A few weeks ago we received a curious press release. It mentioned beer, so we read it. It began like this: “Customer engagement agency Havas helia has worked with IBM Watson to capture the mood of the nation during the New Year party season to create a world first – a beer that tastes of joy and optimism.”
Intrigued, if slightly suspicious, we read on.
According to the next few paragraphs, data analysis boffins fed information down their technical pipes about New Year social media messages to find the top most shared emotions – these turned out to be love, joy, harmony, cheerfulness, optimism, resolution and excitement. Next they plugged 2,800 beer recipes into special bits of computer software to identify the perfect recipe based on descriptions of the ingredients, recipes, tasting notes and reviews.*
They then used a clever computer tool to do some more tricks: “By using Watson Personality Insights, a tool that analyses language to produce a personality profile, Havas helia was able to categorise each beer according to different human characteristics, such as assertive, friendly or intelligent.”
I started getting a bit lost at this point, but was certain there would be a beer at the end of it, so ploughed on.
Unless I’m very much mistaken, they matched results from the beer tool with the information that came out of the New Year technical pipes to find the most common ingredients for those moods. And the top three ingredients were New Zealand hop par excellence, Nelson Sauvin; European workhorse hop, Hallertauer; and popular bee secretion, honey.
Havas helia sent these results to microbrewery High Peak Brew Co to turn into a beer “full of New Year cheer.” Thankfully, the brewery had some other key ingredients such as malt, water and yeast and crafted the beer I’m drinking now.
So, what’s it like? And has it riddled my senses with joy and optimism?
Thankfully, it’s very good indeed. A pale straw coloured, cloudy liquid with a big, bubbly near-white head gives it a joyously drinkable appearance. There’s a strong, up-front perfume of spicy hops with a touch of citrus (they’ve also snuck in some Citra hops for “intellect.”) And it has a nice light flavour, refreshingly dry with some decent bitterness and a mellow strain of honey running throughout. That honey flavour isn’t obvious, but knowing it’s there allows you to pick it up more easily, lending a gently juicy warmth to those spicy hop notes. All perfectly drinkable and enjoyable.
Good beer always fills me with joy, so that box is successfully ticked. And I’m optimistic that this new found love for beer, from everyone including customer agencies and maths boffins, will lead to even more great brews to explore over the coming years. And I’m even happier that I bothered to read this particular press release.
*Maybe some of our reviews crept into the analysis. We’re bound to like it!
Thanks to Havas helia for getting in touch and sending us a beer to try