Craig Thomas (1), Amaey Mundkur; (1) Cara Technology Limited, Leatherhead, U.K.
Mixtures of beer and carbonated soft drinks are popular in many parts of Europe. They possess flavor attributes derived both from beer and soft drinks. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of such products are available, as well as clear and cloudy products. While these beverages are made exclusively in breweries, the capability of brewery tasters to evaluate such products is often limited. Primarily this is because taster training programs and training materials focus on beer and do not facilitate skills development for products other than beer. To help improve this situation, we have identified the key flavor attributes in a wide range of beer mix products and developed stabilized reference flavor standards to represent them. These materials include 18 positive flavor characteristics found in beer mix products, and 8 off-flavors and taints. We have successfully used these materials to train professional tasters in breweries that manufacture such products.
Craig Thomas works for U.K.-based Cara Technology Limited, supporting professional tasters and professional taste panels all over the world in developing their beer evaluation skills. Raised in Colorado, Craig studied history at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland before graduating with an M.S. degree in brewing and distilling from Heriot-Watt University in the same city. Craig is a former recipient of the Morgan Stanley Award for Academic Excellence and a Certified Cicerone.