Wednesday, 12 August 2009


Beer exams are a very transatlantic concept. And it's not just the BJCP that set them. Ray Daniels has his Cicerone [thanks for correcting me Adeptus] test, too. Hopefully his is more factually based than theirs.

But it's got me thinking. Rather than just complain about the nonsense the BJCP teach, why not come up with an exam of my own? I'm certifiable, so why shouldn't I certify others? Just need to think of a snappy title for the qualification.

Beer something. That would be good. Preferably another word beginning with the letter "B". Alliteration is always ace.

What would I test for? All the essential beer knowledge. Barclay Perkins' product line in the 1920's. The average OG of Mild in the 1890's. How to covert pounds per barrel to specific gravity. The correct dark malts to use in a Brown Ale. (Trick question, that one.) How many pounds of hops per quarter of malt are right for an authentic 1840's IPA. The excise duty per standard barrel in 1904. The weight of a quarter of brown malt. The number of bushels in a hundredweight. Useful stuff like that. The centrepiece of the exam would be deciphering a 1920's Truman brewing log and an 1840's Whitbread log.

I'd test all the basic knowledge a beer historian needs. Hang on. I'm onto something there. Beer Historian. What about Beer Historian Certification Programme? BHCP for short. Sounds like a winner.


Barry M said...

Careful now. Ray Daniels calls it Cicerone -- which I thought was a tourist guide -- not Sommelier. You don't want to open that transatlantic can of worms. Or maybe you do! :oP

I do like his books though.

BBCP could also work, with the B being interchangeable for Belly, Bore, Bastard, perhaps more Beer...

mrbowenz said...

Interesting topic Ron, I am a BJCP judge, a Cicerone CBS'r, and a historical brewer( reenactor) , yet I turn to your blog daily to get the best information about beer history on the web. I love the "stuff" you write, go ahead and make an exam , I wanna be "Pattinson Cerified " too. Except people would say who ? yup, that's what I like about it ....kudos Ron

Alan said...

Can there also be an affiliate program where people who admire those with the detail but have no real interest in taking it on - preferring to just drink good beer - can get qualified? Like that Monty Python sketch about the secret service - "Can you keep a secret? Good, you're in!"

Matt said...

How about 'Breweries (Old)& Out-of-print Zythology Examination Registered'?

Tim said...

No Stout/Porter questions? I'm shocked. I think an essay on what malts were used, their ratios, and how they changed over time would be the most important piece of the test.