You've heard of beer goggles, where drinking beer can enhance the attractiveness of our visual experiences, but it turns out there are also some sense impressions that can enhance the taste of beer, reports Phys.org.
Notably, if you pair the right music with the right beer, the tunes can actually make the beer taste better, at least according to a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
Concert-goers and festival-attendees might not find this all that surprising — beer and music seem to go together in a variety of venues, after all — but the research is some of the first to show that a range of multisensory information, from sound to shape to color, can influence the way we perceive taste.
The study was led by Dr. Felipe Reinoso Cavalho from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and KU Leuven, and was conducted in collaboration with the Brussels Beer Project and the U.K. band the Editors. A porter-style ale was produced to pair with the latest album from the band called "In Dreams."
To test whether this pairing actually worked, the researchers invited 231 drinkers to experience the beer under three different experimental situations. The first group, which was the control group, drank the beer in an unlabeled bottle and didn't listen to any music. A second group drank the beer in a labeled bottle, but without listening to music. A third group, meanwhile, drank beer that was labeled and they listened to the song "Oceans of Light," from the band's latest album, while they drank.
The label on the bottle didn't change participants' enjoyment of the beer nearly as much as the music did. Participants in the third group, which listened to the song while they drank, reported significantly greater enjoyment than members of either of the other groups.
"It seems that the added pleasure that the song brought into the experience was transferred into the beer's flavor," explained Cavalho.
The research could pave the way toward alcohol and food pairings with music. Venues and restaurants could make use of these concepts to cater to patrons. Cavalho and his team are already looking at ways to more closely examine how certain sounds might be associated with particular tastes.
"We believe that this is just the beginning," said Cavalho. "We will also be able to work with other food and beverage types and progressively include other senses in this pairing process, such as vision, smells, touch."