Nicole Garneau (1), Lindsay Barr (1); (1) Flavor Lab, LLC, Denver, CO, U.S.A.
In the 1970s, representatives from the American Society of Brewing Chemists, the European Brewing Convention, and the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, developed a system of flavor terminology to identify, define and communicate attributes in beer. The terminology system they developed is universally recognized as the beer flavor wheel. Despite the huge advance in standardization that this work allowed, the authors recognized that their contribution was only the beginning. In the publication, Meilgaard et al. made a call-to-action to the industry to continue the task of bringing the terminology up-to-date. Since its debut we have seen great advances in both brewing and sensory science, and yet the most recognized tool in the beer flavor toolkit has largely remained stagnant. Inspired by Meilgaard’s original paper and call to action, as well as discussions with leaders in the brewing community where complacency with the flavor wheel and it’s shortcomings has become mainstream, the authors here propose a radically different model for beer flavor, the Beer Flavor Map. This new tool is scientifically aligned with the sensory research of the last four decades, accounts for new complexities in brewing science and is also accessible for brewing professionals and consumers alike. The purpose of the Beer Flavor Map is to provide a scientifically accurate model that is both user-friendly and rooted in up-to-date, published scientific research.
Nicole Garneau is a geneticist who studies sensory perception and the interactions of sensory attributes in pairings. She completed her B.A. degree in genetics at Rutgers and her Ph.D. degree in microbiology at Colorado State University. As cofounder of Flavor Lab, LLC, she is responsible for the taste and mouthfeel components of the new sensory tool, the Beer Flavor Map. In addition to conducting research, Nicole actively promotes public participation in scientific research through crowd-sourcing and through accessible language and dialogue. For this reason, she is a sought-after speaker, has done numerous media interviews and is featured in other media, including the book, Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pros. She is active in the brewing community as a member of ASBC, a founding member of the Beer & Food Working Group, and an advisory board member of the Fermentation Sciences program at Colorado State University. When she’s not in the lab, or consulting on sensory perception, she’s dropping science gems online as @yopearlscigirl. Visit drnicolegarneau.com or BeerFlavorMap.com to connect and learn more.