Umami

windjammer cruises in maine, Beeers of the Maine Coast, Schooner Mary DayGood morning everyone. What a beautiful stretch of weather we are enjoying here in the Great State of Maine. We are out and about exploring the coast again this week with Maine Master Naturalist Erika Rhile and Photography and Web-Guru JimDugan.com. But I am getting ahead of myself.

As many of you know last week was our annual Beers of the Maine Coast Cruise. Last week was a hoot but not in the way many of you might imagine. No, it was not a drunk-fest. We really did learn to savor and appreciate the many complexities and nuances of beer. Whoda thunk it? Right?

Our human taste buds, as it turns out, allow us to enjoy bitter and sweet,  salty and sour. But have you heard of umami? Deliciousness is the best translation of this Japanese term that has been around for longer than we westerners have acknowledged. Someone back in 2000 figured out that umami is an actual savory genetic taste recognized by a particular receptor in our taste buds. I like this word umami. What a nice way to describe beer or anything else for that matter. Folks may not appreciate a beer that is too sweet or too bitter but everyone found at least one of the 45 beers we sampled to have deliciousness.  I was shocked how much I enjoyed fermented cider, a beverage I had written off long ago.

Cider is not a beer of course but the point is that umami is more than just a taste. Deliciousness is a feeling as well. I like to use the word delicious when describing good naps. Or anything else that brings me the warm fuzzy feelings of relaxation. What tastes of umami for you?

 

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

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4 comments

  1. Umami is a marker of high concentration of protein – that’s why nutritional yeast, aged cheeses and meats taste good. As well as autolyzed dough too (french baguette kinda thing) and all fermented things. So I guess it’s all in the yeast? Most probably unpasterized and unfiltered (‘alive’) beer would taste umami.

    proteins taste good to us for a sound evolutionary reason – our bodies need them as fuel and building blocks and generally they are not easy to come by.

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