As beer continues to get cooler and cooler, Meantime Brewing Company is now offering something pretty unique: the ultimate personalized beer, made with a sample of your saliva. Meantime has partnered with 23andMe, a personal genomics and biotech company, to analyze the customer’s genetic profile and evaluate their taste tendencies. You can also sit down with the brewmaster for a consultation, in case they need to tweak the flavor. The brewery then turns this data into a custom made beer just for you.
This process uses receptors in human genetics that determine every person’s inclination towards bitter or sweet flavors. This bitterness helps the brewing team narrow down a beer style, ingredients, and brewing method to create your best match. For the purpose of their original experiment, brewmaster Ciaran Giblin used his own DNA, and learned his preferences lean toward the bitter side – think coffee and brussels sprouts. From this revolutionary scientific data, Giblin created the world’s first DNA-dictated beer, dubbed Double Helix. It’s a super bitter IPA made with American hops, clocking in at 10% ABV.
The London-based brewer sold Double Helix throughout the city, and later announced that he would offer this uber-personalized beer to anyone willing to pay. With a sample of your spit and a hefty price tag of around $30,000, this brew is for someone with money to burn. Giblin describes this “Meantime Bespoke” service as a “one-of-a-kind service aimed at offering passionate craft beer fans the opportunity to brew the ultimate in personalized beer.” The ‘Bespoke’ package includes a study course (straightforwardly dubbed “The Knowledge”) to allow clients to gain a deeper understanding of the brewing process, including how to make, evaluate, and taste beer. For an additional cost, you can work with a designer to create a custom label for your brew. Oh, and you can purchase pint glasses molded to the shape of your hand–if this experience wasn’t exclusive enough already.
It is a pretty cool concept, and it’s definitely weird to think that you’re genetically predisposed to favor certain flavors. I wonder if my constant craving for salty snacks would play a role in my custom brew? Participants do get a say when it comes to the overall flavor profile, ABV, mouthfeel, and style, though they’re guided by Giblin and his expert team. In a craft beer era where the options are seemingly endless, I’m kind of seeing the appeal of a tailored beer.
If you’re not willing to shell out your life savings on a personalized pint (well, technically around 2,000 pints), Meantime offers a range of delicious-sounding beers. From a malty chocolate porter to something called “Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale,” these guys seem to know what they’re doing.