Alright, so my last post was, I must admit, a piece of garbage. It came spewing out after a few too many sours. Right now it is Wednesday morning, I have a cup of black coffee in my hands, and hopefully my writing will make a bit more sense.
Thinking of ways to add a supplement to my meager beer bar income, I have decided to maintain a blog. For the past couple of months, I have been studying for the Certified Cicerone exam. For those out there unaware of what that is, it is a program designed to create an industry standard for beer expertise along the same lines as the Master Sommelier program that the wine world has had in place for quite a while.
The program consists of three levels:
1) Certified Beer Server: Designed for those working in the beer service and retail business. It tests your knowledge of responsible service of alcohol; proper retail procedures to ensure that beer sold is served to the customer at its best, with no off flavors that come as a result of mishandling; the most common beer styles in the US; and other areas of knowledge that any good beertender or salesman should know.
2)Certified Cicerone: Those who pass have demonstrated that they have a detailed knowledge of all modern beer styles, as well as some historical ones; the brewing process; proper service of beer in order to highlight its best qualities; food pairings; and much, much more. This is the level I am striving for, and once I pass (optimism) I will be able to call myself a Certified Cicerone.
3) Master Cicerone: This is the damned crazy level of the program. Essentially those that pass know every thing about everything related to beer. They can identify specific hop varietals by flavor and aroma, they can describe what goes on at the molecular level during mashing, and they can tell you about the many diseases that can infect a hop plant. Only a few have passed this ridiculous level of the test. I have no plans as of yet to be the fourth.
And so, for about two months now, I have had my nose in the books, hoping to gather enough knowledge to achieve this rank. I swear, I never studied this hard in college. One thing I have noticed is that there is not any one specific source that an inquisitive beer lover can go to in order to gather all of this information. It is my intention to build one. I am certain that my posts will be inconsistent, at least at first. My goal is to write one short article per week regarding some bit of knowledge needed for the test. So wish me luck on my research and on my test. Lets hope that come January this website will be full of useful beer information and that I will be able to announce that I am a Certified Cicerone.