Craft beer has expanded taste profiles, says sommelier, as online map charts European flavours

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

A matter of taste: sommeliers helped compile the taste map
A matter of taste: sommeliers helped compile the taste map

Related tags Taste Flavor

The craft beer phenomenon has helped expand consumers’ taste and flavour profiles, while niche tastes such as sour and salty are set to grow, according to a UK beer sommelier.

Jane Peyton, UK Beer Sommelier (for the year 2014-2015) is one of the experts who have compiled a ‘taste map’ with Friends of Glass: a project which aims to chart and compare the taste profiles of different European cultures.

Now, as the online Taste of Europe map launches today, the group wants consumers to add their flavour preferences to enhance the map.

Wine sommeliers meet beer sommeliers

The map has been launched to promote the properties of glass packaging, with Friends of Glass citing its inert properties which do not taint the quality of food and beverages.

The organisation has enlisted the help of taste experts, many of whom have expertise centred in the beverage industry. These include Andreas Larsson (Swedish Wine Sommelier); Arno Steguweit, (German Water Sommelier); Caroline Furstoss, (French Wine Sommelier 2014); Professor Giorgio Calabrese (Italian nutritionist); Guillermo Cruz (Spanish Sommelier); Jane Peyton, (UK Beer Sommelier) and Christophe Baert (chef and Vice-President of in the Belgian Euro-Toques Association).

The taste gurus have worked together to create a foundation taste map, covering both food and beverages, which will be enhanced as consumers add in their own preferences via an online quiz. Friends of Glass invites everyone to contribute, from professional chefs to “home-cooking maestros, foodie bloggers, and beer buffs”.

Sophisticated French and flamboyant Italians

Jane Peyton brought the British perspective to the table.

“I was really surprised by how the taste preferences of different countries corresponded with national stereotypes,” ​she told “The tastes from Germany were solid, high quality, not flashy. French tastes were really grown up and sophisticated. Italy was really flamboyant. Spain was somewhere between France and Italy. Britain was all over the place!”

Britain’s taste profile, she explains, can be attributed to a range of cultural influences and huge selection of beers from around the world, while consumers have got more adventurous over the last 20 years.

taste map
The taste map

Sour and salty

“Craft beer has changed how we think about taste,” ​said Peyton.  “It’s expanded people’s taste and flavour profiles in a much more vibrant way. Craft beers tend to use new world hops for example, which have a big effect on taste profile – more vibrant, more intense.

“People drinking beer have changed their tastes as well: to tropical fruits, herbs, spices. People are more open to flavours, tastes, cuisines. Rules are going out of the window.”

Peyton says the next generation of craft beer will see growth in salty and sour flavours – while hybrid beers and hybrid flavours will become more popular.

“The thing about sweet and sugary –  younger people are growing up expecting and responding to sweet. That’s why cider’s growing.

“As you get older taste changes – as you get past the sweet taste, then you start to explore sour and salty. It’ll always be a niche – but it expands all the whole taste opportunities.”

You can find the map at

Related topics R&D Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider Beer

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