We are drinkers – well, I assume that you are a drinker if you’re here.  I’m certainly a drinker.  But there are other parts of this whole “craft beer thing” that sometimes we forget about in our eagerness to drink.  One of these sides is quality control.

To get a little glimpse inside it, we need to talk about MadTree.  MadTree doesn’t take quality control lightly at all.  They’ve built a team inside their brewery that has the purpose of making sure that the beer as it leaves MadTree is exactly the way that it was intended to taste.  These are people with sophisticated palates, and the education needed to put what they taste into the words to properly describe it.  They are the gatekeepers, if it doesn’t pass them, it doesn’t hit shelves.

Of course, some things will always be out of the control of the brewery, especially when you start dealing with storage and handling issues with beer once it leaves the facility. One thing that MadTree doesn’t ever want to hear, is that their beer has a noticeable flaw, and some of these flaws can show up over time, after it’s already made it out.  For that, it’s up to you as an educated beer drinker to be on the lookout for issues at all your favorite breweries.

Our local breweries want us all to be better beer drinkers, better beer tasters.  They want smart fans who know what they’re tasting, and know how to communicate it with them. Enter Sensory 100, a class designed to turn the palates of every day drinkers into sophisticated tasting machines.  MadTree brought this class to us as a bit of an experiment, to see how people responded to something like it.  After selling out extremely fast, I think it’s obvious that we want to be as sophisticated of drinkers as they’d like us all to be.

About The Class

I can’t even tell you how great that ‘Sensory 100’ was.  For $40, every person attending got to sit through a couple of hours of hands on tasting, and evaluating of spiked samples of beer.  We were taught how to taste beer, how to analyze what your senses are picking up, and then how to isolate things that shouldn’t be in there in order to pick out, flavors such as:

  • Acetaldehyde
  • Acetic
  • Butyric Acid
  • Chlorophenol
  • Diacetyl
  • DMS
  • Metallic
  • Musty
  • Papery/Oxidized
  • Phenolic 4-EP

After learning about and tasting each flavor, we went through 10 more samples of spiked beer to see if we could identify each one on their own blindly.

Everyone left MadTree that night with a new understanding of tasting, flavors, and the process that a brewery like MadTree goes through to make sure that their beer leaves their facility perfect.  It’s a fascinating look into the side of craft beer that we often forget about.  We also left the brewery with a killer MadTree tasting glass to proudly display.

So… if you happen to see that MadTree is offering this class again (and rumors are that they will be very soon) I can’t recommend enough that you sign up for it.  It was awesome not just to improve as a beer drinker, but to get a look “behind the scenes” a little bit at the other side of MadTree that makes them who they are.

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