Decoding Flavor: Four Keys to Tasting

Written by Julia Herz for craftbeer.com

flavor-main1I like to call craft-brewed beer a cerebral beverage. Based on all the flavors, variety and innovation going on today, it certainly gives beer lovers much to talk about. But therein lies the challenge…

In talking about flavor on a daily basis, I’ve searched high and low for a solid answer on what exactly flavor is, how the heck we perceive it, and more importantly, describe it.

Admittedly, as one on a flavor-finding journey, and ever a palate athlete in training—we train each bite people—the bottom line is flavors are often difficult to describe. There are a multitude of books on the very topic. A new one that relates directly to pairing is Beer, Food, and Flavor by Schuyler Schultz.

Schultz talks about tasting in terms of attack: primary, secondary and tertiary flavor characteristics, finish, balance and dimension. There’s also the stand-by bible Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher. For those who really want to geek out, read Neurogastronomy by Gordon Shepherd, or Sensory Evaluation Techniques by Morten Meilgaard, Gail Vance Civille and B. Thomas Carr.

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West Sixth Brewing Company

Written by Tom Law

West-Sixth-IPA-300x198Show up a little before 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning at West Sixth Brewing Company and the beer garden is already packed and buzzing. Twenty something’s mix and mingle with others in their 30s, 40s and 50s. No, they’re not there for a special early-morning tasting or even a tailgate party in the brewery’s spacious taproom. They’re there for the West Sixth Running Club’s half marathon training team workout, just one of many events at the new brewery on any given day that gives the operation housed in a former bread factory a true community feel.

Other days it’s a yoga class in the beer garden, or perhaps a group of science enthusiasts listening to an informal presentation on topics ranging from fracking to the way wine drinking affects aging. On the sixth of every month the brewery hosts “6th for a Cause,” events where West Sixth donates six percent of its profits to charity, allowing the brewery’s owners to continue to foster their mission and give back to the same community that has helped it become one of the fastest growing and most popular hangouts in town.

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