So you hang out at HopCat every night and have visited every brewery in metro Detroit (also Ann Arbor!). Do you think that makes you a beer expert?
Yes, you think you know beer. But do you really
know beer? Can you name all of the ingredients that go into brewing beer, and what role each one plays in flavor composition and style categorization? Do you know how beer is categorized by style, region, or flavor, and can you name those styles/regions/flavors? Can you detect "off" flavors in your beer, and identify the chemicals that cause them? Do you know what the acronyms ABV, IBU, SRM, and BJCP stand for?
If you answered "no" to these questions, then you don't know shit from Shinola, and you damn sure don't know beer.
Which is why you should immediately sign up for a class with Know Beer
Know Beer provides beer education throughout southeast Michigan with a focus on beer styles, service, and brewing. Classes range from beginner courses on Basics of Beer
– covering basic brewing techniques, ingredients, and beer styles and flavors – to more advanced courses and seminars, like the three-week Extensive Beer Styles Series
covering 72 styles of beer using the Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines.
Classes are designed for everyone from the passionate beer lover with a thirst for knowledge that matches their thirst for beer to those preparing for Cicerone®
certification. They are also ideal for bars and restaurants looking to better educate their service staff, because having a server who answers a basic beer question with "Um" is the absolute WORST.
(Actually the generally accepted "Oh did you want something?" Detroit Service Standard™ is the absolute worst, but that's a rant for another day.)
Whether you seek to advance your own appreciation for the brewing arts by becoming more knowledgeable in the field, or if you are an industry professional seeking intensive education, Know Beer can help you reach your beerie goals.
Know Beer was started by Annette May, a Certified Cicerone® – in fact, the first-ever female Certified Cicerone®
, but who's counting? – and all-around beer industry professional, with 20 years of craft beer business experience in sales, service, and distribution. She formed Know Beer and left her job as beer department manager at Merchant's Fine Wine in Dearborn last year to pursue beer education full-time.
Since then she has provided beer training classes for the staff at Slows BAR B Q, hosted seminars for Fermenta: Michigan Women's Craft Collective
(for which she also serves as a founding member and events coordinator), and holds regular classes at places like Batch Brewing in Detroit, Liberty Street Brewing in Plymouth, Rochester Tap Room, and Ashley's Westland. She'll also be teaching courses for Schoolcraft College's new craft brewing and distilling certificate program starting this fall.
Know Beer also offers "Beer Camp
" classes, intensive 8-hour brewing sessions led by Mike Bardallis, long-time home brewer turned professional brewer at Grizzly Peak Brewing Company in Ann Arbor (and Annette's husband). If you want to learn how to brew beer, even if it's just for yourself in your own basement brewery, this is the place to learn it.
Metro Detroit has come a long, LONG way in the past few years in terms of craft beer culture awareness and growth. At this point, it's no longer relevant to talk about craft beer as if it's some newfangled thing people are just discovering (although it's always adorable when some out-of-touch newscaster who's just now catching on runs a "So what is
this craft beer thing all the kids are doing these days?" feature). It's here, it's beer, we're already used to it. Enough of this "I like IPAs and therefore only drink IPAs and "'dark beers' are too 'heavy'" nonsense. The next step for all of you budding craft beer aficionados out there is to actually know
Photos by Nick Hagen Photography.