In a day’s work, a brewer performs many tasks: weighing, pouring, recording, stirring, raking, lifting, fork-lifting, squatting, climbing, washing, mopping ….

But by far, the best task of all is tasting. Really. Drinking beer while on the clock is not only a perk of the job, but a necessary and important duty.

Ultimately, all beers are judged by their taste. That’s why brewers consult gauges, test strips and other objective tools to ensure their end product has the right chemical characteristics that will make it taste a certain way. But twenty-first century technology cannot alone earn brewers’ trust. It still comes down to the good ol’ fashioned human olfactory system to make what amount to crucial business decisions. Is this IPA too hoppy? Is there enough nutmeg in the pumpkin ale? Is this batch of the flagship lager consistent with all the previous ones? It’s the tongue that speaks the truth.

And it’s a myth that swallowing is prohibited when tasting beer. Brewers sip their product for the full effect. And from the primo, extra-fermented test batches, they get the flushed cheeks to prove it.

After all, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do when you’re a taste maker.


Thanks to Dylan L’Abbe-Lindquist, Brian Fines and the great people at Cape Ann Brewing Company. Find them at: