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Beer tasting while keeping sane not the 'best job in the world'

world Updated: Jun 22, 2010 09:42 IST

ANI
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Jon Elks, a Brit beer taster with Carlsberg, says there is a more serious side to his calling even though he believes it is the ''world's best job''. The profession demands a "full control of your senses all the time", according to him.

Elks is in charge of quality control at the Carlsberg brewery in Northampton.

Currently he and his tasting team are putting in extra hours of work as the soccer World Cup boosts alcohol consumption across the UK.

Nine years of training helps Elks identify about 70 different smells and flavours -from strawberry to leather - from a single sip.

He bagged the job when he was 21 after responding to an advert in the local paper which said: "Wanted: People for the tasting of beer."

But Elks, 30, says he's supped only about 450 pints during his time in the job because the expert sips he takes are small.

"My mates can be a bit jealous and I do get accused of not having a proper job," The Sun quoted Elks, as saying.

He added: "I have to point out to them that it's not all about drinking beer. Although that's not to say I don't still enjoy it."

Every day at the same time a panel of six people gathers at the brewery's official tasting room to drink that day's samples.

Tasters are not allowed to use perfume or aftershave and they cannot eat strong foods or smoke for an hour before the tasting session begins.

The session takes place at 11.30am because this is the time when the tastebuds are believed to be at their most sensitive.

The job, like all others, has its fair share of work pressure as the tasters try to make sure all the 54,000 bottles of Carlsberg beer that run off the production line every hour are of the highest standard.

Elks said: "Every couple of months we are given six random beers, one of which has been spiked with a particular smell or flavour, just to keep us on our toes and make sure we don't lose our edge.

"You have to be in full control of your senses all the time. But it's probably the best job in the world."