Much like their wine-enthusiast counterparts, beer sommeliers are making their way up the ranks in this certifiable bar trend. But how can you tell the pros from the cons?
Bar Trend Breeds Bar Schools
There are many schools now offering a Beer Sommelier certification. The Institute for Brewing and Distilling in the United Kingdom requires any prospective sommelier student to have passed a Beer Academy Advanced Course, a course on Beer Judging, and ABCQ, as well as providing a Portfolio of Evidence for their proficiency.
Doeman’s Academy requires all students to create a beer meal and beer menu, pass a sensory test to describe different beer varieties, an oral exam on beer presentation, and two written exams before they can graduate from the course.
What is a Cicerone?
Having seen the phrase Beer Sommelier thrown around by people with no proven expertise on the subject, Sayre Piotrkowski created the Cicerone Certification to differentiate between hobbyists and true beer experts.
The word Cicerone refers to a guide who conducts sightseers through museums and “explains matters of archaeological, antiquarian, historic, or artistic interest.” Cicerones, like sommeliers, are supposed to appreciate and convey that appreciation for their chosen spirit, to any diner interested in a deeper knowledge of their experience.
What Does it Take to Be a Master Cicerone
There are three levels to Cicerone certification: Certified Beer Server, Certified Cicerone, and Master Cicerone. To enter the Master Cicerone class, a student must already be a Certified Cicerone with at least two years of experience in the beer trade and three professional references.
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