Ray Daniels, Barney & Randy Mosher at the Hop Leaf, Chicago
Our journey through the States has shown us that it is not hard to find a bar with an amazing range of beer. It is hard, however, to find knowledgable serving staff. Bartenders that can make recomendations based on a discussion of flavours or beer styles. Enter Ray and Randy. Ray runs the Cicerone program, a course designed to educate and certify beer sommeliers to industry standards. Randy is an accomplished designer and specialises in the develmopment of craft beer brands.
Together these two are forging a strong focus on craft beer quality. Not only in how it is produced and marketed, but how it is served and enjoyed along with beer/food matching. We met up at the Hop Leaf for a bite and some good beers. Beer standouts were the Lost Abbey Devotion, Three Floyds Alpha King and the Surly Brewing Co Bender. The Cicerone course has now been modified for European students. Topics such as the U.S. three tier system have been removed and measurements have been converted to the metric system. Anyone wishing to pursue the Cicerone qualification should check out the website. The first level is the Beer Server and can be completed online for free. The Certified Cicerone will take a little more study, though the study resources are readily available. Currently the exams are held in the U.S....but who knows, if there is a large amount of certified beer servers in Oz, perhaps there may be a possibility in the future to sit the Certified Cicerone program there!