How Craft Beer is Disrupting Traditions | Sebastien Morvan | TEDxBrussels


Translator: Leonardo Silva
Reviewer: Mile Živković OK, everybody enjoys a good beer, right?
I’m sure you’re no exception. But tell me, last time you treated
yourself to a fine restaurant, did you get a bottle of wine
or did you get some beer? I guess you got the wine. You see, I come from France,
a holy grail of wine, but I decided to move to Belgium because I find beer so much
more exciting than wine, and not because it’s twice as old as wine,
but really because it’s twice as modern. And the intention today is to convince you
of this very objective fact by taking you on a journey of taste, from the craft renaissance
to beyond craft, to cracking the code of flavor
with a generation of hypertasters. So, let’s get going. Craft is back. You see, we are all here in an old brewery
that had to shut down and leave town [as] a victim of a faceless
and tasteless industrial revolution. But today, craft is back,
breweries are back in Brussels, back in Paris, back in London. How did this happen? Well, it’s like making mayonnaise. You have all the ingredients
and, at some point, it just clicks. Here is the same. At some point, people start to realize
that they are what they drink, and maybe they don’t want to be tasteless and maybe they don’t want
to be faceless either. Maybe they want
more meaning to their beer, maybe they want more fun to their beer, and certainly they want
more taste to their beer, and that’s what craft is about. I’d like to talk about craft
in three main points, and the first is this why-not mindset,
this abundant creativity, because, you see, industrial brewers
take a lot of pride bringing the same beer
over and over and over again for 50 years, for 100 years, but craft brewers take their pride
in brewing 20, 30 new different beers every single year. A brewer’s like a good cook, you know. They are not afraid
of using crazy ingredients like tonka beans from Amazonia
or chipotle chili from Mexico, or cocoa nibs, or coffee beans,
or even flowers. They’re not afraid of failing,
as long as they fail better, and they’re not afraid of creating tastes
that might not please everybody. The second point is: sharing is learning,
and the notion of collaboration. This is a craft renaissance, so brewers travel the world
and share practices. We had the chance on the beer project
to brew with colleagues in Brazil, in Canada, in the Netherlands, in Norway and now we’re also inviting brewers
from the rest of the world to come with us in Brussels,
have fun, share practices and think about taste together. Very recently, a British brewery
decided to share online 215 of its recipes, open-source, because, you see, industrial brewers
cherish the notion of copyright, but craft brewers do “copyleft.” They want to be challenged and stimulated. It’s collaboration with you guys too. We start to see more
crowdfunding happening, people supporting the local breweries, but we also start to see crowdsourcing, people having a voice
in the selection of taste. And, with more sophistication
coming in the future, with people, beer lovers,
being more knowledgeable about beer, we’ll see crowdsourcing even
at the earlier stage of beer creation. My third point is: more is less,
and the notion of sustainability. You see, behind me is the first beer
made of recycled bread, the first beer made of food waste. We were able to recycle, last year,
ten tons of bread with this project, and it worked so well that some colleagues
in London decided to call us and say, you know, “Could you share
some of your process with us? Because we’d like to do
the same beer in London.” And we had a few Skype conversations,
and we went to London, and now it’s happening:
you also have a bread beer in London. And I’m trying to build on our process, so we might actually learn from them
and learn from our original idea as well. And if you’re interested
in circular economy, you might want to know
that this bread here in the picture is made of beer, itself made of bread. So, if it makes you
feel dizzy, that’s okay, but wait until you try the beer. All of this leads to where? It leads to the exploration of taste, to more expression,
to more explosion, to more balance. But to appreciate taste,
you have to understand how it works. So, let’s do a small exercise here. It’s Beer 101. I leave all the crazy ingredients aside, all the tonka beans
and coffee beans aside. So, we go back to basics: from left to right, you have the water,
the barley malt, the hops and the yeast. And let’s try to peel beer like an onion, see what’s behind it
and zoom inside a beer. So, we’ll focus on the hops first
and let’s see what’s behind the hops, and it’s a whole spectrum
of flavor available. You see, for too long, traditional brewers
were really constraining hops into bringing bitterness to their beer, or maybe bringing grassy and herbal notes, but it’s much more than that. You can see, you can get
a whole range of flavors. You can go evergreen, spicy,
floral, fruity, citrusy. There is more than that again. You have more than 100 varieties
of hop to play with, and let’s pick one:
let’s pick cascade hops for instance and zoom inside cascade. If you look at the graph,
it should be citrus notes, but it’s more than citrus. You have also sweet fruits
and redberries. If you look at this, you can actually
notice two different sets of colors: deep blue and light blue. The light blue is about
traditional brewing, traditional hopping, during the boiling phase. So, the deep blue is dry-hopping, so trying to use the hops
at a cooler temperature later on. And it creates new flavors, like maybe the woody notes
