Recently I've started seeing references to the term 'Cicerone' pop up around the internet; generally, they are described as a 'Beer Sommelier' and the subject is left at that.

I'd like to understand the role a little bit better. What exactly does a cicerone do? If I encounter one in a restaurant, what sort of knowledge can I expect her to have? Is there a certification or credential of some sort that they're expected to receive? What sort of training is required?


Basically, they are experts in beer. They are knowledgeable in everything from the brewing process and the beer styles to properly serving beer and how to pair it with food. Yes, there are certification programs around, such as this one. I'm not sure about training, but it seems like it involves a series of exams, much like actuarial exams or the FE and PE for engineers. craftbeer.com has a great article.

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