So, now that I’ve briefly introduced bitterness, I suppose I should step back and start with a more basic subject: how you use your 5 senses and the 5 basic tastes to enjoy beer.
The 5 Senses:
We all remember from grade school that the human body’s five senses are sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. It’s fairly obvious that smell and taste play a part in experiencing beer, but what about the others?
Our eyesight comes from light in the visible range of the spectrum striking our retinas and exciting molecules which transmit a signal for our brain to interpret. In beer, we notice the color, the clarity, the foam thickness, and the lacing in the glass. All of these things are very important in building our impression of the beer. It’s amazing how the color of the beer can bias the drinker before they’ve even tasted it. I’ve seen taste panels ascribe caramel-like flavor descriptors to pale American lagers with caramel food coloring added to mask the true color. Continue reading