and the crème caramel, but also accentuates flavors,
like the sweet fruits and the redberries. Understanding every single ingredient
to its very bare nature and then being able to assemble all
those ingredients into a Korean puzzle, into a nice, tasty symphony,
is the job of the brewer. And, after a lot of focus on the hops, there will be the same
amount of work on the yeast. Actually, we’ll see wine yeast
playing with beer yeast and trying to create new flavor. And we’ll have very blurry lines between what’s wine, what’s cider
and what’s beer in the future. So, are we there yet? Of course not, of course
it’s just the tip of the iceberg. And, you know, this man here
might look a little bit funny to you, but he spends his days
at the University of Oxford, looking at the association
between taste and sound. And he proved that there was
a direct connection between high-frequency rhythm
and a heightened sense of sweetness, and low-frequency rhythm
and a heightened sense of bitterness. So, what it means
is that you might be drinking what’s essencially the same beer,
let’s say one of mine, and, if you’re listening
to electro music or jazz music, you will have two
different tasting experiences. You see, that’s
the future of beer, I think. It’s not just beer in isolation,
not just beer to its finest detail. It will be beer in its context. And maybe you already
witnessed that yourself. Maybe one day you had a beer at the beach,
and then, a couple of months later, you had the same beer
in your living room, at night, and I guess it didn’t taste
quite the same. Well, this is the idea. The idea is to look
at beer in the context, think about music pairing,
but also color pairing. maybe the association between beer
and the temperature of the room, to get into a 360 experience of taste. And this will not just be
for crazy brewers or crazy scientists. It will be for everybody: for you, for your kids
and for your grandkids. You see, in this room,
we have about 300 supertasters. You might not know you’re one, but, if you know the difference
between peach and apricots very easily, or between raspberries
and cranberries, you might be one. Actually, if you’re a woman, you have a natural advantage
to be a supertaster. If you come from Asia
or if you come Africa, you also have a natural advantage
to be a supertaster. So, what I mean is that
we already identified the gene responsible for supertasting abilities, and, if we did so, it’s easy to imagine,
with CRISPR technology, that tomorrow we’ll create
a generation of hypertasters, people with the ability to find
the redberries, and the sweet fruits and the cascade hop. People will be able
to understand the connection between the beer
and the music that’s playing, and the room light,
and the temperature of the room. People will be able
to understand taste much better than professional brewers
or scientists know today. People will be able to match beers
with the right environment and maximize their tasting experience, again, getting this
360 experience of taste and moving from real beer
to amplified beer. Well, flavor is also available
for people who are not hypertasters, for you and me, but, if you don’t want to look
too stupid in front of your kids, talking about beer, talking about whiskey,
wine, food and taste in general, I suggest you start your journey
of taste rather soon, maybe even tonight. The day is ending. I feel by now your craving for beer and, once you have one,
I’d like you to pause for one second. I’d like you to look at it
and look at the color. It’s not just blond or black. If it’s blond, is it pale blond?
Is it golden blond? Is it amber blond? And then, what kind
of perfume does it wear? Is it citrusy? Do you have
some grapefruit notes coming? Do you have some
woody notes coming as well? And then, get a mouthful sip
and see what’s happening in your mouth. What was the intention of the brewer
when he made this beer for you? What kind of memories does it bring back, and what kind of places
it makes you go to? See, because beer is
the shortest way to travel very far, and once you’re on this journey of taste,
there’s no way back. So, I just wish you happy travels,
and thank you very much. (Applause)

7 thoughts on “How Craft Beer is Disrupting Traditions | Sebastien Morvan | TEDxBrussels

  • FINALLY!!! Almost 3 MONTHS to get these talks online… Make it quicker next year!

    Very interesting talk though Sebastien!! Thanks 🙂

  • I personally think craft beer is equally pretentious as wine man, and i work in a craft beer bar. this guy is just jealous and being salty though

  • I fell in love with brewing and I can't stop, it's getting to the point where all I think about is coming up with new recipes for beer. Cooking is my first love but beer is becoming an obsession, I want to do this with the time I have left on this earth.

  • love the first part to this talk "people are what they drink, they don't want to be tasteless and don't want tot be faceless" spot on! it why on our Wine channel we have a Craft beer section as i think the same way as this guy !

  • American craft beer has plateaued. In most of my industry it is diminishing. People are now moving back toward the concept of having a craft cocktail followed by a less flavorful beer. We have reached the point where fewer and fewer drinkers want to buy a 4-pack for $14.99 just for the sake of tasting a new rendition of the same flavors that the industry has been beating to death in the past decade. We had best embrace the cocktails soon!

  • The best TEDx thus far!!! I love my hoppy beers & Homebrewing and this just confirms what I have been saying to friends & family for years.

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