Saturday, 12 May 2012

Prud'homme Beer Certification--Level 1

Starting a beer blog has tonnes of perks, one of which is the major influx of beer related gifts that come your way for birthdays and special occasions. I've been given more bottles, books, and beery miscellany since I became the Stout Man than at any other point in my life.

Without a doubt, the finest beer related gift that I received since starting my blog was registration in Level 1 of the Prud'homme Beer Certification program. My parents really scored big with this one!  Kudos Ma and Paw.

Named after Louis Prud'homme, Canada's first licensed brewer, Prud'homme Beer Certification offers beer lovers an opportunity to learn more about suds and to fine tune their appreciation for this brilliant beverage. The Prud'homme program is made up of three levels. Level 1, entitled the Beer Enthusiast, is the introductory course. Levels 2 and 3, the Beer Specialist and the Beer Sommelier, respectively, are the more advanced programs requiring greater time commitments and delving deeper into beer. I took part in Level 1, and I am happy to report that I passed and am now a certified beer enthusiast.

Level 1 is available as either a classroom program or online. I opted for the classroom sessions, and I'm glad I did, since the ability to interact with fellow beer lovers made the classes that much more enjoyable. My class was made about of a handful of fellow beer geeks, each of whom made valuable contributions to the experience.

The 12 hours of instruction were broken up into 4 classes that culminated with a test and a much anticipated (for me at least) beer and food pairing. Over the course of the program, participants were provided with instruction on many aspects of beer, including beer history, the traditional ingredients, the brewing process, beer styles, glassware, draught systems, tasting concepts, and even cooking with beer.  Lessons were supplemented with detailed course materials and powerpoint presentations. Each 3 hour classroom session ended with a tasting, which meant that there was always something to look forward to.

The instructor, the self-styled Professor of Beer (one of the finest titles a person could hope to acquire), was an interesting cat and an engaging lecturer. He cut his teeth in the beer industry and has parlayed that into a pretty cool little niche career. By his own admission, he is an opinionated dude. He has some very definite ideas about beer, and though I didn't always agree with him, to his great credit, he had the chops to back up his statements. Plus, I often agreed with him. What I liked most about the guy was his commitment to ensuring beer drinkers get quality beer experiences whenever they enjoy a pint. To this end, he instructed us on the best ways of setting up draught systems, the best way to pour beer, the best way to clean and store glassware, beer storage tips, and a whole host of other valuable lessons--lessons he encouraged us to disseminate widely in the hopes that it will make a positive impact on beer culture.  That's a message I can get behind!

Some of what we learned was retread for me. Let's face it, I already know a fair bit about beer, particularly about beer appreciation. Still, I can honestly say that I learned a great deal and had an excellent time in the process. The area that I was most exited to delve into was beer and food pairing. I had to wait for the last class, but I got an excellent lesson in matching beers to food. Now I've got huge visions of hosting a beer dinner for some buddies sometime in the near future. I also picked up a great deal of information on ingredients that was news to me.

I would recommend Level 1 of the Prud'homme Beer Certification program to anyone with a passion for beer and a desire to learn more. I'm certain that you'll learn some cool things and you'll grow to love beer a bit more.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear it was such a hit with you!
    York Street Maven