Cathay Pacific's unique Betsy Beer – an ale designed for altitude, where taste profiles change and tend to 'bland' out – is now being served in business class on all of the airline's flights from Australia to Hong Kong during April.
It's a decent fit around two things which Australians love: travel and, well, beer, but increasingly bespoke craft beers rather than mass-produced brews.
And Betsy Beer is all about bespoke: this signature pour is a private label beer produced by the Hong Kong Beer Company and named for the airline's first aircraft, a 1946 Douglas DC-3.
An unfiltered wheat beer rather than a conventional hops-based brew, Betsy Beer brings together ingredients sourced from both Hong Kong and the UK, in a nod to the airline's dual heritage.
That east-meets-west combo includes Dragon Eye fruit or longan, which adds to the beer's round, rich textural properties; a hint of honey from the New Territories, for an agreeable floral note; and Fuggle, a revered hop and a mainstay of traditional British craft ales, to ground the beer with an earthy full-bodied flavour.
Even the carbonation process has been tweaked to 10% higher than for a conventional beer in order to stimulate your tongue's flavour receptors when it's time for some sky-high sipping – and that's where Betsy tastes best.
Betsy Beer tasting notes
Betsy Beer is also available on the ground at Cathay Pacific's Hong Kong and London lounges, and as you'd expect it's decidedly full-flavoured and noticeably sweet and aromatic at zero feet above sea level.
Certainly not undrinkably so, especially if you prefer wheat beer anyway, but fruitier and full-bodied than you would expect.
Break out a Betsy once you're cruising above the clouds and it's like tasting a different edition of the same beer: the smoothness returns and the formerly up-front sweetness is dialled back to more subtle notes.
Our tip: if you're keen to try a Betsy Beer on any Cathay Pacific flight from Australia to Hong Kong this month, at the very first opportunity you should ask the cabin crew to put a bottle aside for you.
We're uncertain of how many bottles of Betsy are being loaded for each flight – and we've asked Cathay Pacific to share that information with us – but on a Sydney-Hong Kong flight last week there were less than a dozen bottles allocated for an almost-full business class cabin of 39 seats.
You don't have to drink your Betsy right away, although there's nothing wrong with that – but you don't want to miss out trying a bottle of the beer that's brewed to taste best in the sky.