5 Things I Learned on My Way to Becoming a Certified Beer Server - Zoe Cuthbert
It’s been just over a week since I became a Certified Beer Server having passed the Cicerone certified exam with my Brewgooder colleagues. Being a self-confessed water geek with no prior beer knowledge, the last few weeks have involved tasting lots of beer, a few hangovers and cramming like mad before the final exam.
From my journey I think there are a few points worth sharing. From a novice craft beer drinker to becoming a wannabe beer geek, here’s what I’ve taken away so far:
1) Who Knew?
Who knew there was so many beers out there. The diversity in styles, taste and tradition excite me and at the same time boggle the mind. Learning terms such as horse blanket and diacetyl weren’t what I expected but I sure am glad they're now in my vocabulary. It’s not all about hop heavy IPAs (although they are delicious) and I have found that my favourite style is Saison, which originated as style from Belgium used to refresh farmhands while they worked the fields. I don’t know if it’s the dry, refreshing finish that I like or the drinking at work… but it’s my new favourite tipple.
2) Craft beer is not new
What we consider craft beer now has traditions stretching back across continents and centuries. Did you know that beer was invented as a way to make water safe to drink? We should really find a way to make the opposite happen nowadays ;)
3) Tasting is Knowledge - Knowledge is Queen
Only so much about beer can be learned from a book. Unless you taste the great beers out and talk them through with others who have done the same you’ll only learn words.
4) R. E. S. P. E. C. T. (to the Barkeep)
Part of this journey meant getting behind the bars to master the perfect serve. I have found that craft beer’s most passionate people are those who serve it to us. From the heavy technical engineering that goes into keeping a cellar to the knowledge needed to explain different styles to punters and the diligence that goes into the perfect pint, Team BG have learned so much from the real heroes of the frontline of the craft beer industry.
5) Craft beer is accessible to anyone
From someone who came into beer from a water policy background I have, quite simply, grown to love beer and this friendly, collaborative industry. From my experiences to date, craft beer is all about celebrating… well… craft beer in all its shapes and sizes. It is this friendly energy and enthusiastic curiosity that motivates me on to opening my Certified Cicerone workbook…