Meet Betsy, the Beer that Tastes Better at 35,000 Feet

Can beer actually taste better when it’s 35,000 feet in the air?

When you take off on an airplane, your taste buds actually lose their ability to function correctly. Food tastes more bland and your perception of salty and sweet dramatically decline — some studies have said up to 30 percent — once you’ve reached cruising altitude. Maybe that’s the reason why airplane food tastes so disgusting — or not. The folks at the Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Beer Co. teamed up to make sure that your tastebuds can still tell the difference between good and bad beer while up in the air.

“We know that when you fly, your sense of taste changes. Airlines address this for food in certain ways. But nobody has ever tried to improve the taste of beer at altitude. That seemed like a great opportunity for us to help our beer-loving passengers travel well,” says Julian Lynden, Cathay Pacific’s general manager of marketing and loyalty.

Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Beer Co. created Betsy, named after the Douglas DC-3, the airline’s first plane that was affectionately dubbed “Betsy.” Betsy beer is an unfiltered wheat beer, which should allow for a taste that’s both hearty, yet smooth. It’s also carbonated 10 percent higher than the beer that we drink at sea level. The beer also incorporates ingredients from the route it’s served on — Betsy is available March and April in business class on Cathay Pacific flights from Hong Kong to London — using Dragon Eye fruit from Hong Kong and English Fuggle hops.

One recent business class passenger who ordered a bottle of Betsy on a flight from Hong Kong to London noted that the beer actually does taste better in the air. The honey flavor is more distinct, and that extra carbonation makes up for the dulling of the senses from all that compressed cabin air. Cheers!