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Cicerones?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by dhannes, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. avenuepub

    avenuepub Savant (295) Louisiana Apr 23, 2009

    We offer to Pay for the second level exam IF they pass. :) in other words we reimburse. The failure rate the first time is fairly high I think.
  2. avenuepub

    avenuepub Savant (295) Louisiana Apr 23, 2009


    Yep. Avenue Pub in New Orleans. http://theavenuepub.com/.
    We like beer.
    dianimal likes this.
  3. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard Poobah (1,005) Colorado May 19, 2005

    Certified Beer Server here. It was free. Next level, not so much
  4. Like most threads I see on BA, its all passive aggressive and subtle.
    Grohnke and adamcarlson28 like this.
  5. I came up in the wine industry, so many similarities between arrogant title seeking sommeliers and arrogant title seeking cicerones. Unless you are attempting to become a beverage director at the next Michelin starred restaurant or a major resort, save your money, hone your knowledge and drink.
  6. MrOH

    MrOH Savant (440) Maryland Jul 5, 2010

    Really? I was one of the first 500 CBS, and I took the exam on a whim while drunk. Must be harder now.

    Also, I was part of the staff that cooked for Ray Daniels and the crew at New Holland when everyone in the pub got certified. Also, my last day at Journeyman. Cool Stuff.
  7. juliusbush

    juliusbush Zealot (85) California Jan 10, 2010

    Can I be your friend? I'm studying now as well.If you don't mind, how close would you say the publicly available 2008 Level 2 Certified Cicerone exam is compared to the current exam?
    afksports likes this.
  8. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Savant (465) Missouri Sep 14, 2011

    the post refers to the Cert Cic level. The pass rate is about 55% I believe. CBS is quite a bit higher but they still allow for 2 chances to pass for the test fee.
  9. Ricelikesbeer

    Ricelikesbeer Savant (350) Colorado Nov 29, 2006

    Very nice selection.. and prices. I would visit anytime. I appreciate that you guys take the time to educate your staff. Too often I ask about a bar/restaurant's beer selection and the waitress says: "It's really dark". Or something like that. There's really nothing worse.
    avenuepub likes this.
  10. this has thrown my sarcasm meter out of whack... :confused:o_O
  11. and i thought the CCIE lab was a ball breaker...
  12. RobH

    RobH Savant (400) Maryland Sep 23, 2006

  13. MrOH

    MrOH Savant (440) Maryland Jul 5, 2010

    Ahh, I skipped over the "second" originally. Yeah, that sucker is supposed to be a lot harder.
  14. Certified Beer Server here too.
  15. avenuepub

    avenuepub Savant (295) Louisiana Apr 23, 2009

    The certified beer serves is pretty easy for anyone who has been working in a beer bar. The second step " certified" is the one I was referring to. The one that has to be done in person and has a tasting and off flavors element.
  16. avenuepub

    avenuepub Savant (295) Louisiana Apr 23, 2009

    new Orleans and a few other cities have a professional class of waiters/ bartenders / sommeliers that look at their jobs as a profession so many come to the table expecting that they will need to educate themselves about what they are serving....and take a lot of pride in it. There is substantially more income for those people in a city like new orleans and patrons tend to look at and treat the staff as professionals. You hit one one of the reason that we don't employ or maintain waitresses or table service staff. To have a committed staff they have to be able to make a real living...when you start adding too much staff their income goes down. Most of my staff isn't just paying the bills until they get a " real job" ... We bonus, offer health insurance , offer incentives for education, paid vacations , pay above scale etc. most places don't do that.
    afksports, Zach136 and tewaris like this.
  17. Ricelikesbeer

    Ricelikesbeer Savant (350) Colorado Nov 29, 2006

    Yes exactly. Here in denver, the base knowledge of both staff and consumers is pretty high, but you still dont' see professional servers very often. I think it's great that an establishment would ensure a proper foundation for pouring great beer! I've been nearly offended at the lack of knowledge of some establishments, despite their incredible selection. I'll ommit any names out of respect for those said establishments.

