Studies have shown that foods taste different when you’re up in the air. The combination of low air pressure and humidity apparently combine to effect your sense of taste and smell by up to 30 percent, according to some studies, leading airlines to invest in new techniques and recipes to try and make airplane food more palatable.
Cathay Pacific is applying that idea a little farther with Betsy Beer, a custom craft brew that the company says is the first in the world to be designed and calibrated to specifically taste better when you’re 35,000 feet up in the sky. Betsy Beer was brewed in conjunction with Hong Kong Beer Co. and is named after Cathay Pacific’s first plane, a Douglas DC-3 airliner called “Betsy.”
The beer will be available for the months of March and April to business and first class customers flying Cathay Pacific between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, as well as in Cathay Pacific lounges in Hong Kong and Heathrow and several Hong Kong restaurants.
The beer itself is an unfiltered wheat beer, which should be less bitter than some hoppier varieties, and is carbonated 10 percent higher than regular sea-level beer. It also incorporates Hong Kong-sourced Dragon Eye fruit and English Fuggle hops as part of integrating both destinations into the beer.
Is this a publicity stunt? Sure. But it’s still kind of cool that someone was dedicated enough to having beer on a plane to put in the effort to make sure it still tastes great. And that, at least, is worth raising a glass.