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Home Brew Forums > Food and Beverage > Cooking & Pairing > Beer prejudice at restaurants?
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Old 02-01-2008, 01:15 AM   #1
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Default Beer prejudice at restaurants?

I went to a local establishment that just opened last night and the food was delicious. However, they had a 3 page seperate wine list menu, but neither menu mentioned beer. I asked the waitress and they had the usual, BMC on tap and some old SA boston lager in bottles.

It got me thinking, more and more restaurants I go into do not have beer that compliments their meals, they always emphasize wine. The exception is David Burke, a well respected chef working with Sam Adams Co. with pairing meals and beer.

Why with so many beer enthusiasts world wide is this still happening?

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Old 02-01-2008, 01:34 AM   #2
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Sadly there's a whole history of reasons why that is the case compounded with the fact that for the majority of Americans BMC's are the standard.

But some people are trying to change things. I heard on the basicbrewing podcast a couple of weeks ago about a beer sommelier program that has started. http://www.cicerone.org/

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Originally Posted by Cicerone Program Introduction
A Quick Introduction

"Cicerone" is pronounced "sis-uh-rohn"

The Cicerone Certification Program seeks to ensure that consumers receive the best possible beer and enjoy its flavors to the greatest extent possible. To facilitate this, those who sell and serve beer need to acquire knowledge in five areas:


Beer Storage, Sales and Service

Beer Styles and Culture

Beer Tasting and Flavors

Brewing Ingredients and Processes

Pairing Beer with Food

To encourage participation by those with various interests and ambitions, the program offers three levels of certification beginning with the simplest and building to the most complex and demanding:

1. Certified Beer Server

2. Certified Cicerone

3. Master Cicerone

Why Cicerone?

Anyone can call themselves an expert on beer. But when consumers want great beer they need help from a server who really knows beer flavors, styles and brands. They also want to buy from a place that understands proper storage and serving so the beer they drink will be of the highest quality. Too often great beer is harmed by improper service practices.

In the wine world, the word "sommelier" designates those with proven expertise in selecting, acquiring and serving fine wine. Lately some beer servers have adopted the title "beer sommelier" to tie into the credibility of the wine world. But anyone can call themselves a beer sommelier regardless of knowledge or experience. And while some will be highly skilled, the only way to demonstrate that objectively is through independent testing of knowledge and tasting ability. The Cicerone Certification Program offers that independent assessment and certification so that industry professionals—as well as consumers—can be sure of the knowledge and skills possessed by current and prospective beer servers.

What is a Cicerone?

The word Cicerone (pronounced sis-uh-rohn) has been chosen to designate those with proven expertise in selecting, acquiring and serving today’s wide range of beers. The titles “Certified Cicerone” and “Master Cicerone” are protected certification trademarks. Only those who have passed the requisite test of knowledge and tasting skill can call themselves a Cicerone.


What is the origin of the word “Cicerone”?

Cicerone is an English word referring to “one who conducts visitors and sightseers to museums and explains matters of archaeological, antiquarian, historic or artistic interest.” For beer, a Cicerone will possess the knowledge and skills to guide those interested in beer culture, including its historic and artistic aspects. “Cicerone” now designates a person with demonstrated expertise in beer who can guide consumers to enjoyable and high-quality experiences with great beer.

What is a sommelier?

The word “sommelier” designates an expert wine steward. Twenty or thirty years ago when beer was much simpler, those whose primary expertise was wine could fairly claim to know a great deal about beer. But today the world of beer is just as diverse and complicated as wine. As a result, developing true expertise in beer takes years of focused study and requires constant attention to stay on top of new brands and special beers. While it is certainly possible for someone to be expert in both wine and beer, the only way to prove that is by examination and certification in both fields. Only those with the title “Certified Cicerone” or “Master Cicerone” have demonstrated their expertise in selecting and serving fine beer.

How is a Cicerone different from a Beer Sommelier?

A Cicerone is a tested and proven expert in beer while beer sommelier is a self-designation that can be adopted by anyone. Because there are no criteria for the title of beer sommelier and because those who use the title have not subjected their knowledge and skills to an independent examination, consumers and employers can’t be sure just what a non-certified beer server knows or how they treat and serve the beer.
For an interesting insight into the history of beer and the attitudes about beer, that have got us in this sorry state, listen to these basic brewing podcasts.

Quote:
December 7, 2006 - Ambitious Brew Part Two
We continue our discussion about the history of beer in the USA with Maureen Ogle, author of "Ambitious Brew - The Story of American Beer." Part two takes us from Prohibition to the present day.
Kirk's photo from the Grand Canyon


November 30, 2006 - Ambitious Brew Part One
We learn about the history of beer in the USA from Maureen Ogle, author of "Ambitious Brew - The Story of American Beer." Part one takes us from the Pilgrims to Prohibition.
Go here and scroll down till you find the above podcasts http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=60
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Old 02-01-2008, 01:52 AM   #3
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I think it's a Phenomenon that IS changing, albeit very slowly.

However, I am in the Pacific North West, where the Microbrew industry has had a solid foothold for quite some time.

Don't forget, it's a relatively new development to have so many styles of American beer to choose from.

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Old 02-01-2008, 02:17 AM   #4
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Very slowly. Eventually restaurants will realize that beer is the new wine.

Brewtopia made a post about the cicerone a few weeks ago. Anyone can actually create an acount and take a practice quiz.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=51378

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Old 02-01-2008, 04:37 AM   #5
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I went to a Morton's Steakhouse in Anaheim, CA and asked what they had on tap. Nothing on tap. Ok, so what do you have in bottles besides the big three? Um, well uh, one second. He just got done reciting the entire menu to us by heart and the douche can't remember what beer they have. It's not like it was an extensive list. Sam Adams and Chimay was it. Nothing "west coast", Stone, Bear Repub.. nothin. Ok, Chimay it is. Woah, $22 a bottle.

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Old 02-01-2008, 04:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
Woah, $22 a bottle.
Well, that might be one of the reasons. They can easily do this with wine and people actually think that the wine tastes better when it is more expensive. This is a study that they mentioned on npr a while ago.

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Old 02-01-2008, 12:59 PM   #7
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I have been seeing a trend lately to include a small (but fantastic) complementary offering of craft beer on the menu at a number of upper mid range restaurants in my area. One has an all local beer menu with zero BMC products.

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Old 02-01-2008, 01:11 PM   #8
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Oh, major props to the Red Robbin chain. The last time I was in there, they had Red Hook Long Hammer IPA, Stella, and Fat Tire on tap. Not amazing beers by any stretch, but good enough for a burger joint.

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Old 02-01-2008, 01:16 PM   #9
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Funny, most of the establishments in my area, even the fairly low budget ones, have a decent selection of beers. I can't remember the last time i went somewhere and they didn't have at least 2 or 3 non-BMCs.

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Old 02-01-2008, 03:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwj
Funny, most of the establishments in my area, even the fairly low budget ones, have a decent selection of beers. I can't remember the last time i went somewhere and they didn't have at least 2 or 3 non-BMCs.
Yeah I feel like I am on a decent streak, seems like I've been able to get at least a Sierra Nevada PA, or our upstate NY version, Saranac. Also, lately I've been in the mood for wheat and Blue Moon seems pretty common.
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