A Matter Of Taste

In the aftermath of the St. Patrick’s Day celebratory antics, most heavily indulged in within the US, such as Parades, the wearing of green hats, the eating of huge plates of corn beef and cabbage and, most important of all, the drinking of stout of the Guinness persuasion, the discussion rages of the question of good taste. Of the Guinness that is.

There is a major question here: ‘Why does Guinness taste one way in Ireland and quite different everywhere else?’ Kotz and his colleagues (1) report on a valiant effort to provide an answer to this vexed question. Ignoring the scurrilous rumor that the good people of the Emerald Isle keep the best for home and then export the second rate, the researchers ventured forth with rulers (for head depth), thermometers (to ensure that cold beer was rightly eschewed for liquid at ‘a la chambre’), stopwatches (to ensure that the proper reverence to the pour, look and drink ritual was observed) and finally prime taste buds from four different countries of origin that were polished and ready to go.

A total of fourteen countries were visited. Seventy-one pubs in thirty-three cities were sampled. Forty percent of the tastings were in Ireland. That meant that an excellent baseline was established. But the researchers managed to find the fortitude to venture farther afield.

The result? Yes, we were right all along. Guinness tastes better in Ireland, 30% better in fact, and please note, that this was for a group of non-expert tasters.

1. Kotz et al,  J. Food Sci. 76, 1750, (2011)

4 Responses so far.

  1. jazgal says:

    It is a serious question, and I am relieved to hear that it has been addressed with the full scientific approach. Cheers!

  2. Yes a very serious approach with 71 pubs in a year making 5 days per pub indicating dedication above and beyond the normal.

  3. jazgal says:

    AH, such dedication!!

  4. I think we should conduct our own study ;)

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