As the long summer days of grilling and enjoying your hard labors of spring brewing approach, here's a little food for thought.
Ever wonder why the food you eat when you're drinking one of your favorite brews tastes so darned good? The answer could lie in your most important ingredients: brewer's yeast, present in unpasteurized home-brewed beer. Beer with live yeast is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and also glutamates. Glutamates, in particular glutamic acid, are important factors in enhancing the flavor of food we eat. Other foods, such as protein rich meats and seafood, mushrooms, and seaweed, are also natural sources of glutamate.
The "fifth taste" represented on the tongue is umami, the savory taste receptor, which was discovered in Japan after isolating certain compounds present in dehydrated seaweed broth. Umami is the Japanese word for delicious, and it's no surprise then that foods such as fish, shellfish, cured meats and fermented products are such sought-after foods. Monosodium glutamate is a potent flavor enhancer, but has a bad reputation as an "artificial" additive - so why not then find it naturally? One interesting source is Marmite, a spread derived from yeast popular in the UK, which has one of the most potent concentrations of glutamic acid known to man.
A more delicious and similar source is, you guessed it, your own unpasteurized homebrew! A delicious and nutritious source of B vitamins and various important minerals including thiamin, riboflavin, and others, home-brewed beer is a beverage that combines pleasure, nutrition and flavor-enhancing properties. So cook with and drink home-brewed beer at every meal to get the most flavor you can!