There are a lot of beers out there. So how do you tell if the beer you're drinking tastes like it's supposed to?
For the seasoned brewer, these off flavors can be easier to spot. But St. Paul's Tin Whiskers Brewery wants to make sure all beer drinkers can tell when a beer isn't tasting quite right.
The brewery held a "beer nerd off-flavor course" Wednesday, where taproom manager Andy Bobst went over the eight most commonly occurring off flavors that can make your beer taste (and smell) pretty bad.
Probably the worst beer tasting ever
Tin Whiskers provided samples of its Wheatstone Bridge American-style wheat beer with these off flavors infused into the brew. (No, they didn't purposely brew the beer wrong – they used a kit from a brewing academy that allows breweries to mimic the off flavors).
Using different smelling and tasting techniques, a group of more than a dozen beer lovers (most of them had experience making beer, but not this reporter) tried to detect these funky flavors.
There were some tastes that you couldn't get out of your mouth(metal and old, dirty socks for example), while some of them were kind of hard to spot – and apparently that's pretty normal. Being able to smell these flavors is all based on your genetics, and everyone senses them differently.
Click here to read a quick rundown of some of the smells and tastes you may come across, and what could cause them.
So, something's funky – now what?
If you do notice something funky about your beer (and not in the good, sour beer kind of way), ask questions.
Ask your bartender if that's how it's supposed to taste. Or reach out to the brewery and say it tastes a little off. The brewery wants to know if their beer isn't up to snuff so they can try to figure out what went wrong.
Making sure beer is high quality is important as Minnesota's craft beer industry continues to boom. As competition increases, the breweries that are making high-quality beer will stand out against the 100-plus breweries in the state (and the thousands of others across the country).
This sentiment has been echoed by many longtime craft brewers in the industry, VinePair reported, with Founders Brewing co-founder Mike Stevens telling the publication that breweries not focused on the craft will thin out.
"The strong will survive and the weak will die has been an applicable statement to many industries. For us in the craft space it’s no different ... Quality will survive, lack thereof will die," he said.
For more on beer quality, check out this podcast with Rebecca Newman, the quality director at Summit Brewing Company.