Jason Pratt of Tenth and Blake Beer Company, a division of our joint venture in the US, is only the 11th person in the world to earn the title of Master Cicerone.
One of the world’s most respected schemes for brewing knowledge is the Cicerone Certification Program, based in Chicago. Founded in 2007, it was the brainchild of long-time home brewer, beer judge and author Ray Daniels, who wanted to encourage the appreciation and knowledge of the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage.
Becoming a cicerone (pronounced ‘sis-uh-rohn’) is no mean feat. Applicants are independently assessed for beer expertise in a number of areas, including brewing ingredients, processes and history, beer styles and flavours, as well as beer and food pairing.
There are four levels on the journey to become a cicerone, with applicants having to be acknowledged as a certified beer server, showing competent knowledge of beer storage and serving, before being recognised as a Certified, Advanced and then, finally, Master Cicerone.
Of all 120 attempts by 89 people to become a Master, Jason is only the 11th to pass the demanding exams.
“It was probably nine months of hard work – between eight to 10 hours every weekend reading or studying,” says Jason, who is Manager of Beer Education at Tenth and Blake Beer Company, Chicago. “The best way to describe it is the equivalent of becoming a Master Sommelier.”
“It really is about understanding beer flavour, the style, what goes into it, and being able to talk intelligently about it,” continues Jason, who worked in biomedical sciences before moving into the beer business nine years ago.
“We, at Tenth and Blake, try to make sure people get the chance to see, touch and feel the different ingredients and help to understand beer flavour that way.”
During his time as a Yeast and Fermentation Scientist at MillerCoors Jason was named the firm’s ‘Taster of the Year’ three times for his outstanding performance on the Master Brewer’s expert sensory panel.
“The more you learn about something, the more that passion develops; you never stop reading and learning. The best part about it, is that much of the learning experience is tasting beer – and that’s never a bad day.”
“Jason posted impressive results in all areas of the exam,” said Ray Daniels, Founder and Director of the Cicerone Certification Program. “We are thrilled to have him as a representative of the Master Cicerone title.”
To learn more about becoming part of the Cicerone program, you can visit the website here.