A few years ago, BBC news reported that the old advertising slogan that “Guinness Is Good for You” might actually be true. A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin reported that they tested the health-giving properties of stout against lagers by giving the ale to dogs who had narrowed arteries, similar to those in heart disease. The result: Dogs given Guinness had reduced clotting activity in their blood, but not the dogs who were given lagers (Heineken).
The researchers told a meeting of the American Heart Association that they saw the most benefits from 24 fluid ounces (just over an Imperial pint) taken at mealtimes. The antioxidant compounds in Guinness were similar to those found in some fruits and vegetables, which slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls, the researchers said.
More recently, the Chicago Tribune also touted the health benefits of Guinness (and other stouts), including this pearl: “Feeling down? Have a few pints. You'd be amazed by how fast your Debbie Downer worries get chased away by a good foamy stout. And did that fellow at the end of the bar just get more attractive?”
In the 1920s, Guinness did in fact advertise that “A Guinness a day is good for you,” and post-operative patients and blood donors would be given Guinness based on the belief that it was high in iron. Guinness was forced to rescind that claim and Diageo, the company that now manufactures Guinness, said, “We never make any medical claims for our drinks.”
Regardless of whether Guinness and other stouts actually have some health benefits, there's little debate over the fact that a pint or two (in moderation, of course) just makes you feel better.
To test these theories for yourself, head over to Public House at AT&T Park on Thursday (Nov. 3) beginning at 4 p.m. and raise a glass to the opaque elixir in honor of the first International Stout Day. Public House will feature:
- Avery Czar from the cellar
- Firestone-Walker Velvet Merlin
- North Coast Old #38 on nitro
- Bottles of 2010 Firestone-Walker Parabola
- Speakeasy's Sutro Chocolate Milk Stout
- a few bottles of Stone 2010 Russian Imperial Stout
* Pictured is a beer float with Grand Teton Black Cauldron Imperial Stout and vanilla ice cream at Monk's Kettle.