Gaining Street Cred as a Certified Beer Server

Certified Beer Server Certificate

This past weekend I accomplished something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now… I passed the Level 1 Cicerone Certification Exam and became a Certified Beer Server!  I became the 11,738th person to pass the test and, according to the online roster, 1 of 40 people in Rochester, NY to hold the title.  The Cicerone Certification Program was designed to offer “independent assessment and certification so that industry professionals–as well as consumers–can be sure of the knowledge and skills held by current and prospective beer servers.”  The program consists of three certification levels, including:

  1. Certified Beer Server
  2. Certified Cicerone®
  3. Master Cicerone®

The Certified Beer Server requires competent knowledge of beer storage and service issues; modest knowledge of currently popular beer styles and culture; and basic familiarity with beer tasting and flavors, brewing process and ingredients.  You’ll need to set aside $69 and 30 minutes for the Level 1 exam, which offered online and comprised of 60 multiple choice questions.  For a more detailed view of the required knowledge see the Novice Syllabus, available at

I must admit, I was a tad nervous about taking the exam but I actually found it to be fairly painless and was relieved to see that I scored quite well.  At this point, while craft beer remains my passion and I plan to continue to develop my knowledge and understanding of the industry, I’m unsure as to whether or not I will continue on to become a Certified Cicerone®.  Higher level certification will require a considerable amount of time and energy devoted to acquiring the necessary expertise. (Though that’s the kind of studying I don’t think I would mind!)

The Certified Cicerone® Exam is given at various locations around the US, as outlined in the exam schedule.  Obtaining this Level 2 certification is significantly more involved, requiring short answer and essay questions along with tasting and demonstration components.  Currently, there are less than 400 Certified Cicerones® and only 4 Master Cicerones® on record.  If you’re thinking of taking any of the Cicerone Certification Exams, you can find more information at  And for anyone that’s recently taken the exam, leave a comment below to share your thoughts about the program.

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Categories: The Spirit of Craft Beer

Author:Amy Ellsworth

Amy Ellsworth is The Craft Beer Girl. Follow her as she discovers the world of craft beer through brewery tours, beer festivals, reviews and homebrewing. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and .


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9 Comments on “Gaining Street Cred as a Certified Beer Server”

  1. April 27, 2013 at 1:05 PM #

    A little late, but (better that than never) Congratulations Amy!!

  2. Justin
    June 18, 2012 at 1:56 PM #

    Reblogged this on Colorado Craft Beer and commented:
    Great Info on what a Cicerone is!

  3. March 10, 2012 at 9:21 PM #

    Congratulations on passing the server exam, it is a good feeling. I passed mine in December and now am working on studying as I imagine you are. Cheers to your blog, keep up the good work.

    • March 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM #

      Thanks Jon, Congrats to you as well on the exam and good luck on the path to Certified Cicerone. Cheers!

  4. March 7, 2012 at 9:31 PM #

    I’ve taken the off flavor course with a few friends. I think they only do it at random times as an online conference type setting. You’re supplied with vials to spike beer with to taste, smell, understand and document your senses and the possible causes. Quite enjoyable. Congrats as well! Prosit!

    • March 8, 2012 at 3:12 PM #

      I’d be interested in trying that sometime… the tasting portion of the Cicerone exam is definitely the part that is most daunting to me. My fiance is great at identifying different aromas, tastes, off-flavors, etc. I can usually get the big ones but have a harder time with some of the more subtle notes unless they are pointed out first by someone else. Once I know what I should be looking for I can usually pick it out…

      Thanks for stopping by!


  1. A Year of Craft Beer: 2012 in Review | the Craft Beer Girl - January 11, 2013

    […] turned 30 in March, and became a Certified Beer Server. Still being somewhat new to craft beer, I was happy to have passed the test and, who knows, maybe […]

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    […] Do you know what a Cicerone® is? […]

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