Why Wolverine Would Avoid IPAs

We all know that Logan loves beer. It continues to be more than a mere character trait, in several instances it’s an essential piece of the storyline (See Astonishing X-Men). What you may not know is that I too love beer. I love all styles and varieties, but I really dig a good double IPA. Extra hops, extra flavor, extra alcohol; just bigger in all regards. Usually these beers max out the IBU, or international bitters units, starting somewhere around 80 and sometimes skyrocketing to over 100. For the uninitiated, the IBU scale goes from 0 – 100, zero being something that contains nothing which will activate a bitter taste bud on your tongue, and 100 having so many bitter compounds that every bitter receptor on your tongue is maxed out. This is an absolute scale; any liquid above 100 will taste no different than 100 (in terms of bitterness) because there is literally only so much bitter a tongue can take.

I’ve found that generally the double IPA style is one men like and women not so much. This is a very general trend, but my thinking is that seeing as women have more sensitive oral and nasal faculties, they likely don’t find delight in something brewed to be as bitter as possible. Whereas, we less sensitive (in so many ways) man likes pushing his less acute tongue to the limit. Then there are super-tasters, which are people who have retained a more juvenile taste bud arrangement and are thus able to taste bitter things with an even higher sensitivity than either a normal man or woman.

Think of super-tasting like the opposite of lactose-intolerance. Sometimes in the course of evolution organisms hang on to useful traits from youth that are usually lost in the course of maturity. Drinking milk is critical for all infant mammals, but most mammals don’t drink milk at all once they’re weaned. Humans domesticated cows and other milk producing ungulates, and thus some groups of people have developed the ability to continue drinking milk into adulthood. It’s like an anti-X-gene; instead of gaining a trait during puberty you’re failing to lose one you already had.

Children also taste bitter things more acutely. The thinking is that as children often explore the world with their mouths, thus it is very important that things which are poisonous taste bad enough to be spat out, and since many foods we eat are acidic (i.e. sour) or salty and many things that are bad for us are bitter (i.e. bleach, ammonia, etc.) it is useful to have a heightened ability to taste bitter things. Not everyone loses this ability by adulthood, and thus we have super-tasters.

While I’ve never done a scientific analysis of the idea, I suspect these folks are among the ranks of people that don’t like IPAs or other similar styles. And broccoli, they usually don’t like broccoli. So what does this have to do with Wolverine? You’ve probably already connected the dots yourself, but if not: Wolverine has heightened senses , and this includes his tongue, so therefore he probably doesn’t like bitter beer.

Now here’s the caveat! I can see this line of thinking going two different directions. Option 1: Wolverine prefers the more consistent, less aggressive, adjunct lager beer, such as Budweiser, Molson, or Coors. These beers have almost no hop character, which is the ingredient primarily responsible for bitterness, and thus might not offend his delicate taste buds. On the other hand we have Option 2: wherein Logan’s acute sense of taste does not appreciate the corn/rice blend shoved unceremoniously into some macrobrewed beer, and thus sups the more flavorful microbrewed offerings even if he sometimes has to overcome a high IBU. I’m legitimately torn between the two options but there are some other lines of evidence we can turn to.

Logan usually drinks from cans. Most smaller breweries cannot afford the more expensive canning equipment and thus only distribute in glass bottles. Cans have the added benefit of being opaque to light, and therefore the beer is less likely to be ‘skunked’, a process wherein UV radiation breaks down compounds in the beer that recombine into thiol molecules giving the beer a decidedly skunky aroma and taste. To Logan, this must be utterly unacceptable, and so he sticks to bigger beers available in convenient cans.

Logan also seems to prefer dive bars. I’ll bet his haunt in Westchester has some decent taps, but he travels a lot and often seems to slum it in some seedy places that still allow indoor smoking. I’ve been to, but by no means frequent, these types of places and it’s hard to turn down $2 Coors on tap over a ‘craft’ offering that’s been sitting in the fridge since the Clinton administration. Plus Wolverine likes a good cigar, so he has to stick to bars that accommodate the habit. A habit which, by the way, might reduce his ability to taste enough that he can enjoy different types of beer on a more human level.

Maybe this entire time Logan’s been drinking lambics and ciders and we just never knew.

