Interest in beer and home brewing has skyrocketed as craft beer sales enjoy unprecedented growth in Michigan and beyond. Today’s beer drinkers have more choices than ever, and are exposed to a wide array of beer styles and taste profiles. New breweries, beer bars, and retailers are opening throughout the state to keep up with demand, creating new opportunities and stimulating enthusiasm throughout the craft beer community. Consumers have more beer questions than ever, and employers are looking to educate servers and salespeople.
Annette May and her husband Mike Bardallis are here to help. They are both Certified Cicerones® and BJCP judges. Annette was the first woman to achieve Cicerone® Certification in 2008, and manages the beer department at Merchant’s Fine Wine in Dearborn. Mike started out as an avid home brewer and is now a professional brewer with Grizzly Peak in Ann Arbor. He has home-brewed over 400 batches to date.
Annette and Mike have teamed up to offer KNOW BEER Beer Education classes in Southeast Michigan.
KNOW BEER provides education on beer styles, service, brewing, and appreciation, with a focus on preparing students for Cicerone® certification. Among the courses currently offered are Certifications in Craft Beer, Basics of Beer, Beer Styles, Off-Flavors, Short Pour Draft, and Beer Camp for amateur home brewers. A Beer and Food Pairing course is currently being developed and will be offered later this year.
I recently enrolled in the Beer Styles course, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We studied nearly all BJCP beer styles, including history of German, British, Belgian, and American styles, and gained valuable insight on relevant topics and available resources to study and prepare for the Cicerone® exam. Fellow students included a professional brewer, distributor sales manager, server, and a few home brewers. Not everyone in the class was preparing for the Cicerone® exam, several students were simply interested in learning about beer styles and enhancing their appreciation of beer. This is one course where everyone enjoys their homework assignments!
I have also attended the Off-Flavor course where participants taste tainted samples and identify the most common flaws that occur in commercial beers and home brews. Annette explains what causes each of the off-flavors and how to prevent them from proliferating.
KNOW BEER courses are highly recommended for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of beer and/or home brewing; from industry professionals preparing for the Cicerone exam to craft beer enthusiasts who simply want to KNOW BEER.
For more details or to register for courses, visit www.knowbeer.org.