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Pick the dude with the palate

Thought for the day from Mark Matheson, who brews beer at Turtle Mountain Brewing in Rio Rancho, recently started his own winery (Matheson Wines), and also directs the winemaking at Santa Fe Vineyards.

He graduated with a degree in fermentation science from UC-Davis, studying both oenology and brewing, and certainly appreciates the the value of technical knowledge. So he’s not blowing smoke when he says:

“If I had two guys, one a microbiologist and one not a microbiologist and the second one had a really good palate, then I would hire the dude with the palate. At the end of the day, what matter is does it make the beer better? What does it taste like? That’s the part you have to be good at.”

3 Responses to Pick the dude with the palate

  1. Bob Kunz October 25, 2007 at 10:09 am #

    Agreed! It’s amazing how easy it is to forget how important the palate’s role is across the spectrum of beer, from brewer to consumer. When I worked for Craftsman Brewing Co., my boss, Mark Jilg, a man usually biased against formal brewing education, always said that the number one tool a brewer can possess is a good palate.

  2. Doug October 26, 2007 at 1:22 am #

    Just because he has a good palate doesn’t mean he wont be completely useless at everything else. A good palate is important, but it wont help you when you ferment sticks, your beer refuse to go through the filter or help you successfully manage people.

  3. Stan Hieronymus October 26, 2007 at 6:43 am #

    I think Mark is expecting a certain amount of brewery competence as well.

    After all, knowing microbiology doesn’t make you an expert on filters ;>)

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