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WSJ: "As Craft Brew Sales Grow Frothy, Pourers With Pedigrees Bubble Up"

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by rousee, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. rousee

    rousee Advocate (565) Massachusetts Aug 13, 2004 Verified

  2. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Was about to post this too. Anyone take the quiz? 100% Does that make me an honorary Cicerone? ;)
  3. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Verified

    Just did. Answers all seemed pretty obvious, even if the Stout question might ruffle some feathers (though it's obvious that they're going for the 'conventional wisdom' answer).
    Chaz likes this.
  4. Hanzo

    Hanzo Champion (965) Virginia Feb 27, 2012

    Nice article.

    Got one wrong on the quiz, "which of the following is a dark ale made with roast barley so that it has a flavor reminiscent of coffee?"

    I went porter for some reason :(
  5. Yeah the stout question was a little lame, but I can tell which answer they're looking for. I was more tripped up by this questions --> "What is the key flavor difference between ales and lagers?"

    I'm not the smartest beer geek on the planet, but it seemed like a bogus question. I don't think any of the answer choices are 100% true. It's like picking the least wrong answer, which itself is subjective. Please don't tell me the cicerone exam has questions like this.
  6. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Yeah, to us probably.
  7. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Verified

    True, but even to those in the biz I'd put the questions as pretty basic. If I were to look at an upside I'd say that if this represented the bare minimum of knowledge that servers I'd encounter would have, it would definitely represent a step up. Man, we have a long way to go ;) ...
    bozodogbreath likes this.
  8. kexp

    kexp Savant (275) North Carolina May 10, 2007

    I am of the opinion that my server's beer knowledge should come through experience, rather than a $70 written test. I get the impression that restaurants use this as a marketing item.
  9. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Advocate (570) Colorado Dec 9, 2011 Verified

    I just hope that beer pedigrees don't lead to beer snobbiness like IMHO what's transpired with wine.
  10. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (845) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    Unfortunately, passing even the highest level cicerone exam still leaves you without the most sought after qualification for serving beer, large breasts.
  11. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Yeah, that's far above the minimum knowledge of any servers I know!
  12. Grohnke

    Grohnke Savant (405) Illinois Sep 15, 2009

    Its pretty valid man. Ester production is high in ales as a result of the warmer fermentation temperatures. Lagers are fermented at cooler temps, thus dont have (have less) a fruity/estery component.
    Spider889 and JxExM like this.
  13. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Verified

    Depends on where you go. Obviously in beer bars, brew pubs, etc. servers will be knowledgeable (heck- one of the reasons I love going to places like that is to shoot the shit with people who are familiar with the craft brewing scene). But in neighborhood watering holes, chain restaurants, and the like I'd suspect it could be a whole lot better across the board.
  14. Yeah I definitely understand that, and I assumed that's where they were coming from, but I can think of lagers that give me plenty of fruity notes. Hell, maybe because just last night I had this...
    and others that come to mind, like Korbinian, and Ayinger's Jahrhundert, etc. don't fit the fruit-less lager mold to me. But I guess those are considered mere exceptions to the general rule. I just figured they were latching on to the other not-entirely true statement of "ales are (typically) more malty"
    TongoRad likes this.
  15. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Oh, don't take that for granted -- I know a few brew-pubs where the servers don't know diddly.

    I saw someone ask for "something like a Maibock" that had just been finished at a pub. Bar tender says, "Well, we got this Brown Ale." o_O
  16. The test is not there to *give* them knowledge, they should get the knowledge from training, reading, and experience. The test it there to prove that they do have that knowlege.
    IceAce and steveh like this.
  17. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Advocate (515) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    You need to drink at better bars.
  18. Hanzo

    Hanzo Champion (965) Virginia Feb 27, 2012

    I have to say with the internet I can find just about anything I want to know about a particular beer, so I for one would trade being served by the greatest Cicerone for an attractive female.
  19. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Someone needs to open better bars -- or at least train their servers better.
  20. kexp

    kexp Savant (275) North Carolina May 10, 2007

    I hear what you're saying. But if I read the article correctly, the recipient gets a syllabus to study, and the test is based on the syllabus. No tasting involved, no knowledge of the breweries, etc. Does it really matter if a server can list the 4 basic ingredients of beer? Maybe I'm just cynical. More likely, I am jealous that I didn't figure out a way to extract $70 for each server to study a short syllabus and test them on it, then market the Cicerone brand as an industry standard.
  21. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Advocate (515) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    Maybe you need to move. :)

    I have a number of them near me. Enough that I dont have to go to places with crappy servers.
  22. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    In Louisville? Things must be changing down there.

    I have quite a few places to go where there is good beer served, just that a knowledgable bar tender is far from the norm. I rely on myself to make the right choices.
  23. jageraholic

    jageraholic Advocate (500) Massachusetts Sep 16, 2009 Verified

    I'm not sure about the fancy names. I just like a knowledgeable beer guy. I'm not looking to order a Venti from a Barista.
  24. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Advocate (515) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    Lot has happened here in the last decade or so (Im including New Albany as part of Louisville).

    For one thing, this place opened 2 years ago: http://holygralelouisville.com/ . It will be hosting its 2nd Zwanze Day in a few weeks.

    I believe part/all the servers there are low level cicerone certified. They know A LOT more than the depth of questions shown in that sample.
  25. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Good to know. I had a friend who lived down there for a while and was starving for good beer -- so much so, he moved to Boulder!
  26. TMoney2591

    TMoney2591 Poobah (1,055) Illinois Apr 21, 2009

    For the higher levels, there is indeed a syllabus, but there's also a tasting portion, which you can't really study for beyond experience with the product on your tongue.

    Also, think of a college degree: You're given a syllabus, you're given books to reference, then you're given a test and, if you do well enough on said test, you get a piece of paper that shows you supposedly know a certain amount. All for a price. Not much difference really, especially considering that in both cases the true results bear themselves out in the future, when those who put in true effort and dedication rise and those that coasted fall (ideally, anyway...).
    kexp likes this.
  27. vurt

    vurt Advocate (655) Oregon Apr 11, 2004 Verified

    (shrug) Maybe that's the maltiest brew they had on tap. A brown ale might be a stretch for a maibock drinker, but not nearly as much as an IPA or pale ale would be.
  28. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Their Brown Ale (hell, any Brown Ale) was nothing at all like their Maibock. Hoppy, roasty, estery -- nowhere near the same. If you'd seen the bar tender you could tell he was tap-dancing.
  29. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,440) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    Unless you drink a lot of beer and get male beer tits.
  30. IceAce

    IceAce Advocate (570) California Jan 8, 2004

    Decent enough article...until this,

    I'm sure Mr. Gardner would have tactfully pointed out that cask is naturally carbonated and not 'un-carbonated'.

    Still...one of the better explanations of the Cicerone® program
  31. Very cool article on the program, and I'd like to commend Mr. Gardner both for the mustache and the checkered bow tie. Well played sir.
  32. rousee

    rousee Advocate (565) Massachusetts Aug 13, 2004 Verified

    There are plenty of beer advocates that arent on this site
  33. nrs207

    nrs207 Advocate (715) Pennsylvania Sep 8, 2011 Verified

    Was gonna say. I thought that answer was pretty correct.