Many beer drinkers are pretty loyal to one brand. But whether you prefer Stella or swear by Heinecken, it turns out they may all taste the same thing.
Johan Almenberg and Anna Dreber, researchers from the Stockholm School of Economics, conducted a blind taste test with a selection of three best-selling European lagers: Budvar (also known as Czechvar), Heineken and Stella Artois.
Nearly 140 subjects, aged 21 to 70, received three samples-- two cups had the same product, while the third contained a different brew. Tasters were asked to identify the odd-beer out but they were no better at guessing then if choosing "at random," according to the study, “Hide The Label, Hide The Difference.”
The study came to conclusion that consumers favor certain beers for many factors, taste not included.
“Our results suggest that brand loyalty in this market is likely to be driven largely by marketing and packaging, and not by the underlying sensory properties of the competing products,” says the report.
The study’s author, Robin Goldstein, doesn’t necessarily think it’s a negative. While he did call the products “interchangeable” he also thinks “that the beer industry has perfected pale lager beer," according to Drinks Business.
It also happens to be his favorite type.
Other beer enthusiasts might not be so jazzed about a universal standard of lagers. This test was only conducted with pale lager style beers, and did not go into detail about stouts, IPAs or other brews.
So, next time you’re at a bar and they run out of your favorite, just order a pale lager. You probably won’t notice the difference.