As far as the other X-Men characters go, I’d say Colossus drinks Imperial Russian stouts, Mr. Sinister drinks Extra Special Bitter, Nightcrawler drinks schwarzbier, and Cyclops drinks water. I don’t have exceptionally long explanations for any of these selections beyond the obvious geography and/or lameness. So feel free to hash out the details in the comments.

What beers do you like? Are you a hyper-tasting mutant? What do you think your favorite character drinks? Lets play the game below!

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Ryan Haupt loves IPAs, therefore he is not a mutant. The logic may not follow, but you can follow him by listening to the podcast Science… sort of.

Comments

  1. mikegraham6 mikegraham6 says:

    Cue Gobo….

  2. diebenny diebenny says:

    Wolverine comments on an IPA being “Damn good” in Jason Aaron’s Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine. The same book also features a “Small Folk Ale” and Wolverine inventing beer.

    I imagine that if he had too, he’d drink whatever, but under other circumstances Option 2 would be true.

  3. AriesDog AriesDog says:

    Exactly the opposite. Much like the explanation of why Wolverine smokes awful cigars (so he can bear the stink of regular people), Wolverine would just want something to dull his senses. With his healing factor, getting drunk is not impossible but it is difficult. So quantity over quality is what he’s going for. That’s why he’s always shown drinking lots of working class beers. Logan will get whatever’s cheapest: Bud, Miller, Coors, Pabst.

    • Ryan Haupt Ryan Haupt (@haupt) says:

      That makes no sense. A barleywine would be far more cost effective. If he’s looking to get drunk why not just chug vodka? Cheap beer is about the least efficient way to get drunk. Maybe he’s just dehydrated…

    • adrianrigter adrianrigter says:

      Cheap or not, i have to think logan would avoid Pabst, he’d rather pay the extra buck than be associated with hipsters:)

    • AriesDog AriesDog says:

      @Ryan Because he’s Canadian, not a Ruskie. Culture plays a big part of your drink of choice. So it’s beer. He’s doing this so he can stand to be around a group of people. Imagine you sense of taste is so great, you kiss a bar floozie and know what she ate. Revolting. Logan is essentially slumming and needs beer goggles if he wants human contact.

      This makes sense when you think about Wolverine’s love of samurai Japan. It was a culture obsessed with cleanliness. (James Clavell’s “Shogun” does a great job illustrating how filthy westerners were versus Japanese.) You rarely saw him drunk on sakai in those flashbacks.

    • Everclear to start, then moves on to microbrews.

  4. This is a perfect example of why I keep coming back to this site. Great article!

  5. Kellboy Kellboy says:

    I totally disagree. Wolverine loves IPA’s, as do I.

    And if Cyclops doesn’t drink, then he totally smokes weed. Why else would he take the team to California?

  6. sitara119 sitara119 says:

    the fact that logan smokes cigars despite his heightened senses leads me to believe that he would drink anything no matter how bitter it is(we’ve seen him drink hard liquer on occasion)
    and with his healing factor wouldnt he have to drink something with a high alcohol content to get drunk? or does he just guzzle a case and feel the effects for a short while?

  7. Grandturk says:

    Ugh… beer geeks…

    • Urthona Urthona says:

      Exactly.

      I’ve always thought Wolverine was full of sh*t when he “gets drunk” drinking beer. I think what he really likes is the freedom to mope and self-obsess at a corner bar, pretend he’s working class, and be somewhere where he can get in a fight.

      Thus he would hate craft beers and this whole discussion. Ryan, you’d be lying on a sticky bar floor right now with a tooth missing if you suggested to Logan he try your favorite local craft beer.

    • bean6344 bean6344 says:

      I know you are probably kidding, but every beer nerd that I have ever met is not only passionate about their love of beer but also love to share their knowledge to others without (See Chris Neesman). I’m sure there may be a few jerks out there. I just have been lucky enough to never run into one.

      Bean

    • mark. mark. says:

      seconded. although beer geek firmly stands under “stuff white people like” i strongly identify as one and can say that we’re a pretty unpretentious bunch about what people like. i’m pretty ensconced in that community and i think there’s only one person i know who is simultaneously a beer geek and a pretentious dickhole. we just like talking about it. a lot. and we like educating if people are curious.

      and and and we’re not above macrobrews. i enjoy me the hell out of schlitz and colt 45. there’s room for everyone at the dance as far as i’m concerned.