    I really don't expect servers to know every detail about a beer, like the ibu's and grain bill, but geez, is it too much to ask for a short description? I usually just ask for small samples and judge them myself before I buy a full pint or snifter.
  18. MeadGuyfromMD

    MeadGuyfromMD Savant (260) Maryland May 23, 2007

    HAHA! have you passed both parts of the test? I went through CCNA and CCDA, not too bad. Our instructor was, at the time, a paper CCIE awaiting the h/w exam.
    Cheers!
  19. I spent a lot of time in the wine industry, and I can see where you are coming from. Conversely, I don't feel that these are merely "titles." Taking this exam and becoming certified seemed to affirm and vindicate the years of work I've put into beer and food and wine (even though this topic is not obviously covered, I group them together as being the same thing.) One of the elements that always turned me off about the wine business, and I think this helped my success, is the tendency for some knowledgeable people to intimidate folks and make them feel smaller for not being farther along in their journey.

    I sincerely hope that ideals and standards concerning proper service and storage of beer are not taken as pretension even though I fear that this is an uphill battle.

    Sommelier means "wine steward," and it's a shame that some folks take this to the realm of pretension and discourage new converts from opening their eyes. Cicerone means "guide,"and I hope that myself and anyone else with this certification maintains that focus. I think Ray has made it clear, at least from my point of view, that that is what is expected of a Cicerone.
  20. Zach136

    Zach136 Advocate (555) Georgia Jun 17, 2012

    And this is why you're one of the top 100 Beer Bars in America: http://draftmag.com/new/feature/america-100-best-beer-bars-2013/
    BEERchitect and avenuepub like this.
  21. avenuepub

    avenuepub Savant (295) Louisiana Apr 23, 2009


    That's why we ...and many other beer bars provide descriptions on the menu. In our particular case we change out our lines SO often that it's pretty common for a staff member to come in with 10 or more new beers....and frequently beers that will be just a " one and done". The staff uses the menus to clue them in also. In fact the written descriptions are as much a valuable training tool for staff as they are intended for customers. I try to make the menu the primary guide to help narrow down the options. Sadly LOTS of people just refuse to read it and want the staff ...with a full bar of people waiting to be served....to go down the list of all 49 draft options. Generally folks who frequent BA will read the menu ...thank goodness for that.
  22. as much as I'd love to throw myself into the meatgrinder, i just haven't bothered. CCIP/CCNP/CCDP and a pilot version of the CCIE SPO written exam.

    Couple coworkers passed R/S Labs after 2 to 3 attempts.
  23. mrkrispy

    mrkrispy Savant (410) California Apr 5, 2006

    And that attitude is why so many restaurants have waiters with little knowledge of their extensive wine menu and can't help customers choose a wine. That attitude is also the same as people that get pissy about Cicerone titles and then get butthurt that the bartender at a restaurant or pub doesn't know shit about 90% of the beers on tap.


    Cicerone is fantastic for craft beer, and helps everyone have better service. How can a beeradvocate complain about that?
    CellarGimp likes this.
  24. RickNC

    RickNC Initiate (20) Sep 11, 2012

    I took and passed the Certified Cicerone exam last Fall. The structure of the written exam was overall similar to the 2008 example exam. The biggest difference is that the beer style questions are all now scrambled, so they are not grouped by style group or country like they were on the 2008 exam. Maybe a third of the questions or so were about the same. Tough thing about the 2008 exam is there is no "answer key", so you have to research and be pretty confident of your answers on it to use it as a study tool. To pass the written part of the exam (at any time) you have to know your stuff and definitely have to come pretty close to memorizing the BJCP guidelines!

    Hope this helps.

