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Thanks,The Beer Hawk Team.
On Friday, September 18th after several years of researching, studying, writing, and, ermm, drinking beer, I finally got my Beer Sommelier certification from the prestigious Beer Academy--an arm of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling--in London. I'm very proud to join the ranks of some of the best beer people out there and super excited to be Beer Hawk's actual-on-piece-of-paper beer sommelier.
Having no idea what to expect going in to the assessment, I have to admit that I was a bundle of nerves on the train down to London. I didn't know if I was going to have to taste a million beers and say which breweries they came from. Was I to brew a beer from grain to glass in two hours? Define "Craft?" Recite Voltaire?
Without compromising the integrity of the test, I won't give all the beery details. I will say, however, that it wasn't as simple as sitting around and getting hammered--although that would've been awesome. I had to explain bits of my portfolio of evidence which was followed by tasting and style identification. Likewise, I had to show evidence of understanding where specific components of a beer came from. And some off-flavors made an appearance (delicious...) Pretty much it was a bit more than an hour and a half of beer-talk.
Besides becoming a member of a relatively elite club, another good thing came out of the assessment: I found where my weakness is. While I'm quite good at beer pairing and understanding the brewing process, I'm a little weak in some of my style identification. While I was spot-on with a good number of them and in the ballpark of a handful of others, I completely blew it on a couple of them. I wish I could tell you how bad I blew it but let's just say I got a good mocking from my "dear friends" when I told them what I missed. They're so supportive.
Despite my doofus misstep--and never being able to look at a couple of these beers the same way again--the fact of the matter is, of course I'd make some mistakes. This is a lifelong learning process and one that doesn't stop with a shiny new beer sommelier badge. While I feel as though this accomplishment is a validation for all of the hard work I've done to date, it is also a passageway into the even bigger world of beer. And I'm so happy that I get to make the voyage--on my own, and with the great crew here at Beer Hawk! Cheers!
Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake.
Barrel-ageing beers is not a new thing, but it is getting more and more popular, and has probably never been as inventive. Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the new wave of ageing beer in wood
While some so-called off-flavours can be appropriate in certain styles others are not and may kill a little bit of your soul. Here's a quick guide to the most common off-flavours.
Father’s Day, 20th June 2021, is the special date in the calendar when we celebrate and give a nod to the Dads in our lives. It’s an excuse to spoil them with a little something to say thank you for being awesome. If you’re looking for inspiration for a craft beer-loving Dad, then check out our top 7 Father’s Day beer gifts.
Another can spins off the line at Stone Brewing’s new brewery in Berlin. The speed of the whole process is astonishing, a matter of seconds from empty can to filled and sealed. Those amazing hop aromas that Stone Brewing’s IPA is known for are locked in, only to escape as you release the swirling lemon, pine, grapefruit aromas in one of the world’s best IPAs. Cans are the perfect container for this beer. And here’s why.
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