This year, in our Level 4 Master Beer Sommelier program, we are exploring beer & food in far greater depth than ever before. For the first time since the program was developed in 2009, we have introduced a beer and chocolate pairing workshop.
In this class, we took a hard look at 5 different beers and examined how they interacted with 4 different types of chocolate. Our beers included Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Bench Strawberry Grove, Great Lakes Karma Citra and The Wolf of Glen Moray from Windswept Brewing in Scotland.
This class was a tremendous amount of fun and was very eye-opening but also succeeded in destroying our palates. I love chocolate but I had chocolate fatigue at the end. It didn't really last all that long since I delved back into the chocolate last night.
Prud'homme Beer Certification has been in BC for many years now and it continues to grow. We started off very slowly but the pace has increased in recent years. We have made a point of offering the program to business who value the educational platform that Prud'homme offers. The list includes several breweries like Central City in the past, Vancouver Island Brewery, Big Rock Brewery, Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. and valued retailers like JAK's and hospitality groups including the Victoria Pub Co. and the Donnelly Group (quite a few years ago)
Now, we are finally at the stage where a Level 3 Prud'homme Beer Sommelier program is being offered. I have the pleasure of guiding 7 enthusiastic and knowledgeable participants through the depths of this program. Vancouver will be my home once a month from September to December when we will be proud to announce our newest set of Prud'homme Beer Sommeliers.
The first class in September included a class trip to Vancouver Island. Our first stop was the Cedar Valley Hop Farm just south of Nanaimo where we were treated to an exceptional tour by Debbie and Kevin Lamson. We really could not have asked for more! They opened their farm to us and helped us to understand their business of providing hops to the local brewing community. We were also fortunate enough to be able to use their hop yard as our beer & food exercise where we deconstructed a smoked salmon sandwich and investigated how a variety of different beers interacted with each food element.
Our next stop was in Victoria where we were given a private tour of Phillips Brewing and Malting. Dan was wonderful in guiding us through the brewery and also into the malt house. A nice little sampling of great beers followed and then,...off again to our final stop - Ground Zero for the craft brewing industry - Spinnakers, where we thoroughly enjoyed a round of cask ales.
Next up...a brew day with Evan Doan at Craft Collective and a canning presentation from Evan Singer from West Coast Cannning. Of course, no Level 3 would be complete without a Beer Dinner hosted by yours truly - this one is going to be a Belgian theme at Biercraft. Sunday will bring an intense session of malt and hops presentation with a dark lager blind tasting thrown in for good measure.
I always appreciate the passion of those who venture in the Level 3 realm with me and this class is no different. Check in later for an update on the BC Level 3 class.