    Rick
  25. Titles don't drive sales, a good training program does, bro.
  26. mrkrispy

    mrkrispy Savant (410) California Apr 5, 2006

    ummm "bro" that's exactly what the Cicerone program is!
  27. Sorry I meant a staff training program at your bar/resto
  28. BeastLU

    BeastLU Advocate (520) Virginia Dec 20, 2012

    Certified Cicerone... Thanks to my work. Probably wouldn't have done it for no reason. The certified beer server exam is easy if your into beer. The second level test is more in depth.
  29. stawn

    stawn Savant (315) California Sep 16, 2008

    Have you looked at the Cicerone program? Do you not think it's good beer training? Do you think some corporate restaurant/chain has better training on beer?
  30. I believe the Cicerone programs are worthwhile if that's the route you want to take. I am a beverage director and have 12 tap handles constantly rotating micros (I.e. the Bruery, BCBS, NG, CW, Mikkeller etc.) I can tell you that my staff knows the attributes of each beer on tap, it's provenance and the proper glass it goes in-bartenders and servers, not a cicerone or certified beer server among us. More than one way to achieve a desired result.
  31. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) California Dec 10, 2011

    Hell, most beer bars don't really have any type of formal training. It's just info passed down via tasting and what not. While the BJCP and Cicerone programs different in their focus, they do share a core of beer knowledge, styles and sensory training. The real purpose is to teach the person how sensitive they are to off flavors (do you know if you're blind to Diacetyl? Never have a buttery beer?) and how to develope their vocabulary to not only describe off flavors but intensity, depth and descriptive ability of positive flavors. In the BJCP world the off flavors can be more important when judging homebrew to give positive feedback to the brewer of what is in the beer, at what stage of beer production it came from and how to eliminate it.

    There will always be controversy over style guildelines and different events use different standards, GABF styles differ from BJCP et cetera...

    One of the positives of studying for either program is the exposure to a much wider variety of the beers than one would normally consume. It's really a fun process and very educational.
    Zach136 likes this.
  32. stawn

    stawn Savant (315) California Sep 16, 2008

    True, more than one way. Your response about Cicerone being a title, and not driving sales like a training program, sounds like you don't think that Cicerone is a good program.
    afksports likes this.
  33. I am a Certified Cicerone Beer Server. I found the Beer Server exam to be easy, but I've been into homebrewing and reading about beer for years. However, I wish more bars and restaurants would encourage or require their servers to be certified. I've experienced too many servers that have only a bare minimum understanding of beer. Passing this exam would enable them to be more helpful to their customers.
    dianimal likes this.
  34. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (490) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    Its amazing how often people who say "there is more than 1 way to do it" then criticize the other way to do it.
    afksports and afrokaze like this.
  35. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Savant (465) Missouri Sep 14, 2011

    afksports and Eriktheipaman like this.
  36. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Savant (425) Texas Nov 21, 2008

    This is very true. I am convinced that there are flavors and off flavors that certain people can't perceive. It is a physiological phenominon - perhaps genentic. At times, it is an "ignorance is bliss" proposition, but not for brewers, beer judges and Cicerones. Sometimes I have a terrible time trying to convince a home-brewer that there is a flaw in their beer. For instance, some people have very low sensitivity to phenolics. Unfortunately, they can't taste it is present (inappropriately) in their beer.
  37. Some people are flavor blind to certain compounds. Some can't taste diacetyl, others can't taste DMS.

    Find your holes in the palalate and work around those.
  38. I'm a certified beer drinker. :cool:
  39. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Savant (465) Missouri Sep 14, 2011

    I get the solventy flavors from a lot of home brewing. I presume that this is the result of less than perfect temperature control during fermentation. After all they are not exactly using heat exchanged fermentation tanks. Yes, it may not be nail polish remover strong so most people barely recognize it, but its there. Still, I have a huge amount of respect for home brewing. I would like to begin dabbling in it sometime.
    WickedSluggy likes this.
  40. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Savant (465) Missouri Sep 14, 2011

    You two should hook up.

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