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Cathay Pacific's new Betsy beer | courtesy Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific's new Betsy beer | courtesy Cathay Pacific
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This Beer Was Brewed to Taste Good at 35,000 Feet

Picture of Kathryn Maier
NYC Food & Drink Editor
Updated: 28 February 2017
You’ve probably noticed that things taste a little strange when you fly. Dry cabin air and lower air pressure combine to tweak your tastebuds; many flavors seem flatter and others are just off. Much attention has been paid to making in-flight food more palatable, but drinks have largely been overlooked… until now.

Airline Cathay Pacific is introducing Betsy Beer, an ale created specifically with in-flight flavor in mind. Brewed in collaboration with Hong Kong Beer Co., the beer is flavored with sweet, rich “dragon eye” fruit and a small amount of honey to compensate for dulled perception of sweetness. It uses Fuggle hops for a rich, full-bodied flavor.

The beer, named for “Betsy,” Cathay Pacific’s first aircraft, will be served to first- and business-class passengers on routes between Hong Kong and UK destinations from March 1 until April 30, 2017. It will also be available at the airline’s lounges at Heathrow and Hong Kong, and several Hong Kong restaurants, including Mr & Mrs Fox, Café Gray Deluxe, and The Continental.

Cathay historically has made pretty good calls as far as in-flight drinks and flavor are concerned. I fondly recall a front-of-the-plane flight a few years back when I was served a considerable quantity of Krug Grande Cuvée en route to Hong Kong. (Krug is an uncommon option on flights; Cathay is one of few airlines to offer it.) Renowned for its powerful and bright flavors, that particular Champagne dances even on altitude-dimmed tastebuds. Given the choice, I’d probably still pick the Krug over the beer… but it’s always good to have options.