What's a Cicerone

A cicerone is to beer what a sommelier is to wine. As stated on the Cicerone Certification Program webpage...

The Cicerone Certification Program has become the industry standard for identifying those with significant knowledge and professional skills in beer sales and service. The Cicerone Certification Program offers independent assessment and certification so that industry professionals—as well as consumers—can be sure of the knowledge and skills possessed by current and prospective beer servers.

Yesterday I took the Cicerone Certified Beer Server exam. Immediately I thought I would fail because the early questions were more difficult than my knowledge would handle. I'd studied the syllabus well and the thought I was prepared - but felt I was not. It was 60 multiple-choice questions to be anwsered within 30 minutes. When I was done, I'd passed with an 88% score - far better than I had expected. Later in the exam some of the questions began to click. Also, I found that "mindful beer tasting" was the key to understanding many of the beer style questions.

A good friend of mine, when I'd asked him gaining a great understanding of wine told me simply, drink more. Actually I've found no better substitute.

National Public Radio recently did a very good story on this new certification program (five-years old) entitled, Wine Has Sommeliers. Now, Beer Has Cicerones.