me a lot. Oh… be responsible… dont drink and drive etc… obviously make sure you are not on any meds that would be impacted by the alcohol…

  4. Yeah, I’ve had an awful time when I thought I could have a beer while on antibiotics. It was like I was 16 again and was completely zonked after just half a bottle. There is the saying, “do what makes you feel better” so I guess a beer falls into that category. Sometimes, if I know I definitely am not going to make it into work the next day, I’ll enjoy a beer or similar drink at home, as it will likely put me into a light slumber and I can get a proper sleep rather than be up all night tossing and turning (just as long as you wake up to phone in sick, or someone can do it for you and you’re taking any medication at the time).

  5. KillerB says:

    I have always sort of enjoyed the special buzz I get when I do a shooter of Niquil followed by a beer chaser….just before I pass out

  6. common cold is caused by virus so the logical thing to do is to boost our immune system by eating fruits that are high in Vitamin-C. this would reduce our chances of catching the common cold

  7. Slats says:

    This may seem obvious but it tends to be a bad idea to drink a beer when you are taking medications for the cold :)

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