I had an amazing Christmas break. I know, it feels long gone already. We are already making summer plans! Still, I have to share a quick recap. Our season had a number of events spread out which extended the opportunities for sharing great beer. So, we shared great beer and checked some boxes on the big list of things I really want to do in life. Highlights included drinking a Methuselah of St. Bernardus Abt 12 with my Dad’s side of the family. 39 people crowded my Aunt’s kitchen for a few hours and many were more than happy to help me drain the big beer. As a bonus, the wet bottle slipped from my hand, slammed the deck hard enough to make heads turn, which allowed them to witness a spontaneous 7th grade science project-like beer volcano. The bottle remained unbroken and minimal beer was lost. This was awesome.
I also had the pleasure of trying many new beers with my brothers. Older brother scored a variety of Tree House beers by trade of some of our Thanksgiving leftovers. They were fantastic and make me look forward to ever increasing number of new breweries continuing to innovate and delight. Normally this would be enough to carry a weekend. I didn’t stop there though! The list of samples that ensued definitely ranks the visit in the top five tasting weekend so far.
You know, I rarely get company that will split sours with me and that is a bummer. However, in addition to being some of my favorite company, my younger brother splits sours with me. In fact, he probably enjoys them more than I do. We split an Elderberry from Casacade before going to see The Force Awakens. We also stopped at The Ambulance Brewhouse before the movie. This too was awesome.
All of this good beer time and family time had me in the mood for new year contemplation and I finally decided to check a box that has been pushed to the bottom of the list for a couple of years. Having goals makes for a more enjoyable hobby, don’t you agree? Whether it be a seek and consume mission for a white whale, accumulation of some beer related collectible, or in my case, the pursuit of a certification, goals give you something else to be amped about between the beers. I took the certified beer server exam from Cicerone.org a while ago to see if I knew much about beer. When learning, the WORLD of knowledge in proportion to YOUR knowledge grows exponentially. Or, the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know. Having read about and drank beer frequently, I was surprised to find much that I had not considered. Styles and overviews of beer history were at least retrievable from some part of my brain. I am not sure operations of various draft systems or basic beer keeping guidelines ever even occurred to me to think about. Anyway, I passed after a bit of study and reading Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher.
Now that I am tweeting, blogging, drinking, and plotting, I thought it was time for the next level. I am attempting to become a certified cicerone in late March. I had put it off for a while because I didn’t have a rational reason to spend money to take a test when I am not currently working in an industry where beer knowledge is worth credentialing. In the danger of sounding intense about a small matter, I have been trying to live without analysis paralysis. “Doing” is the verb that becomes the adjective “done.” And I believe “done” has the lead on “thinking about” in the race for personal satisfaction. The syllabus includes:
- Keeping and serving beer
- Beer Styles
- Beer flavor and evaluation
- Beer Ingredients and brewing process
- Beer Pairing
I ordered the study material, started some new books, and have been paying much more attention (hard to imagine) to the beers I consume. So far, it has been a ton of fun. I am sharing my goal here to motivate myself to pass. I mean, it might make a fun post to talk about my abysmal failure. I think I’d rather humble brag about my superior beerness instead! Cheers and wish me much knowledge of beers.