Shower (Beer) Thoughts #11

What makes a great beer?

Sometimes a great beer is the crackery smell of a pilsner, or the resinous pine sap bite of a crystal clear IPA. Great beers consist of multiple layers, but flavor is what keeps you coming back for another. Flavor is the combination of both taste and smell. As mucus membranes in your nose and your 10,000 taste buds on your tongue detect chemicals in the beer, they come together to create a flavor profile that sticks with you. Taste and smell can trigger intense emotions so that the memories you’re making at any moment can become linked to flavors as well. The connection between flavor and memory is also a major factor in choosing what you drink for a second, third, or hell, even a hundredth time. It’s likely that we evolved to connect past memories to flavors not to choose which beers we like, but which plants, berries, or any edibles to avoid in days of hunting and gathering.

Today while hunting for, and gathering beer, it’s not just about coming back for more. Sometimes it’s about taking the leap and trying a beer for the first time. Flavor, memory, and our biological underpinnings can make a familiar beer even more familiar the same way that successful marketing and solid branding make a new beer feel familiar in the first place. The marketing aspect could include polished, up to date social media accounts, while beer branding relies a ton on what’s on the can or the bottle. And as most of you reading know, I’m a sucker for a nice label design.

New branding has been released over the past couple of days for a brewery who’s beers have never failed to impress. Brewery Ommegang, from Cooperstown New York, has always crafted beers that are simple yet complex, and that are classic while displaying innovation. I can now honestly say that they have labels that convey those points. Have you seen the new designs yet? They are seriously gorgeous. I have very few words to describe them besides the increasingly louder exclamations of “damn” I made while scrolling through all of their Instagram. Rare Vos, Hennepin, and Nirvana just to name a few are all presented in different colors, each with silhouettes that represent the story behind the liquid inside the bottle. Speaking of the bottles, Ommegang doesn’t fill the standard long neck glass bottle with their beers. The type of bottle depends whether there’s six of them or four. Six packs come in the shorter necked twelve ounce bottles, and four packs come in the twelve ounce baby version of their 750 mL bottles. Regardless of the shape, you’ll know you’re looking at a beer by Brewery Ommegang with this fresh look that will be on shelves within a few months.

So screw it, judge a new beer by its label or pick an old favorite.

Nonetheless, create memories and drink great beer.


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