Are we supposed to hate bitter beers?
BE Beer head

Indian Pale Ales, the famous IPA’s, are probably the most famous craft beers around the world. Even the most traditional beer countries, such as Germany and Belgium, have some craft breweries (even some of the giant breweries) investing in this hoppy style.

But for some craft beer lovers, IPA’s are just too bitter. Some people enjoy more beers with less bitterness and with more malty taste.

And this would be explained by genetics. Some studies show that this aversion to bitterness comes written in our DNA.

Dr. Nicole Garneau, a geneticist at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, explained that human taste is a sophisticated sensor that is pre-wired to keep us safe and alive.

Our brain recognizes a sweet taste as good because it represents calories and they are necessary for the human body. The bitterness is a red flag to our brain because that food may be poisonous and shouldn’t be eaten.

This theory helps to explain also the reason why many people don’t like sour beers. The sour taste sends a warning message to our brain because the food could be spoiled.

And since our bodies need salt, the brain recognizes it as a good taste, just like sugar.

Although our genes determines that we don’t have an inclination to hoppy beers, outside environmental factors play also a big part in our life and can override our genetic predilections.

Conditioning allows your brain to work around these genes, changing your taste perception.

A good example is coffee: when you were a kid ,you probably didn’t like it because it was too bitter.

But with exposure through out your life, you learned that this bitter drink won’t kill you and they can be good for you. And now you probably love coffee!

Therefore, the bad reaction that lots of people have while tasting an IPA for the first time is completely normal. Most of them need some time and exposure to this type of beer to get used to the taste and « convince » their body that IPA is not going to kill it.

The love for hoppy beers may not be hardwired into our DNA, but everyone can acquire this specific type of taste and enjoy a nice hoppy beer.

And if your body is not able to go around your genes and you still don’t like hoppy beers, don’t worry.

At the end of the day, what really matters is you !! Then drink the beer that gives you pleasure!


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