Monday, March 3, 2014

Friday and Monday

I never had time to post a blog on Friday since we went on a tour of Metropolitan, so I'll try to recount Friday's events in addition to today's event in this post.

On Friday morning, we talked about carbonation, quality control, and quality assurance. A lot of the talk focused around the various ways of testing beers and how to properly carbonate. After carbonation, we talked about how to set up a tasting panel, how to properly taste beer, and different types of taste tests that we can do.

We ended the day with a mock tasting session. We were asked to differentiate between three glasses of beer, one of which had Bud Light and the other two being Budweiser. Our class was not able to definitively tell a difference between the two beers. If I remember correctly, about 60% of the class noticed that the Bud light was the different beers, but only 5 or 6 people correctly identified the difference as being the mouthfeel of the beer.

After that test, we were given two glasses and we were told to vote on which one we liked better. One of the glasses had regular Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and the other one had SNPA that was spiked with diacetyl. I smelled the diacetyl in the sample and didn't even drink it because I could tell from the aroma that I would not be supportive of that beer. Only 8 people in the class said they liked the diacetyl sample better.

After the mock tasting panel, we did a palate training course with Belgian styles. By the end of the palate training, the alcohol was beginning to make an impression on most of the class, and it was time to take a field trip to Metroplitan. It was a nice small brewery that specializes in German lagers. They were very friendly and they gave us a lot of samples during our tour,

Today was a fun day filled with a lecture on bottling and packaging, followed by statistics. After our stats lecture, we got on a bus and headed over to Goose Island's main production facility. I was on a tour with Ian Hughes, the Environmental and Safety Manager. He was a very friendly tour guide. He fielded all the questions that we asked him, including what it was like to be working in a craft brewery owned by Anheuser Busch. From everything he told us, it sounded like the only real differences since the buy out have all been improvements. He specifically mentioned a greater awareness of safety and an even greater emphasis on quality control.

We got to see the barrel aging rooms at the brewery and we saw a brewday in progress. It was a great tour and I personally gained a lot of respect for what they are doing at Goose Island. Their barrel aging program was awesome, their equipment was really nice, and the beer we got to sample was top notch. All in all, today was a great day.

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