It’s back again! This little course began as the idea to make a Certified CiceroneTM study group for an upcoming exam, but others wanted to take it to just learn about beer, and it sounded like a great idea. Now, by popular demand, it’s back for a third time.

This time, we’ll have the advantage of experience under our belt, and we’ll have a much more focused class. If enough people in the class are interested in the Certified CiceroneTM exam, we will do our best arrange to have an exam offered nearby soon afterward, however the course covers material well above and beyond the CiceroneTM exam. I don’t teach to the test – I want people to understand all aspects of beer.

Here’s a loose syllabus:

Week 1: Intro, Beer Ingredients, How to Taste Beer, style tastings.
Week 2: Hot-side of Brewing (from milling through mashing, boiling and lautering), Off-flavor tasting.
Week 3: Cold-side of Brewing (yeast and fermentation), style tastings.
Week 4: Post-fermentation brewery-side handling (clarification, filtration, souring, and conditioning). Off-flavor tasting.
Week 5: Beer packaging, shipment, storage, and aging. Style tastings.
Week 6: Serving beer: draught systems, casks, bottles, glassware, and the rest. Off-flavor tastings.
Week 7: Style history and tastings.
Week 8: Beer and food. Questions, and review. Style tastings.

The class will run Monday evenings starting at 7PM at Mystery Brewing Public House at 230 South Nash Street in Hillsborough, NC starting on June 3rd. There will be at least one week off through the course (July 4th week). Syllabus will be set by the time the first class starts.

Join us! We will have a maximum enrollment of 18 people, the course costs $150. Payment is due on the first day of class.

Pre-Requisites: None, but you’ll probably be happier if you are at least somewhat familiar with beer or are a Certified Beer ServerTM.

Questions? E-mail me at Mystery Brewing Company.

Use this form to save your seat. Since there are limited seats, please only reserve a seat if you mean to use it.

Tags Categories: cicerone Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 09 May 2013 @ 12 25 PM

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 25 Nov 2012 @ 8:23 PM 

I get the same question all the time: “Do I have to keep this beer refrigerated?”

The short answer is, yes. All the time. But let’s talk about why and the instances where people don’t refrigerate, for better or for worse. Aging, skunking, and staling, and why your craft beer store isn’t keeping their beer the best way (and why it really can’t until you change your buying habits).

Play

Enjoy!

Tags Tags: , , , ,
Categories: cicerone, industry, podcast
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 25 Nov 2012 @ 08 23 PM

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Last year about this time I held a beer class – it began as the idea to make a Certified CiceroneTM study group for an upcoming exam, but others wanted to take it to just learn about beer, and it sounded like a great idea. Now, by popular demand, it’s back.

This time, we’ll have the advantage of experience under our belt, and we’ll have a much more focused class. If enough people in the class are interested in the Certified CiceroneTM exam, we will arrange to have an exam offered at the end of it, however the course covers material well above and beyond the CiceroneTM exam. I don’t teach to the test – I want people to understand all aspects of beer.

Here’s a loose syllabus:

Week 1: Intro, Beer Ingredients, How to Taste Beer, style tastings.
Week 2: Hot-side of Brewing (from milling through mashing, boiling and lautering), Off-flavor tasting.
Week 3: Cold-side of Brewing (yeast and fermentation), style tastings.
Week 4: Post-fermentation brewery-side handling (clarification, filtration, souring, and conditioning). Off-flavor tasting.
Week 5: Beer packaging, shipment, storage, and aging. Style tastings.
Week 6: Serving beer: draught systems, casks, bottles, glassware, and the rest. Off-flavor tastings.
Week 7: Style history and tastings.
Week 8: Beer and food. Questions, and review. Style tastings.

The class will run Monday evenings starting at 7PM at Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough, NC starting on January 30th. There will be multiple weeks off through the course (when I’m busy). The course will end in April.

