So you've discovered you like craft beer. Now what?
On the Coast beer columnist Rebecca Whyman has a few tips on how to learn more about craft beer so you can sound like the smartest person at the party — at least when it comes to craft beer.
1. Drink more beer
Keep tasting beers. Keep trying to describe what you're tasting. Notice how the beers pair with foods. These are all things that begin a beer education.
2. Go to a beer tasting
Organizations like CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) offer classes to their members on a variety of topics. Many private liquor stores like Legacy Liquor Store offer tastings as well. Some of these are more formal than others.
3. Visit a brewery
Brewers and staff are great people to talk to about beer. Or go on a brewery tour - see behind the scenes and learn about how beer is made.
- Vancouver Brewery Tours: leave the car keys at home and visit three breweries in three hours
- Cycle City Tours: cycling and beer tasting, together at last. Tours start again in May
- BC Craft Brewers Guild lists most of the province's breweries and whether or not they have a tasting room
4. Read about beer
There are several beer magazines you can subscribe to, Taps magazine and Beer Advocate are both great resources.
Some of my favourite books are:
- Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher.
- Man Walks Into a Pub and Three Sheets to the Wind by Pete Brown.
- Craft Beer Revolution by Joe Wiebe.
- B is for Beer by Tom Robbins.
5. For advanced learners
If you want to get formal about it, go to beer school. Many colleges and universities have beer and brewing programs. Learn your beer styles and take the test to become a Cicerone or a Certified Beer Judge.
- Prud'Homme Beer Certification: Next courses start in March at the Craft Beer Market
- Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts offers two levels of beer lessons
- Cicerone Certification Program offers courses online
To listen to the full interview, including Rebecca Whyman's beer suggestions for this week, click on the audio labelled: Rebecca Whyman on craft beer education