Thursday, September 20, 2007

Breasts and beer? Cicerone

Cicciolina is the former porn starlet, who was elected to the Italian parliament and served for a short time. Among other things, she's infamous for exposing her breasts during press conferences.

Not that Ray Daniels is connected to her in any way ... !

Daniels is the director of the Craft Beer Institute, past organizer of the US Real Ale Festival, and current Brewer's Publications Director at the Brewers Association.

And at present, he's begun to create a valuable concept that he has named the Cicerone Certification Program.

The Cicerone Certification Program seeks to ensure that consumers receive the best possible beer and enjoy its flavors to the greatest extent possible. To facilitate this, those who sell and serve beer need to acquire knowledge in five areas:

Beer Storage, Sales and Service
Beer Styles and Culture
Beer Tasting and Flavors
Brewing Ingredients and Processes
Pairing Beer with Food

To encourage participation by those with various interests and ambitions, the program offers three levels of certification beginning with the simplest and building to the most complex and demanding:

1. Certified Beer Server
2. Certified Cicerone
3. Master Cicerone

I would suggest naming the program the Master's of Beer Education - M.B.E. - and awarding the title of Beer Sommelier. It's simpler, straightforward, and instantly recognizable.

But just as the substitution of 'braumeister' rankles when 'brewer' or 'brewmaster' would be appropriate (at least it does me), so the choice of sommelier might be perceived as high-highfalutin'. Other options might be beer steward or cellarmaster (even though this might have cask ale connotations).

There's a lot of beer serving ignorance out there so Daniels' program is an interesting and worthwhile idea. Such a certification might become a sought-after marker of excellence for restaurants and pubs.

Or, the restaurant could simply have their beer sommelier elevated to the knighthood!

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