Sorry, sorry, sorry, best to get that joke out of the way first. The point is, I’m sick. Sick enough that I shouldn’t be in my office, one arm’s length or sneezing radius from my healthy cohabitants. And after a weeklong diet of chamomile and ginger, I’m itching for a beer — not a fancy-man Belgian-style anything with a “nose,” but a big, hoppy India pale ale. An IPA that walks around with one of these.

Why? Because when you have a cold, your tongue can’t take subtlety. It’s like reading road signs in a blizzard, or going to the symphony with earplugs. For American beer drinkers, the lush, sticky nectar of H. lupulus is comfort food. Or Similac. Stone. Smuttynose. Heavy Seas. Williamsburg AleWerks. These IPAs will take your hot toddy out behind the bar and tell it what’s what, and you’ll never want to see a teacup again.

Photo by Kanko* via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution License