Vail beer experts |

Vail beer experts

Sarah Mausolfsmausolf@vaildaily.comVail CO, Colorado
HL Beer Workshop 1 DT 1-10-09

VAIL, Colorado 10 a.m.: Too early for a beer-and-cheese pairing?Not for true connoisseurs.Inside the Vail Marriott Friday morning, Matthew Austin sipped West Coast ale and nibbled a square of cheddar cheese.That one was great, he concluded. Big, heavy, bold cheese with a rich beer. Great way to treat yourself.If Austin trains to become a Cicerone a certified beer expert treating himself to beers will count as studying.A manager at Beaver Liquors in Avon, Austin was among a group of people who gathered at the Marriott to learn about the relatively new Cicerone certification program. The workshop was part of the annual Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines festival.Basically, in the wine world, they have a sommelier, said Ron Kloth, owner of Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, Ariz., and a leader of the workshop. The beer world didnt have anything. Ray Daniels, who has been in the beer business forever, came up with this program in order to certify people to become the equivalent of a wine sommelier in the beer world.There are three levels of getting serious about beer: certified beer server (you have to pass a 60-question online test), certified Cicerone and master Cicerone.Only seven people in the country have become certified Cicerones since the testing began in April, said Kloth, who is one of them.It was pretty hard, he said. It definitely is not an easy test because it covers so many different aspects. There are approximately 80 different beer styles you have to know.The test consists of a four-hour exam, essay questions, and a tasting test. It covers everything from beer storage to beer serving. So far, no one has achieved the master Cicerone title, which demands a two-day test with essays and an oral exam, Kloth said. A list of testing dates and locations appears on Lodge, founder of the annual Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines festival, hopes to host the test at next winters festival. Hes also working on getting a local group together to study for it.Lodge said the Vail Valley could benefit from having certified Cicerones.I think if you have a restaurant that has a Cicerone on staff, theyre not going to have a bad beer list, he said.High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

Test your beer IQ with these sample questions from the Cicerone test1. Which is true:a. The higher your weight, the lower your blood alcohol content will be for a given amount of drinksb. The alcohol in beer must be digested by stomach enzymes before it can enter your bloodstream2. Moderate to high bitterness levels would be least likely in which of the following styles?a. India Pale Aleb. Scottish Alec. Irish Stoutd. American Pale Ale3. Which of the following beer styles would most likely display banana and clove aromas or flavors?a. American Wheatb. India Pale Alec. Irish Stoutd. German-style Weizen4. About how many hop varieties are grown around the world?a. 1b. 5c. 75 to 125d. more than 1,0005. True or false: This is the proper sequence for cleaning and preparing a beer glassEmpty, wash, rinse, sanitize, dry, rinse1. A; 2. B; 3. D; 4. C; 5. True

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