Have you ever been to a zoo or a museum and been approached by a grizzled volunteer that’s been trained or has a weirdly focused interest on arcana? If the answer’s yes, then you’ve brushed up against a docent. A much less common but no less archaic term is cicerone.
A cicerone is a guide or navigator..
The word cicerone has its roots in Latin, although an educated guess might have it as Spanish and referencing a good time involving deep-fried pork rinds and a Tecate...more on the Tecate in a later post. A cicerone is a guide or navigator, especially when it comes to specialized areas of knowledge or esoterica.
So it’s no wonder that beer nerd and founder of the Cicerone organization, Ray Daniels (henceforth known as Yoda), went with cicerone instead of “beer sommelier”. Born out of an obsessive need to stamp out beer illiteracy, and poor beer service in the community of people who serve beer, the Cicerone Certification Program was conceived and then gloriously hatched...from Yoda’s mind to a bar or taproom near you.
It would be phenomenal to have a Certified Cicerone on hand to guide you through
So what is a Certified Cicerone? The micro-summary is a beer professional who understands the brewing process, different styles of beer, and who is able to blind taste and identify a style of beer for you, and recommend the proper glassware and serving conditions for that beer. In addition, the Certified Cicerone also possesses knowledge about the dark arts of the laws governing, and the economy surrounding beer, in addition to the useful minutiae of maintaining beer delivery systems like keeping taps sanitary and making sure beers are adequately pressurized with the appropriate gas mix for flavor and mouthfeel.
Quite simply, it would be phenomenal to have a Certified Cicerone on hand to guide you through the taps and recommend food pairings at a growing list of bars, taprooms, speakeasies, and craft beer joints in Singapore! Because there are only five in Singapore at the time of this writing, this becomes an unlikely proposition. The next best thing is to ask if any of the tap monkeys behind the bar sporting a hipster ‘stache if they’re by any chance “Certified Beer Servers” or CBS, not to be casually confused with CBs in Singapore…
Every server walking behind that bar policing all 30 taps at ATR is a honest-to-goodness CBS
A Certified Beer Server is the very first level of certification by the Cicerone organization and marks out a beer server who’s interested enough in what they do all day to actually find out more about where beer comes from and how it should be served to honor its traditional roots or highlight the ingenious innovation behind a new beer style. A CBS behind the bar is a good thing and in Singapore a rare thing. The idea is gaining traction, but as any sleep-deprived, stressed out manager of a taproom will tell you, good reliable help is a rare and special thing in Singapore, and the unicorn of a beer server that will not only show up on time, finish their shifts, but burn their own precious hours off to learn about and then be examined about beer is about as rare a thing as their namesake. It’s almost like that old tired joke about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Singapore Certified Beer Server. As unlikely as the truth may be, every server walking behind that bar policing all 30 taps at ATR is a honest-to-goodness CBS...want to get in good with them and maybe score a free taster, or the inside track on what’s new, special, and rare, then you might, in a theatrical side whisper, ask them about their CBS journey! The Beer Geek’s just sayin’...
Given the pretty penny that you’re laying down to taste craft beer in Singapore, a knowledgeable guide to what is good and what would mostly likely blow your mind, possibly expand consciousness, and fold time and space at at the same time, seems like a good idea.