Join us! We will have a maximum enrollment of 16 people, the course costs $150. Payment is due on the first day of class.

Pre-Requisites: None, but you’ll probably be happier if you are at least somewhat familiar with beer and are a Certified Beer ServerTM.

Questions? E-mail Mystery Brewing Company.

Use this form to save your seat. Since there are limited seats, please only reserve a seat if you mean to use it.

Tags Tags: ,
Categories: cicerone, Mystery Brewing Company
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 02 Jan 2012 @ 01 20 PM

EmailPermalinkComments (2)
 07 Nov 2011 @ 7:24 PM 

I’m a little late off the mark on this, since the article that I’m responding to was actually written days ago, and really had a fair amount of buzz over the weekend. Still, since through some fluke of internettery or bad programming I’m unable to post my feelings in the comments of article, you get to read my thoughts here.

This is in response to the article posted on Bon Appetit‘s website named (le sigh) Why Beer Growlers are Bad for your Brew

The first thing I’d like to point out is that the URL to the article is actually “Garrett Oliver Thinks Growlers…” and I bet the next work is “Suck”, but that apparently didn’t meet the “sweeping generalization in order to get as many eyes as possible” criteria. Good job. It worked. I wish it wouldn’t have.

It’s raised a bit of ire around beer blogs and on Beer Advocate, and one of the commenters on the article itself poses the interesting question of “Why would anyone ever be so emotionally committed to growlers that it would ever induce such outrage?”

I can’t say it’s outrage, but it definitely makes me feel a bit.. well.. exasperated. Garrett Oliver really did write the book on beer. Well… he edited it, anyway, despite numerous errors, and his opinion carries weight, even when it seems like a quick one-off bullshit answer to some guy who he’s drinking with. Because after you’ve written the book on beer, your slightest opinions get repeated like this:

“Oh, well, Garrett Oliver says [poorly translated version of what Garrett Oliver actually said taken immediately as the holy fucking gospel].”

It’s especially bad when it’s repeated by a magazine like Bon Appetit, even if it is a bullshit one-off name-dropping blog post by some guy who was probably just desperate to meet an editing deadline, because people who trust Bon Appetit (who are likely people who buy good, craft beer) are likely to come away with:

“Oh, well, I read in Bon Appetit that Garrett Oliver says [something incredibly inaccurate which will be taken as an unbreakable law that only a basilisk's tooth dipped in unicorn tears could possibly destroy].”

So, let’s hear it for journalistic integrity on the internet in 2011!

(crickets)

I can tell you why people would get emotional about it – for some small breweries, growlers can be a life saver. Packaging lines (bottles, cans) are expensive, and growlers can be a great way for new and/or small breweries to get product into locations, like grocery stores, or maybe even people’s homes, in a way that kegs just can’t do on a large scale basis. It’s not emotional, it’s defensive.

At Mystery, we’re counting on growler sales to help us through our startup, and I’m hoping that they constitute a large portion of our sales. That said, we’re planning using a counter-pressure growler filler to make sure that they’re packaged correctly instead of urinating directly into each one, as Garrett Oliver would have Andrew Knowlton have you believe. And I would never, EVER fill a dirty growler. Dirty growlers should be traded out for clean ones. I have the tools to clean growlers in ways that most people do not in their homes, and ultimately, I am represented best by giving you excellent beer.

But to address a big issue in the article of “the pros hate growlers”. Ugh. Are growlers ideal ways to package beer? No. But I don’t hate them.

Here’s what I hate: I hate it when bottle shops have beer sitting warm on shelves. I hate it when they have beer sitting near fluorescent lights. I hate it when they don’t pull beer off of the shelves after 90 days. I hate it when bars don’t clean their tap lines, or when they serve beer in frosted mugs, or shove a faucet into a beer while it’s being poured, or don’t give me a new glass when I order a new beer. I hate it when bars don’t have dishwashers that get hot enough to clean lipstick off of glassware, or wash their glassware in the same dishwasher as their food dishes.

