Steamworks Brewing Co. servers have been undergoing a mass education in beer and food pairings, styles and brewing knowledge.
Forty-five of the brewpub's servers have gone through the Cicerone certification program to become what the organization calls "certified beer servers."
In essence, Steamworks aims to have 45 beer sommeliers able to guide customers in their choices.
“Anyone can call themselves a beer expert,” Steamworks co-founder Kris Oyler said in a news release. “But when consumers want just the right beer, they usually need assistance from a server who really knows beer flavors, styles and brands. A Cicerone can assist.”
Oyler is leading by example, earning his beer server certification. He continues to study for the Certified Cicerone exam.
This is something new and interesting. It once again shows the beer world following in the footsteps of wine, where sommeliers are trained to pair various red and white wines with certain foods. There's a danger in taking things too seriously, but it can't hurt to have servers who know what they're serving.
The program probably only makes sense for restaurants that take craft beer seriously. Production-focused breweries wouldn't have much use for beer sommeliers.
Steamworks' "certified beer servers" have shown proficiency in beer storage, sales and service; beer styles and culture; beer tasting and flavors; brewing ingredients and processes; and pairing beer with food. To earn the Certified Cicerone and Master Cicerone designations, beer servers must demonstrate more comprehensive knowledge in all the aforementioned areas.
“Many consumers don’t know the difference between a pale ale and a lager, or a stout and a porter, let alone what flavors are found in a hefeweizen or Kölsch,” Oyler said. “Education is an important part of the Steamworks culture, so the Cicerone certification program has provided us with a structure to help ensure our servers have top-notch skills, which they can then share with our patrons. We want all expectations to be met when people drink a Steamworks beer.”
In addition to Oyler, Steamworks staff members earning the certified beer server designation are: Aaron Albosta, Jesse Armer, Ken Baker, Mike Brace, Jen Burgstahler, Stevonna Chavez, Nicole Clark, Sean Clark, Ben Colia, Stephanie Dieter, Theo Dillingham, Cassie Farr, Lea Gibbens, Landon Griffin, Jason Haley, Joel Hayes, Brandon Herrera, Chip Hosfeld, Marc Howard, Stevi Jaworsky, Steve Kammerer, Wilson Lawrence, Josh Lengner, Ken Martin, Katie Matney, Brian McEachron, Shirley Melton, Sean Moriarty, Sena Nissen, Sabrina Olsen, Derek Raimo, Rick Rivera, Spencer Roper, Mitra Sabeti, Jorge Sanchez, Keara Sandy, Devin Schuck, Brian Skyles, Erin Skyles, Lauren Turner, Shelton Urquidez, Alice White, Dave Woodruff and JD Zent.