At the Australian Brewery our youngest brewer Tom Davies recently completed the course to become one of Australia’s first certified cicerones. While new to the land down under, the cicerone course has been the worldwide benchmark for beer accreditation for over a decade. The course covers beer styles, history of and serving beer, off flavours and food pairing amongst other things.
Tom passing his course has got us thinking about the value someone with this accreditation brings to a business not just in a brewery but for a bar or restaurant. Neal Cameron director at the Institute of Beer is the appointed agent of the Cicerone® program in Australia and is a big proponent of the course in general. “I think everybody readily understands the benefit of having a knowledgeable food server in their restaurant as well as a knowledgeable wine waiter or sommelier. They are there to assist the customer with their choices and understanding of what they’re about to order, and to assist with any problems. Why should this not be true of a beer server.”
Cameron also believes a food and beer pairing program can separate your venue from the ever-increasing number of craft beer venues in this country. “With the range and complexity of beers now being seen in good venues, the customer will often need some advice on what beer to choose and how it will go with their meal. A Certified Cicerone knows their beer and can add an impressive degree of knowledge and professionalism to the organisation they work for.”
Sam Youngs executive chef for Momento Hospitality agrees and is growing more appreciative of matching beer with food and is excited about how that adds to a customer’s overall experience. While the hospitality industry in Australia has a good grounding in food and wine pairing he sees a lot of value in a Cicerone® working alongside a kitchen to assist the chefs and customers. “Everyone knows what a sommelier does but there wouldn’t be many people in Australia that would know what a cicerone is yet. Both add great benefits to a kitchen. Both have amazing palates which is a great benefit to menu design.”
Tom loved the course and believes what he learnt can be boiled down to three things. An understanding on how to handle beer which is historically poorly done in Australia. Being able to recognise if the beer has a fault or problem before a customer does. And taking food and beer style pairing beyond the lager and schnitzel classic served in most Aussie pubs.”
Eating and drinking in Australia go hand in hand and just as well-crafted cocktail or wine lists bring customers to a venue a well-balanced beer list that is paired with some food options can make your venue a culinary destination. Maintaining the integrity and quality of that beer list might just be best managed by a certified Cicerone®.
For more information about becoming a cicerone click here for more information