Every Thursday, Lakefront Brewery employees get the opportunity to sample beer, but it’s not what you think. They are not necessarily trying the latest Lakefront innovation or what’s on tap. It’s part of the brewery’s sensory training that not only helps identify discrepancies in the beer but also determines an individual’s own tasting abilities.
On Sept. 29, the sensory training featured two different categories. Individuals had to sample three beers in each category and rank them.
The first was a preference test based on three IPAs. One was a bottle that the brewery was packaging that day, basically the freshest beer. The second was a can packaged on the 230th day of the year, Aug. 18, and third was a draft.
“They all are relatively fresh beer. It’s just different packaging. Ideally you want everything to taste exactly the same,” Lakefront’s head brewer Luther Paul said.
The second test was a triangle test to determine which of three beers was different than the others. It featured Lakefront’s gluten-free lime beer, La Gose Rita. Of the three samples, two were in bottles and one was in a can.
“It is a different packaging experience,” Paul said. “The beers that are bottled are bottled here. That can, we have Point can it. It travels up there. The big difference between those two is it is pasteurized. Pasteurization knocks off a little edge of the citrus. It definitely makes a difference that way.”
Lakefront Brewery has been conducting these sensory trainings for several years with Paul leading it for the last year-and-a-half. On a good day, he can get 20 people participating in the training. Lakefront Brewery follows the American Society of Brewing Chemist’s methods of analysis. Paul inputs all of the responses in a running spreadsheet that he can return to, looking up which beers are above or below average as well as commenting on the beers.