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2nd February 2021

Off Flavors: How Covid Has (Temporarily) Ruined Beer for Member and Beer Sommelier, Maggie Cubbler

From Maggie Cubbler:

“One minute I was enjoying more than my fair share of my son’s Halloween candy, the next I was frantically trying to see if I could smell my hand lotions, perfumes, bleach. Anything. But, there was nothing. It was like my nose was dead: I got Covid. After a period of self-isolation and googling “anosmia and Covid,” I genuinely cried tears of relief when a little less than four weeks after losing my sense of smell I could taste and smell a beer just like I had always done before. It was a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, to be exact.

More weeks of lockdown came and went. Christmas and New Year’s did too. And while my improvement wasn’t linear—some days were worse than others and beer was never normal—I felt as though I was one of the lucky ones who just had to ride it out for a little while. Until, suddenly, everything that I loved started smelling horrible. As though the most retched, revolting mixture of burning chemicals and rancid BO replaced many of my life’s pleasures: coffee, my favorite perfume, beer.

So here I am today, approximately one month into dealing with parosmia. The good news is apparently this means that my olfactory system is healing. The bad news? There’s no way of knowing when it could be fixed. If ever. I’m trying a number of things from CBD oil to research-based smell training to make sure I heal properly but I don’t know what my future in beer holds. Not unlike the rest of the industry, to be fair. Just another layer of isolation.”

For more information, contact Maggie Cubbler on