28 March 2023

Can ChatGPT really design a beer for the Canberra palate? Time to find out

| Dione David
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Ale Mary master brewer Andrew Gordon-Douglas pour a beer

ChatGPT reckons Canberrans want a full-bodied German pale lager “true to style”. Photos: Ale Mary.

In mere moments, ChatGPT can draft university assignments, pen a fiction tale or produce a social media post in the style of Elon Musk.

But as Canberra’s newest brewery recently discovered, it can also design a beer locals will love.

Ale Mary Brewing Co has added four new products to its repertoire, one based on ChatGPT’s recipe for what it “thinks” Canberrans want in a beer.

How, precisely, the AI chatbot arrived at its recipe is a mystery, but Ale Mary’s Marc Grainger says it didn’t take away from the team’s excitement.

“We were playing around with the tech and thought it would be an interesting experiment to see how Chat GPT might be applicable in the food and beverage industry – and we were pleasantly surprised,” he says.

“We asked it, ‘create a lager beer recipe that represents Canberra’. What ChatGPT produced was a recipe and method for a full-bodied German pale lager.

“It was detailed, significant and from all appearances, true to the style.”

READ ALSO Meet the Makers: Hallelujah! Ale Mary is Canberra’s newest brewery

Ale Mary master brewer Andrew (Drew) Gordon-Douglas made some adjustments and the beer – named “The Pagan” Lager as a hat-tip to the beer’s unorthodox roots – is now ready to make its debut.

Launching at The Durham Castle Arms in Kingston on Saturday 1 April, Pagan Lager is a Helles-style “beer-drinker’s lager”, according to Drew.

“It’s not overly fruity or hoppy, it can be enjoyed by all beer fans,” he says.

“That’s another reason The Pagan was a fitting name for this beer – it flies in the face of craft brewery conventions, which usually favour beers that are as hoppy or bitter as can be managed.”

Ale Mary master brewer Andrew Gordon-Douglas pour a beer

Master brewer Andrew Gordon-Douglas says Ale Mary and ChatGPT have produced a true “beer-drinker’s lager”.

A small start-up operation, Ale Mary doesn’t yet have a cellar door. It will ostensibly treat The Durham as a flagship venue from where it can demonstrate its brewing prowess.

The launch event will showcase three other beers alongside The Pagan, one of which is top secret.

“If you want to know more about that, you’ll just have to join us on the night,” Marc says.

Ale Mary’s existing beers – Kings Head Pale Ale and Crusader IPA – will also be available.

READ ALSO Warning: No (artificial) intelligence was used writing this column

There will be local DJs and finger food and canapés paired with the various beers on tap and in cans.

Brewer Andrew will give a presentation on what Canberra’s newest brewery has concocted and there will be giveaways and lucky door prizes throughout the night.

“We’re very excited for this launch,” Marc says.

“It’s been a tremendous journey for all involved to get to this point, and we are so grateful to have had the support of local businesses and beer enthusiasts.”

Ale Mary launches its new products from 7 pm on 1 April at the The Durham Castle Arms at Kingston Shops, L1/52 Jardine Street.

Entry is free but reservations are recommended because this event is expected to book out fast.

For more information on Ale Mary, visit the website.

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Sir Q. Mozart-Sprong2:28 pm 03 Apr 23

I reckon most Craft Beers taste pretty bad, like a second-rate home brew. But I love a good German beer. Maybe ChatGTP has got it right!

Patrick Keogh4:37 pm 30 Mar 23

Congratulations to Ale Mary for listening! I have bent the ear of prominent Canberra brewers on multiple occasions saying that this (a proper Helles) is what I want to drink most of the time. Crickets.

I am sure that there will be differing options but with ChatGPT on my side how can I be wrong 😉

Ironic you used the word Bent in describing how you’ve approached prominent canberra brewers 😂 isn’t there a new lager in canberra called Bent?

Lucy Shorrock4:31 pm 30 Mar 23

So, ChatGPT works by scraping the internet for all documents relating to the request (leaving out anything it doesn’t quite understand, like Canberra) and then creates a response based on that.

Does that mean it’s created the most average, generic lager based on all the lager recipes published on the web?

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