All of those things can have a detrimental effect on the flavor and presentation of a beer and all of those are way, way, WAY more common than someone filling a dirty growler or filling one so incorrectly that the consumer will notice a difference, assuming they consume it while it’s still fresh.

But I can’t control those other things. I can, as a brewer, control the quality of the growlers that leave my establishment. I can make sure they’re clean and they’re filled properly – just like any packaging brewer would do for ANY packaged beer product.

I’d like to see an actual well-researched, well-considered followup article by Bon Appetit about this, but I’m sure it just won’t happen.

This piece of pseudo-journalism will go on misinforming in droves. It might seem silly, but these little one-off things coming from a source that people trust can be very damaging to small businesses. It’s already being repeated, and all it takes is one more journalist who doesn’t know how to research (which I’m starting to believe is most of them) to make this opinion law by referencing it in some wider reaching periodical.

Come on Bon Appetit, do what’s right and fix your crappy journalism by actually doing some work on the story. I’m issuing you a challenge. Write a good story on beer packaging. Your readership deserves it.

I am pleased to announce a springtime course in beer information and appreciation, timed specifically for use as a study group for the upcoming Cicerone® exam on April 8th at the Raleigh Times, but most certainly not limited to those interested in taking the exam.

What is covered in the course of the class?

The entirety of the Certified Cicerone® Course Syllabus (opens a PDF, all non-blue sections) and a few pieces of the Master Cicerone® topics, if they seem to show a full picture of any given topic. Each class will last 1.5 – 2 hours and will be split between a discussion section and a tasting session.

Here is a sample breakdown of how the course will run:

Week 1: Intro, Beer Ingredients, How to Taste Beer, Style history and tastings.
Week 2: Hot-side of Brewing (from milling through mashing, boiling and lautering), Off-flavor tasting.
Week 3: Cold-side of Brewing (yeast and fermentation), Style history and tastings.
Week 4: Post-fermentation brewery-side handling (clarification, filtration, souring, and conditioning). Style history and tastings.
Week 5: Beer packaging, shipment, storage, and aging. Off-flavor tastings.
Week 6: Serving beer: draft systems, casks, bottles, glassware, and the rest. Style history and tastings.
Week 7: Beer and food. Style history and tastings.
Week 8: Everything we’ve missed, questions, and review. Off-flavor tastings.

It’s not “how to brew” (though that’ll be covered), it’s not a drinking class, it’s “About Beer.” You’ll learn every step of the process between field and mouth, it’s history, and it’s care and handling. It might best be labeled “How to Enjoy Beer” or even “How to Help Others Enjoy Beer.”

When does this class happen?

Sunday evenings at 8PM, starting February 13th.

An astute observer will notice that there are fewer than 8 weeks between February 13th and April 8th, so there will be at least one week where we double-up somewhere and either have a long class or two classes; most likely the week of the exam. A full schedule will be posted on the first day.

Where does this class happen?

At the location of the soon-to-be Mystery Brewing Company.


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Who’s teaching this class?

Yours truly, Erik L. Myers of Mystery Brewing Company. Full disclosure: I am also studying for the Cicerone® exam and while I can teach most of this content off the top of my head, this class will also be a learning opportunity for me. It doesn’t mean that you’ll get any false or bad information, but it does mean you might catch me having to look up the answer to question now and again.

How do I sign up?

The class is $85 per person (+ Eventbrite fee). It covers off-flavor tasting supplies, style tasting supplies, other supplies (like paper, cups, etc.).

Note! I am not affiliated with the Cicerone program, I’m just working toward become certified, myself and so am using their syllabus as an overall guideline. Cicerone®, Certified Cicerone® and Master Cicerone® are registered trademarks of the Cicerone Certification Program.

Tags Tags: , ,
Categories: appreciation, cicerone
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 31 Jan 2011 @ 11 03 AM

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