The Prud’homme Beer Certification is a sommelier-style program for beer and the first of its kind in Canada. Last month we interviewed Roger Mittag to find more about the program and learned that for the first time Prud’homme Level 1 would be offered in Ottawa this fall.
Level 1 is considered to be for the Beer Enthusiast and includes 12 hours of classroom instruction or 6-8 hours of online learning. I opted for the classroom in order to learn amongst other beer enthusiasts in the community. It is an introductory course in beer education designed for participants interested in furthering their knowledge and interest in beer.
The focus for Level 1 is on brewing ingredients and processes, tasting concepts, pouring and serving concepts (including an introduction to draught systems) and food and beer pairings.
I jumped at the chance to sign up for various reasons, the main being to increase my knowledge of beer. As a beer reviewer and active member of the beer community, I felt it was important to educate myself on the finer points of brewing.
I showed up for my first class last Monday with my notepad and highlighter in hand, ready to learn all about the brewing process, which was the focus of the first session. Having gone through many brewery tours, I expected this to be a summary of what I already knew but was pleasantly surprised. Our instructor, Jeff O’Reilly’s experience and knowledge of beer added a great value to the session.
After the introductions and pleasantries were taken care of, we moved on to the meat of the first session, which involved breaking down the 5 components of beer and how each of them can change the profile of a beer depending on various factors in the brewing process. It was interesting to have some of the misconceptions that some of us that had explained. For me it was mainly how the roast on malt changes the flavour of beer. I’m ashamed to say I thought coffee was physically added to give that roasted flavour!
Then came the moment we’d all been waiting for – the beer! We put our newfound understanding of beer tasting to the test by testing our palates on 4 very different beers. From Labatt 50 to Mill Street’s Cobblestone Stout we practiced identifying the components that we’d learned about earlier. I have to say, after just one session, I felt much more comfortable reviewing my weekly beer for “Katy vs. Sasha” and I’m sure in the coming weeks under the tutelage of Jeff I’ll my comfort level will improve even more.
Stay tuned next week to find out what I learned in Week 2 of Beer School!