Learn about beer with Certified Cicerone Thomas Kelley and get certified yourself

Beer is not just for throwing ping pong balls into a red cup, it can be quite sophisticated. Just ask Certified Cicerone (beer sommelier) Thomas Kelley, who’s launching a class about beer. The three part course ($50) begins on Wednesday, April 11 at 7 PM and is held at El Segundo Brewing Company in El Segundo, CA. Each session is about 1.5 hours long, allowing the student to familiarize themselves with the history, the brewing process, evaluation of beer, serving and pairing with food, and beer styles. The point of the class is not only to prepare students for the Certified Beer Server exam (first level of the program), but to break down the stigma of Budweiser commercials. “The best way for craft beer advocates to overcome the mass marketing campaign of the last century is very simple and can be summed up in one word. Educate,” Kelley says.

Who should take the class?

Kelley is not only encouraging people looking to break into the craft beer industry to take his course but for anyone interested in beer. “Anyone can take this class really. It is designed to be fun and will greatly enhance your beer drinking experiences as well as arm you well for throwing parties or ordering at fine beer establishments.”

For those that are more serious about beer, Kelley tells us this is a great certification to obtain, “Year after year the Cicerone program has gained ground with now over 10,000 Certified Beer Servers. Mainly the Cicerone program is designed for retailers and wholesalers, though certainly there is plenty of base knowledge here that relates to someone who would like to work on the brewing side as well.”

More about the course

The course is centered around Randy Mosher’s book Tasting Beer. Kelley found it to be the most straightforward approach, “It is structured somewhat like a textbook and I think it is the best one resource for the Certified Beer Server Exam. Randy writes with a bit of wit, to keep things from being too dry, and explains complex brewing processes and terms with ease, and without over complicating things,” Kelley says.

The Certified Beer Server exam can be taken online on cicerone.org for $69. And if you fail the first time, you will be able to get a free retake. Kelley will hold a follow up class for those that fail to pass on the first test.

Besides the courses, students will receive a free pint of beer. “Take my class and you just might learn something. Plus, even if you don’t, there’s beer drinking included. How many classes can say that?” Kelley says.

Free course

If you want to make sure Thomas Kelley knows what he’s talking about before dishing out a Ulysses S. Grant, he’s offering a free hop class at Rockefeller in Hermosa Beach on March 26 from 5 – 7 PM. Thomas will be preaching about the use of hops and history.

Email ciceronetom@gmail.com to sign up for the class.