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.
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!