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Archive for May, 2019

Seeing the World through Beer Flavoured Glasses

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

In some ways the experience of a beer (or mead or wine) is very much like standing in front of a framed photograph on a gallery wall. About 90 per cent of what the person experiencing that beer (or photograph) takes away from their encounter involves what they brought to the table as baggage. Think about that for a minute, because I didn’t just pull the idea out of thin air. Why do you think we all have different preferences, likes and dislikes, when it comes to food and drink? Why do two people looking at the same photograph see divergent pictures?

With food and drink, taste plus aroma equals flavour. Added to that, biological differences at the individual level make some people more able to taste specific off flavours; even certified beer judges can be unable to detect obvious flavour flaws in their glass. And one would expect this extends beyond off-flavours into the realm of experiencing complex flavour interactions in a given beverage. Supertasters are an obvious example. After all, why should this sensitivity difference only relate to off-flavours or errors? It doesn’t.

Flavour and preference have a cultural context – the foods and flavours you were exposed to from the womb until this time of your life impact your personal preferences. The World around us shapes our perceptions of good and bad flavours based on exposure and cultural reinforcement. For example, I gag eating herring that another person might savour and crave. Some of us appreciate wine, others don’t.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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