- A HISTORY OF SUCCESS
- HIGH-TECH, HIGH-TOUCH
- DATA SHAPES STUDENT SUCCESS
- LOOKING AHEAD
- FACES OF SUCCESS
- COLLEGIAN MARKS 125TH YEAR OF PUBLICATION
- THE SHOTPUT HEARD ’ROUND THE WORLD
- FROM WHEELCHAIR TO WALKING AGAIN
- A MODEL TO ENVY
- LOOKING BEYOND THE NUMBERS
- RINGING IN THE OLD
- CSU: RE-ENVISIONING NATIONAL WESTERN CENTER
- CHANDRASEKAR KNIGHTED
- JOHN MOSLEY AWARDED FOUNDERS DAY MEDAL
- SIX FACULTY EARN CSU’S HIGHEST HONOR
- CSU PIONEER ROBIN BROWN RETIRES
- BOOKSTORE NAMED RETAILER OF THE YEAR
- CONSTRUCTION REACHES CRECENDO
- LORD KNOWS A THING OR TWO ABOUT MUSIC
- MORE THAN STATISTICS
- FROM OSCAR ANXIETY TO VICTORY
- TASTE OF SUCCESS
- DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARDS
- RAMS WRITE
- IN MEMORIAM
- CLASS NOTES
- IN MEMORIAM: GORDON NISWENDER
- IN MEMORIAM: GENE MARKLEY
TASTE OF SUCCESS: NICOLE GARNEAU PUTS BEER FLAVOR ON THE MAP
Head of the Genetics of Taste Lab at the
Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and
Co-Author of the Beer Flavor Map
by Becky Jensen
Describing complex beer flavors can be tough. Maintaining consistency between batches can be even tougher.
But thanks to Nicole Garneau (Ph.D., microbiology, ’09) and fellow scientist Lindsay Barr, identifying flavors and judging the quality of craft beer just got easier. Garneau and Barr are the brains behind the Beer Flavor Map, a science-based analysis tool that is changing the way industry professionals and casual drinkers alike think about the taste, aroma, and mouthfeel of beer.
The Beer Flavor Map is a big improvement over its predecessor, the Beer Flavor Wheel – a chart created in 1979 to help describe flavors in beer. Although the wheel helped standardize beer flavor terminology, the creators knew it had limitations, so they challenged the brewing industry to improve it as the science of taste advanced. Nearly four decades later, Garneau and Barr respectfully took the wheel, raised their pints, and toasted, “Challenge accepted.”
“I was first introduced to craft beer when I was a grad student in Fort Collins, so you can correctly assume CSU played a role in the Beer Flavor Map,” jokes Garneau, who admits to spending more than one afternoon in the New Belgium tasting room enjoying “preliminary research” nearly a decade ago.
But the rigorous science that shapes today’s Beer Flavor Map is no joke. The Map was adopted by the World Beer CupSM and Great American Beer Festival for judging in 2016.
DNA AND TASTE
In addition to co-authoring the Beer Flavor Map, Garneau is head of the Genetics of Taste Lab at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science where she studies the way DNA affects our ability to taste and how taste influences what we choose to eat and drink.
Her groundbreaking, crowdsourced research on oleogustus – the newly discovered sixth taste of fat – was featured on NPR’s TED Radio Hour. She’s a founding member of the Brewers Association Beer & Food Working Group, founding board member of the Colorado Bioscience Institute, adviser for CSU’s Fermentation Science and Technology Program, and co-founder of the sensory analysis software company DraughtLab (the app version of the Map). Garneau credits Colorado State with helping advance her career as a scientist and entrepreneur. “What sets CSU apart for me is the emphasis on science communication,” she says.
As a graduate student, Garneau was required to give countless public presentations and make science come alive for her audiences – skills she uses to this day. She was also an intern at CSU Ventures, an opportunity that inspired her to start three companies.
“It’s awesome to have such a strong alumni presence in Denver, and the Alumni Association makes it easy to stay involved,” says Garneau, who is a life member, as is her husband. “The networking benefits alone have paid huge dividends.”