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I’m a Certified Beer Server!

(Reposted from

I’m sure I’m not the first person on from GirlsPintOut to take the Cicerone Certified Beer Server test – not by a long-shot. But since I have successfully completed my certification I want to share the details of what the test is and why I’ve chosen to out some time into it. So let me give you some background in case you’re curious…

Cicerone logoFirst, let’s back up. A “Cicerone” beer test? What is a cicerone? A cicerone, by classical definitions, is a guide. As it pertains to beer, a cicerone is a beer guide – knowledgeable in all aspects of beer including the making and serving of beer and the 120+ (current) styles of beer. A cicerone must past a series of tests, starting with the Certified Beer Server test, to affirm that they know what they’re talking about and will not lead their poor followers astray. The tests are administered through, though the second and third-level certifications require that the test be administered in person in order to complete the tasting portions.

Currently I’m in the middle of fairly intensive beer classes with Erik Lars Myers of the newly-opened Mystery Brewing. Once the class is over we hope to have a group take the next level of the exam to become Certified Cicerones. This level is, of course, much more difficult, with detailed beer style questions, tastings for off-flavors and specific styles, beer and food pairing concepts, and knowledge of the entire brewing process. Why yes, yes I am nervous.

If you want to know if you’ve got what it takes, you can start by taking the sample exam. Now keep in mind that this has sample questions from all levels of certification, so it’s harder than the Certified Beer Server test will be. That being said it’s a good way to gauge your comfort-level with what’s included in the program. » Sample Exam (registration required).
You can also start by reading the Certified Beer Server syllabus here » CBS syllabus.

And lest you think the “Master Cicerone” level is just way too out there I’m pleased to report that as of January 5th, 2012 Nicole Erny of California became the first female Master Cicerone – and the youngest so far! There are only three previous Master Cicerones (Erny makes four) so it is certainly an accomplishment.

If you’re interested in the program or have more questions not covered here, check out the website. Now go start that beer studying!