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Beers and tears

February 11, 2011

Here’s something to think about as you sip your next beer.

Beer may taste like angels crying, but...

That beer is up to 95% water. That’s quite a bit of water. But, as the brewers’ saying goes – if the water was that good on its own, you wouldn’t bother turning it into beer.

So if beer is so much water, just how important is that water to making your beer taste the way it does? We all know about the ‘hard’ water of Burton-on-Trent which gives English bitters their distinctive profile and the ‘soft’ water of the Czech Republic which makes pilsners so clean and crisp, but what else can water tell you about beer?

Beer and craft beer in particular, has recently stepped up to the plate in a scientific sense with developments in hop growing technology, malt production and yeast strain improvements which have all added to the finished product. So, is water next? Can this clear, seemingly bland liquid be tinkered with to improve our ales and enrichen our lagers?

A recent scientific study has determined that a woman’s tears can have a noticeable effect on men. No surprise there, I hear you say. I’ve known men to chew off their own arm to escape the embrace of a partner about to tear-up – but this is different. There’s actual science at play here.

It seems that a woman’s tears have the biological effect on men of switching off their desire. Well, d’uh! Men were asked to watch Chick Flicks and sniff vials of either women’s tears (how do they harvest THAT!?) or a simple saline solution. Heart rate and skin temperature both dropped after smelling the tears as did testosterone levels.

Further tests with MRI mapping showed that the region of a man’s brain dedicated to sexual arousal (that’s the large brain-shaped section that fills the skull, isn’t it?) also showed a marked reduction in activity when the tears appeared.

This study will form part of a project to determine just what chemical is contained within the females’ cry-water that has this effect on men in the hope that one day it may be used to treat testosterone-led diseases such as prostate cancer and for this I wish the scientists well.

If the product ever becomes a commercial proposition you can’t help but wonder if it will ever find its way into a beer. You can picture the billboards advertising brews which can be drunk all night and then actually PREVENT you from going home with the office secretary or your best mate’s missus, can’t you?

And imagine how easy it would be to get your own partner to buy you slabs of beer that would make you want to sit at home and watch “28 Dresses” with her and then just cuddle … the marketing possibilities are just endless, really.


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