Beer continues to be the drink of choice for many Americans. This is based on a recent survey by Gallup Analytics, one of the world’s most credible research and analytics organization. This finding has been consistent for many years and proves how much Americans love their hops. With its crisp, smooth and refreshing taste, this is not at all surprising. However, not everyone loves the taste of beer and there are people who gets turned off by its bitter, often sour flavor. Science tells us why.
An American Favorite
In the 2017 Consumption poll conducted by Gallup, 4 out of 10 alcohol drinkers prefer beer over other alcoholic beverages. Out of 1,021 adult respondents aged 18 and older, 40% prefer beer followed by wine (30%) and liquor (26%). The study also revealed that beer is most popular among college educated males.
According to the study, over the last 80 years, Americans have been consistently consuming alcohol and beer remains to be their most preferred alcoholic drink. The boom in beer sales over the past few decades is a strong indication of how much Americans enjoy this drink. But as much as Americans love their beers, there are still those who hate it. Why is this so?
Brains and Bitter Receptors
If you are one of those who cannot stand the taste of beer, blame your parents. As it turns out, genetics play an important role in how our brains are wired to react to bitter flavours which often triggers a warning mechanism to help us avoid potentially harmful food and drinks. This is because genetically speaking, humans are predisposed to associate bitterness with toxicity.
Fortunately, not everything that tastes bitter, including beer, is harmful to our health. However, how we perceive and tolerate bitterness can vary from one person to another. This is called genetic functional polymorphisms or genetic variations. Read here to find out more about bitter receptors that are responsible for alcohol dependence.
Other factors such as the number of taste buds we have in our mouth, and the carbonation in beer also play significant roles in how we are likely or unlikely to enjoy the taste of beer. This is also the reason why we may like certain types of beer and avoid others.
Depending on some of the factors mentioned in the article, you may find yourself favoring some variants of beer over others. The two major types of beer available in the market today, Lager and Ale, have different flavors that may or may not appeal to you depending on your genetic variations.
Lagers are cold-brewed and have a mild and sometimes fruity taste. Some popular examples of Lagers are Pilsners, Bock, and Märzen. On the other hand, Ales including Porters, Stouts, and Irish Red Ales which are brewed at room temperature, have bitter and stronger flavors. You can read more about beer types and styles, here.
So, if you find yourself wondering why there are people who say they cannot stand the taste of beer, tell them it’s not their fault. Beer is the one of the best tasting alcoholic beverages there is, it’s just their genetic make-up telling them it’s not.