  8. marshak75 marshak75 says:

    I would agree with you, but I started really thinking through the problem. Wolverine is over 100 years old. I believe someone estimated that he is around 182? (Estimation) Beer cans only came to prominence between 1922 and 1935. Wolverine is also from North America so it stands to reason that he was drinking Molson or Yuengling from a bottle at some point. Yes, he is one of those guys that likes the seedy bars. We all know those people, but he has to have had the more exotic beers at some point. I’m sure he has had to drink Sapporo or Kirin with all those years in Japan. I’m sure he knocked back a few Guinness in his time as old as that brand is.

    Other X-men: Cyclops DRINKS! That dude has had his chick die like 6 times. He doesn’t drink often, but he hits the sauce hard when times get hard. The Beast drinks Manhattans. Nightcrawler drinks Paulaner and Augustiner if he can find it in Westchester. Emma drinks Cosmos. Banshee takes Jameson…neat.

  9. Ali Colluccio Ali Colluccio (@WonderAli) says:

    Nightcrawler would drink a German weissbier – the clove flavor is reminiscent of brimstone.

  10. ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

    This is a fascinating article, I didn’t know any of this about the science of taste!

    Question — if Logan’s a super-taster, how does that effect trying things that are spicy? I know there’s a comic where he fights Sabretooth in a Japanese restaurant, and Creed incapacitates his supersenses by cramming wasabi up his nose.

    Would this work? I’m very curious.

    Also, does the same logic apply to Daredevil? I’ve always assumed Matt drowns his woes in Irish whiskey, though. . .

  11. Maty. Maty. says:

    Well, to prove your point, I loathe IPA’s. And green bottle beer. If it’s imported from south of here, or an island – perfect.
    Wouldn’t Cyclops drink Zima ?

  12. I vaguely remember an issue of either Alpha Flight or Wolverine: First Class that identifies his favourite beer as Molson Export.

    • Wait … that would make him an X-Man and an Ex man, wouldn’t it?

    • Scrawl Scrawl says:

      Molson Export is just Molson Canadian rebranded for Quebec, so that tragically would make our worst beer his favourite. If it’s IPA’s he loves, could be an Alexander Keith’s man… :)

    • Average though it may be, Molson’s the brand that the average American associates with Canada, so I guess American writers just default to it where Wolverine is concerned.

      Steven Seagle went a step further in his 1990s Alpha Flight run, when he tried to give Puck the catchphrase: “Sweet mother Molson!” It’s exactly as horrible as it sounds.

    • All4ninjas says:

      Molson Export is an ale and Molson Canadian is a lager. They aren’t the same beer. I am not even sure if they sell Export anymore, haven’t seen it for a long time.

    • IroncladMerc says:

      Yes, of course they still sell Molson Export, it won an award as recently as 2010.

    • player1 player1 says:

      His favorites at different times have been Molson’s Brador and Golden Ale, Labatt Blue, Kokanee, Schlitz, Schafer, Carling Black Label, Utica Club, Miller Beer, Miller High Life, Rolling Rock, Bohemia, Negra Modelo, 40s of Crazy Horse, 22s of St. Ides, draft Genny Screamers with green dye like they serve on St. Pat’s Day, Matt’s in the five-gallon beer balls, OV splits, and Suntory in the keg can. You know, the good stuff.

  13. Being a beer fanatic, as well as a comic fan, this article is fantastic! It’s awesome that it’s so informative, as well as fun and theoretical. I like the line of thinking that Logan has to drink the heavier beers in order to get any kind of buzz from them, that seems to make sense to me. I don’t think that Logan would care (or admit to care) that a beer is bitter.

    As far as Cyclops goes, I agree, that man has to drink….or do drugs….or something. If my significant other died as often as his has, I’d be a drunken hobo on a street corner somewhere.

  14. adrianrigter adrianrigter says:

    Cyclops likely drinks hard lemonade, he had one as a teenager loved it, had a little sip of beer, hated it, and now as an adult is too scared to try anything that’s not overloaded with sugar. :)

  15. edward says:

    I always thought Wolverine would definitely stab one of those hipsters talking about how awesome vanilla and winter herb Rekorderlig is

    • mark. mark. says:

      i think that might have less to do with wolverine not liking craft beer and more to do with vanilla and winter herb not being a very good combination of flavors :)

  16. I”ve always kinda assumed Wolverine is a High Life / Dutch Masters kinda guy…..he’s so All American it hurts.

    and i think he’d go on a murderous rampage in any Micro Brew/ Beer Garden as soon as someone starts talking to him.

