I have a cold, and I’m looking into my fridge. So, pairing geeks! What beer goes best with a cold? I’m not talking medicinal beers here. Guinness built that rep a century ago. No I’m talking about comfort as Duke and UNC face off.

Given that my nose is pretty much out of commission and, along with it, all those taste buds, my first thoughts tend towards malt and alcohol. I can’t imagine grasping any of the subtleties of hops with this congestion. And do I want astringency with this sore throat? I’m thinking something thick to coat the throat and keep the coughing down and also something pretty heavy to sooth the fevered brow.

Of course, there is that bottle of Black Butte XXI hiding in the back of my fridge. Was all this analysis led by that awareness? Did the existence of the bottle predetermine the perspective?

Interestingly enough, on my Facebook page most are talking about a big hoppy beer, like Moylan’s Hopsickle Triple IPA. One comment suggested a big, malty beer could be an unnecessary “expectorant?” Of course, there was the suggestion of a “big freaking bottle of Samichlaus.” I’ve got some 1993 hiding out somewhere around here. Still, the hops recommendations kept coming. Hell, Judy Ashworth simply wrote “Let the hops rule.”

So, I did. I had to pick up my daughter, who is a hostess at Tyler’s Taproom. I went early and ordered a Seeing Double IPA from Foothills Brewery. I could feel the hops, the bite, the texture; but not the nuance—the aroma and spiciness. Like listening to a great rhythm section, but no lead.