The ultimate title in beer and food has been earned by two owners (one in Europe and one in southern California). The Cicerone Certification Program recently announced that Californian Patrick Rue and Scotsman James Watt became the eighth and ninth individuals to earn the title of Master Cicerone. Watt is the first European to earn the title. The two earned the certification through a series of exams culminating with two days of intense written and oral questioning about beer styles, draft systems, beer evaluation, brewing technology and beer and food pairing given on Oct. 22 and 23 in the Los Angeles area.
“We are thrilled to have two such accomplished and distinguished members of the brewing community join the ranks of the Master Cicerones,” said Ray Daniels, founder and director of the Cicerone Certification Program. “I know they will both be great representatives of this certification as they continue to make a mark on the beer industry.”
While more than 45,000 have passed the first level Cicerone exam known as Certified Beer Server, only nine individuals have now earned the Master Cicerone title — the third and top level of the program. Founded in 2007, the Cicerone Certification Program tests and certifies beer expertise similar to the wine world’s Master Sommelier program. The Master Cicerone exam includes 10 hours of written questions, two hours of oral questions and two hours of beer tasting and evaluation. Candidates need an overall score of 85 percent to pass.
Eleven candidates took the October 2014 Los Angeles exam, with two individuals achieving a passing score. Across all Master Cicerone exams, there have been 74 exam attempts by 49 individuals with nine individuals achieving a passing score.
Rue and Watt join the seven previously designated Master Cicerones: Andrew Van Til of San Francisco; David Kahle of Chicago; Rich Higgins of San Francisco; Nicole Erny of Oakland, CA; Neil Witte of Kansas City, MO; Mirella Amato of Toronto, ON; and Pat Fahey of Chicago.
The knowledge required for the Master Cicerones certification is outlined in the program’s Master Syllabus, which can be viewed at www.cicerone.org. The website provides information on the other levels of certification leading up to the Master Cicerone exam.
The next Master Cicerone exam to be held in Chicago on May 5 and 6, 2015, sold out within minutes. A second Master Cicerone exam will be offered in November 2015 and any Certified Cicerone may register for the lottery to award spots in that exam before December 7, 2014 by contacting [email protected]