Continuing what seems to be a Kansas City dedication to beer enthusiasm, the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (which happens to be one of the oldest beer-industry associations in North America) is offering a Beer Steward Certification Program. The first session is taking place on Monday, January 13, at the Kansas City Bier Co.
Monday's all-day seminar covers a range of topics that sound like heaven to any beer geek. There will be discussions surrounding the brewing and fermentation process, proper beer storage, understanding beer history, describing taste profiles and, of course, lots of beer tasting.
"We will give an overview of the brewing process - mainly how the ingredients go into beer to create the flavor. It's not a seminar on how to make beer," says Steve Holle, founder of the Kansas City Bier Co.
He goes on: "We will taste at least 12 beers, plus some other beer samples. There will be malt samples, we'll smell hops... The seminar gives a very good foundation of understanding why the beer in your glass tastes the way it does. We're at a brewery, so we're gonna taste beer in various stages of the brewing process - how it tastes in the brewing and fermentation stages. We'll also try a lot of different styles of beer from various countries of origin."
After attendees complete the seminar, they're encouraged to take the online Beer Steward exam (the exam fee is covered in the $275 cost of the seminar). If a "beer degree" seems nerdy, it's because the MBAA is, for the most part, geared toward folks in the service industry.
"The Beer Steward Certificate is an industry-recognized credential intended to enhance anyone in the beer industry's success in their chosen field," Holle says. "We go beyond just tasting beer. This is about a proliferation of craft-beer styles. We talk about rotating stock, keeping beer fresh, cleaning multiple tap lines. We discuss styles of beer that require different glassware, beer pairings... The people that sell beer need a more in-depth knowledge of how to talk about it and keep it fresh, so that customers can experience it at the peak of freshness, exactly how it's supposed to taste."
But for those who aren't currently in the industry, or for anyone who's interested in learning more about how to properly enjoy a brew, Holle notes that the seminar on Monday would be a fit.
"We want to give people a vocabulary and a foundation to talk about beer and why it's so good," Holle says, "and to try to match their taste preferences to the proper beer."
The seminar takes place at the Kansas City Bier Co. on Monday, January 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Details and registration info here.