Frankly, I don’t. I cannot differentiate one from another. So I conducted this test to find out if I am the savorly challenged person around or there are hordes like me.
IT industry is considered to be filled with people who can drink pitcher full of it, so they could be no better test subjects. There is one friend of mine who drank a whole 750ml bottle of beer in 19 seconds flat (I do not think I can even drink water that fast)
So with this aim in mind, I started with the most freely available human resources at my disposal. Company colleagues! I stocked the bar with 6 different kinds of beer, 5 different kinds of soda (for the tea-totlers)
Beer I picked up was:
1) Kingfisher (stuck to Premium variation only… as strong and lager might be too close for anybody to judge)
5) Knock Out
6) Hayward’s 5000
Everybody was encouraged to have a sip, smell and sample them before they were handed out the unknown drink. At later point of time, to simplify the competition, I also allowed people to taste all the 6 brands after the test, so that they could make a second guess.
To my surprise, out of the 15 contestants who gave the test, only 2 could correctly guess their brands. Being a dice player, I thought the odds of the random guess would be around 3 correct guesses. The most interesting observation was when I asked the guy who seems to be the foremost proponent of organizing beer parties on 3 different occasions, his favorite Foster’s beer, and all 3 times he went wrong.
Now there could be only 2 reasons why people could not detect their favorite drink
1) They lack what it takes to be a connoisseur
2) All the different brands taste the same, and it’s a marketing gimmick which decides what price to be quoted for which.
Well luckily I had another control test to justify my notions. The Cola test!
This time 25 participants and most of them took both of the tests. The Cola used were
2) Diet Pepsi
4) Thumbs up
5) One mystery drink without the label.
To make the competition a bit challenging, I discouraged people to sample these drinks beforehand.
To my surprise, almost 1/3 of the people could guess the drinks accurately. 2 of them just looked at the glass in sunlight, smelled and accurately told me which drink was which. To discount for flukes and random guesses, I made them retake the test. Luckily most of the retakes were also accurate.
The only explanation I could think for this could be
1) The taste of beer fluctuates drastically between batches.
2) The taste depends on chillness. So it changes a lot from the time u take the first sip to the time u finish it. Hence the mind is not able to register one particular taste with even the brand you relish.
3) All the breweries use similar raw material and processes. Hence they come up essentially the same product, but different packages.