Why Do Guitars Taste of Hops?

Edinburgh Science Festival


April 6th


url.jpgWhen I walked in the Dissecting Room of the Summerhall to the ambisonic soundscape of Kraftwerk, & took my seat at a round table in front of 6 pairs of exotic beers, I thought to myself, ‘I fuc£ing love science, me!’ A few moments later Barnsley-born Pete Brown idled onto stage with a bottle of beer in his hand like a good-looking Les Dawson, & cracked on with his investigations into whether music makes beer taster better, & if it does, why? In his pre-amble, he declared he was proud to be in the Summerhall, a homecoming if you will, because it was four years previously that he’d played a bit-part in ‘Sensory Dining,’ from which catalyst his four-year odyssey & investigations into the science behind music & sensorary taste evolved.

url.jpgBefore our glorified beer-tasting session kicked off, we witnessed a man funnier & more confident than most professional comedians off load a wide plethora of interesting information into our minds, from retronasal taste to musical synesthesia. Using excellent VJs & nightclub style lighting, Pete immersed us in his journey, an anecdotal lecture into why beer & music have been pleasant bedfellows since time immemorial.  Then we got to the science bit, where Pete made us sip different beers to different songs from his personal collection.

995328_10153704382708246_8147680922246057836_n.jpgTo Goose Island’s Urban Wheat he attached Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon,’ while the 8.5 percent Duvel got The Pixies ‘Debaser.‘ When he explained that the Joy Division’s dark, brooding & oily album, Unknown Pleasures, was recorded only a stone’s throw from the brewers of the equally  dark, brooding & oily Old Tom in Stockport, I thought for a moment there might be something in it. But by the end of it all, after tossing us into a shipwreck barrel of conflicting opinions & subjectivity, Pete admitted that the whole things was ‘remarkably inconsistent.‘ So science, perhaps not, or at least not yet, but getting drunk & listening to decent tunes while trying out tasty new beers is always a winning combo!

Reviewer : Damo Bullen


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