Everyone knows alcohol and music go hand in hand. When you sit down to have a drink, it is likely because you’re relaxing. Music is also used to relax, as it occupies brain space that is normally consumed with stressful thoughts, such as work. Thus, people often listen to music while drinking alcohol. But surely you already knew this. What you don’t know is that music can actually alter how people perceive the taste of beer.
No freaking way, right? Like…that sounds a little insane. Well, not according to a scientific study out of Belgium, in which participants tasted a beer and then recorded their tasting experience. Each beer they tasted was given to them again directly after to taste while different music played in the background, but they didn’t know it was the same beer.
To make sure the responses were uncompromised, the scientists conducted the test without any background sound, which showed no modulation between the first and second responses. At the end of the study, the scientists discovered that sound significantly informs perceived taste of the beer, i.e. sweetness, bitterness, sourness, and alcohol content.
According to the scientists, a “Disney style track” made people perceive their beers to taste sweeter, while deep, intense bass made for a more bitter perception.
The scientists also concluded that an individual’s music taste could affect the way a specific style of music affects the perception of the beer. For example, if a person finds punk rock to be overwhelming, then the beer they’re drinking can be perceived that way too if punk rock is playing in the background.
Lastly, the study also proved that volume played a part. If the atmosphere is loud, it can make people negatively perceive their taste versus tunes that are played at a quieter volume.
This discovery may seem silly at first, but it really is quite a phenomenal piece of information to absorb. Now, when you’re drinking your cocktail, pint of beer, or glass wine and you feel like it isn’t sitting well with your palate, simply switch up the soundtrack and see what happens. It sounds far out, but it really works.