Some scientists get to have all the fun, especially those who live in the land of beer. A team of researchers led by Dr. Felipe Reinoso Cavalho of Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium set up an experiment to investigate whether music and packaging affect one's perception of taste. The big takeaway: Yes, it does, and apparently "significantly" so, reports Medical Daily. The researchers partnered with the Brussels Beer Project and UK band the Editors to test a porter-style beer created especially for the experiment, they report in Science Daily. They had three different groups taste it in under different conditions, one with an unlabeled bottle, one with a labeled bottle, and the last with a labeled bottle while listening to a particular song by the band.
The third group liked it best by far, while those who already knew the song liked the beer even more, the scientists report in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. "It seems that the added pleasure that the song brought into the experience was transferred into the beer's flavor." (Researchers say the beer, "an Earl Gray infusion that produced citrus notes," was actually created to reflect the band's music, in particular the song "Oceans of Light.") Cavalho calls these findings "just the beginning," noting that sound might actually affect particular flavor attributes like bitterness and creaminess, and that sounds could even lead people to make healthier food and drink decisions. (Apparently a full moon during fermentation also impacts the taste of beer, at least in Belgium.)