B.C. Beer Blog

The who, what, where, when, why, and how of B.C. craft beer

School of Beer

with 4 comments

When I was at The Granville Room for the Garrett Oliver Brooklyn Brewmaster’s Dinner, diners were given a pre-dinner drink of Brooklyn Lager. What I found a little disconcerting was that the bartender was just opening the bottle and giving it to people. Of course you could ask for a glass, but that’s not the issue.

What’s the problem, you wonder? It doesn’t matter so much when you’re drinking a near frozen, characterless lager because it’s supposed to have minimal taste that offends no one. With a flavourful beer, however, a large part of enjoying the full experience it has to offer is smelling the aroma. (Note: that’s what aroma hops are for.) It’s hard to smell much from the small opening of a bottle when your mouth is covering it up while drinking from it. That’s like trying to eat a nice meal with congested sinuses — not terribly exciting. With a glass, however, there is ample room for the aroma to reach your nose, even stick your schnoz inside. No more absent-minded drinking. You can’t help but notice the taste of the beer.

This is why establishments should not be serving (and you shouldn’t be drinking) craft beer from a bottle. You will be cheated out of its full potential enjoyment. So why don’t many bartenders and servers know this? Because their managers don’t know this either. They should; they are supposed to be professionals.

Chester CareyFortunately, there is an opportunity for those in the hospitality industry to gain an understanding of beer — the history, ingredients, brewing methods, styles, handling, proper serving, and tasting. The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts is offering an eight-week programme taught by Canada’s first Certified Cicerone, Chester Carey. Students will master a complete vocabulary of beer terms through weekly guided tastings.  Successful completion of this program will prepare individuals for the Certified Cicerone Beer Server examination.

When: every Wednesday for eight weeks, starting September 9, 2009
Time: 6:30 – 9:30pm
Where: Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, 1505 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver
Cost: $475.00 plus GST, includes beer tastings, textbook, and certificate of completion
Registration: call (604) 734-4488 or download PICA’s Short Programs Registration Form and return by fax to (604) 734-4408

Spaces are filling fast. The last day for registration is September 4.


4 Responses

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  1. I plan on attending this course at some point. I hope to be in the first group but depending on budgets and free time that may or may not be possible.

    I agree completely though, people in this city need a better education in craft beer. Maybe at that point we can expand the market.


    August 28, 2009 at 7:52 pm

  2. Expanding the craft beer market definitely hinges on education. We have a long way to go.

    When I do a tasting that includes Dunkel, Doppelbock, lambic, saison, IPA, Flemish Red, barley wine, etc., people are often dumbstruck.

    Then start into the beer and food pairing with, say, a beer and cheese, and most will be forever changed — as Garrett Oliver says, enjoying an affordable luxury.


    August 28, 2009 at 8:07 pm

  3. […] School of Beer « B.C. Beer Blog bcbrews.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/school-of-beer – view page – cached #B.C. Beer Blog RSS Feed B.C. Beer Blog » School of Beer Comments Feed B.C. Beer Blog Loud Music = Heavier, Faster Drinking Gastown Cask Carouse — From the page […]

  4. […] The Brooklyn Brewmaster’s Dinner was hosted at The Granville Room. At first I was a little leery about this choice. It’s on the Granville entertainment strip which is geared to young partiers who are not known for their discriminating beer taste, if what’s typically on offer in these places is any indication. My suspicions were even further piqued when the bartender was serving the aperitif beer in the bottle! That’s fine when you are talking about a characterless lager purposely made to offend as few as possible. For a full-flavoured beer, however, that’s like eating a fine meal with your nose plugged. You lose a lot of the experience, don’t you? Smell plays a large role in taste, so it’s important to drink from a vessel with a wide enough opening to fully take in the aroma. Those who understood this asked for a glass. Those who didn’t, were conspicuous by the bottle they were drinking from. The point, though, is that this shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Time to go to Beer School. […]

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