  17. Ollywood Ollywood says:

    Never really considered what beer Wolverine would drink as i never imagined he did either. Probably something Canadian as he is quite sentimental and it would remind him of home, i guess. Is Special Brew available in North America? It’s strong (about 9%) and cheap. It’s generally referred to as ‘Tramp Juice’ as it’s usually drunk by homeless people on park benches. I could see him downing a few of those.

  18. supersnac90 says:

    I drink a lot of Omegang since the brewery’s near my school. More often it’s whatever is suggested to me.

  19. Klabberjass Klabberjass says:

    Well I loved this article. Just curious as to what your favorite IPA’s are? Any suggestions? I happen to be partial to the Flying Dog double IPA and the Ska Brewery Modus Hoperandi IPA (which comes in a can).

    • Ryan Haupt Ryan Haupt (@haupt) says:

      Hard to say without knowing where you are, but my go to double IPAs are beers like Oskar Blues Gubna, Avery Maharja, Bear Republic Racer X, and Russian River’s Pliny the Elder if you can get it fresh. Hope that helps!

    • mark. mark. says:

      firestone walker’s double jack double ipa is all kinds of awesome. bell’s two-hearted ale and three floyd’s alpha king are go-to ipas for me. i’d also recommend three floyd’s arctic panzer wolf for a more traditional version of an imperial ipa. i’ll echo ryan’s point that most anything oskar blues does (ipa or not) is awesome.

      those are all west coast and midwest breweries. for the life of me, i can’t think many breweries that are based out of the east coast… dogfish head’s 60 and 90 — and 120 for the daring — ipa’s are good to great in ascending order of minutes. and i remember liking weyerbacher’s double simcoe ipa but it’s been ages since i’ve had it.

      lots of great stuff out there. i think the best approach is just to pick one randomly at a bar and see what fits your pallet.

    • Ryan Haupt Ryan Haupt (@haupt) says:

      East coast: Southern Tier and Smuttynose

    • mark. mark. says:

      shit, southern tier! i completely forgot about them. thanks.

    • Klabberjass Klabberjass says:

      Thanks for the tips. A local bar in my town has $6 pitchers of Bells Two-Hearted and that is usually what I pick up there (pretty damn good for that price if you ask me), but that double jack double IPA sounds awesome I’ll have to give it a shot.

    • mark. mark. says:

      it’s a great price. where i live that’s what it costs for a 12 oz bottle.

  20. Sockman Sockman says:
  21. mark. mark. says:

    ok, i’ve been thinking about this pretty much continuously since yesterday and the only thing i can conclude is that, given wolverine’s heightened senses and predilection for booze, he would go for bourbon and wood aged beers like goose island’s bourbon county stout and he’brew’s genesis 15:15. that would be the balance of heavy malt flavor, high abv, ibu bittering, and booze aromas that he’d prefer. he’d never admit it publicly, but he would carry it with him and pour it into bottles on the sly.

    unrelatedly, is anyone on this site from florida? can i get you to mail me a case of cigar city’s jai alai IPA? it’s an ipa aged on cedar from cigar boxes. they don’t distribute where i live and i’ve been trying to get my hands on it for ages….

  22. fox22 fox22 says:

    I have something in common with Wolverine. Our favorite kind of beer is…free.

    I liked the Shogun reference and talk of Irish Whiskey.

  23. Grandturk says:

    Anybody else a fan of Fosters Special Bitter? They come in green oil cans. I imagine Wolverine as an oil can in a brown bag kinda guy. Anyway – Fosters Special Bitter… I believe they renamed it Fosters Special Ale or Premium Ale or something – green can… good stuff. The only IPA I’ve consistantly liked is Bass. Most small beer brewers taste like poop.

    • mark. mark. says:

      *ahem* technically, bass is a pale ale, not an ipa.

      that reads best if you imagine a SUPER nebishy woody allen saying it.

    • Grandturk says:

      India Pale Ale vs. Pale Ale… well there you go – can’t think of one IPA I actually like. I had one the other week that tasted like rotten berries or a skunked tap system.

  24. player1 player1 says:

    If he’s a Canadian, he used to skunky beer.