Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My first sip of beer...

In honor of my talk about beer next month, I had my first sip of beer ever...and was pleasantly surprised! The stink of the stale beer of my youth, coupled with the fact that I can't tolerate alcohol, limited my desire to taste beer in the past, but for the sake of science, I decided to take a sip. 

It was a local beer from Lord Hobo, Woburn, Massachusetts, pale and cloudy, with very little head, a Session IPA, a style that was originally brewed in England in World War I for workers in armament factories. The requirement was (so I was told) that the brew should have less than 5% alcohol, to prevent drunkenness — this version clocked in at 4.5%.
This picture, from the Lord Hobo Brewing Company website, shows exactly what the beer looked like.
My son-in-law declared it "hoppy." What I sensed was a grapefruity bitterness, with a little tickle and sourness from the carbonation, and bitterness with a slight prickle lingering at the finish: a "clean" fresh impression overall. Nothing like anything I had tasted before, though on thinking about it, it was a bit like the Pompelmo (grapefruit) Fanta from Italy that my father loved (now discontinued, btw). 

For dinner, my son-in-law had a mildly spicy and salty, definitely umami meatloaf, with a rich barbecue sauce. He said that the beer mellowed out with this dish, so that it was less sharp, bitter, and flavorful, but still refreshing, and palate-cleansing. Later, well after he had finished the meal, when he drank the last sips of the beer, he said the original qualities of the beer returned.

Here's what I think is happening at the level of the taste buds, namely that the beer activated the cool/receptors (it was refreshing!) and my son-in-law's meatloaf activated the warm/hot receptors so the beer's qualities were muted. 

More about how this all works in another post. This beer thing really has me enthralled!

=>> Don't worry, am not forgetting tea — am also busy creating an extended course about pairing in general and pairing with tea in particular! Stay tuned!

And meanwhile, take a look at my book "Three Basic Teas & How to Enjoy Them" by Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace. You can find it on Amazon!

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