Seeing is Believing

Imagine a glass of deep brown beer. What aromas and flavors do you expect? Nutty, perhaps? Or maybe toffee or chocolate? If you could picture the beer, you could most likely imagine its aromas, flavors, and mouthfeel based on your experience.

Now, what if the beer was actually a pale ale made to look deep brown using food coloring? We wouldn't describe it as nutty, toffee, or chocolate, or would we? Psychological research suggests that our experience is heavily influenced by visual information. We tend to experience what we expect because we tend to process information that confirms our existing beliefs. If we believe deep brown beer to be nutty and chocolatey, we tend to pick up those notes. This is why beers like golden stout (golden-hued beer with cocoa and coffee flavors) and black IPA betray our expectations and play with our senses.

So next time you are about to enjoy a beer, maybe you could acknowledge your own bias and experience the beer without expectations. It may lead to new experiences when you open yourself to possibilities.


Asa B.

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