Anybody can claim to be a beer expert, and those who do are so often outrageously wrong.
If you don’t believe me, go sit in a craft brewery taproom for a little bit. A colleague was once incognito in their own taproom and heard someone claim a beer was aged in leather bags “like haggis.”
Claiming to be an expert without credentials can be harmful, especially if you work in beer. Anything from not storing the beer right to improper draft cleaning and management practices can destroy great products. And worse, give people — especially first-timers — the wrong idea about beer.
Luckily, there’s the Cicerone® Certification Program. Not only do they provide certifications to help you know who actually knows their stuff, but they also offer a hub of training programs to up your beer game.
In my opinion, if you work in the service industry you should seek to achieve their first-level certification — a Certified Beer Server — at a minimum.
But even if you don’t work in beer, Cicerone’s® training programs can be highly beneficial. They give you a concentrated primer of beer history, beer making, off-flavors, selecting, storage, and more.
This will ultimately make you a better consumer — from picking beers to storing and serving them.
Here’s a look at what Cicerone® Training options are available.
BeerSavvy® is an online course that takes you through the foundations of keeping and serving beer, beer flavor, beer styles and history.
It’s a concentrated dose of videos, interactive activities, and quizzes to make sure you’re retaining the information.
Best of all, you can go at your own pace. You have 90 days to work and rework through the entire course. Cicerone® says it takes about five-to-eight hours to complete. For me personally, I sat down on a Saturday with the coffee pot next to me and went through the entire course.
Also, taking the online exam for the Certified Beer Server is included, and you can take it whenever you’re ready.
Just because a flavor is in the beer doesn’t mean it belongs there. Off-flavor training sessions will teach you how to detect what’s gone wrong and why. But be warned: once you get in touch with your senses this way, there’s no going back.
Cicerone® offers an in-person version ($49) of this, as well as two online versions where they send you a kit and provide a webinar instruction to run through it.
Behind every great beer is a great malt selection. Even the juiciest of juiciest IPAs require a carefully selected malt bill, whether you actively taste it or not.
If you really want to take your appreciation and evaluation of beer to the next level, you need to get personal with the types of malt and how they come to be.
The Cicerone® Malt Box Webinar does just that. You get eight malt samples and a webinar to guide you through tasting them.
Road to Cicerone® Bootcamp
A big disclaimer that this bootcamp is geared towards those in the industry, rather than enthusiasts. But again, the information gathered here will revolutionize your perspective on beer if you can justify the personal investment (nearly $2,000).
This is the big leagues, my friend. It’s a five-day in-person crash course. It’s off-flavors, malt tastings, and much more hands-on with industry professionals.
Liked this article? Sign up for our newsletter to get the best craft beer writing on the web delivered straight to your inbox.