Cicerone, a Fun Look at The Professional Beer Drinker and How to Become One.

November 22, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized


No doubt, that if there is a task performed in this world, it can be done professionally.  Professional dog walking,  professional shoppers, even a professional fart smeller (real job in china).  So of course there is going to be a professional beer drinker! But if you’re picturing a giant burly man putting down a half keg in a single serving, that’s not quite what we’re talking about.  We’re talking about a Cicerone.

Easily one of the sweetest jobs to hit the “Help Wanted” ads, since Sinatra needed someone to hold his microphone cord, the Cicerone gets paid to taste test beer! But, while we all would like to fancy ourselves as someone who can tell a good tasting beer from a bad one, the job isn’t that simple.

First thing you should have is a base knowledge of all the different kinds and styles of beer, stouts, ales, ipa’s, and the list goes on.  A certified Cicerone also knows how to pair beer with food, with a little more depth than Yueng’s & wings, although that is a great combo.  So a true mindful knowledge is required as well as expert taste buds that can identify ALL the characteristics of the beer you taste, as well as texture, thick, smooth, creamy, etc… And lastly, being able to deliver the bad news to the ones writing your pay check, which is a part of why Cicerone’s are hired in the first place.  Brewery’s do not want to put out a bad product, even a batch that is only off by a little bit.  No one is happy to toss out 1,000 gallons of almost good beer, so I recommend getting the money up front.

How the heck does one become a Cicerone? Well, although many people study beer and its effects while enrolled in college, it’s not technically an official course at these accredit Universities.  So, unfortunately there is not a college degree for it, but you do need a certificate.  To get a certificate you sort of climb the ranks.  There are a few stages. The first step is becoming a Certified Beer Server by taking an exam online, which is an entry-level certification that teaches you about proper beer service and basic style history.  This is a handy tool of knowledge just to have, regardless if you continue to pursue any further.  After that comes the hard test and lots of reading.  Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink is noted as being popular reading material for those taking the course, and even for those who aren’t.   Because it is an independent program, it could take years to become a certified Cicerone or it could take months, and rumore has it, that the final test is similar to a bar exam (pun?) So there is actually a low passing rate.  If you’re interest in checking out the Cicerone Certification Program, go to   But before you do, lets do a quick review at what a Cicerone is and what a Cicerone isn’t, see if you can pick them out for yourself.



Is a Cicerone













Ummmm, probably is.


If you were able to find the fakes vs the real Cicerones, you could have what it takes to be the next Master Cicerone!


For more books on the art of tasting beer check out some of these:

Tasting Beer: An Insiders Guide to the Worlds Greatest Drink

Tasting Beer: An Insiders Guide to the Worlds Greatest Drink 2nd Edition

The Complete Beer Course

The Oxford Companion to Beer

The Beer Bible

Thanks for reading folks

Stay Crafty America,

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