Near the end of last year Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato held her first iteration of her Mastering Beer and Food Pairing course and I was lucky enough to be a part of it. This course was quite the experience and I know Mirella will be making some changes after this first run and I wanted to share my thoughts on the course as a whole and who would benefit from this course.
What should you expect to get out of this course?
This course starts by giving you a great foundation of theoretical pairing knowledge. It will give you the tools to make sure that you are avoiding train wreck pairings and are more likely to get those good to great pairings. Food pairing is very nuanced and there is no system that will help you hit home runs every time, the goal is to avoid really bad clashes, always be in that good to great range and this course helps you get there and stay there. Then Mirella builds on this foundation and gives you more advanced techniques to fine tune those pairings so that you can put together great pairings more consistently and the more you do this the more it will become second nature.
One thing that was a pleasant surprise was that not only will you get these pairing techniques but there is also a section on hosting beer dinners or pairing events and how to best do those. As someone who hasn’t led anything like that before this was a very pleasant surprise and was a huge value to me personally. You will also learn best practices for interacting with chefs when doing beer pairing dinners, which helps you practice pairing both beer first and food first. The practical value of this course cannot be overstated, what you get from this course you will be able to use. I have been proctoring beer and food pairing oral exams for Certified Cicerones® studying for the Advanced Cicerone® exam and have referred to the course material many times as a resource and will probably continue to do so.
This course also offers opportunities for folks with different learning styles to choose how they want to tackle the course. If you want to just watch the videos and do the homework on your own and at your leisure that is available. The course I did had the option to do a weekly group meeting where we had discussion and small group breakout sessions which I always enjoy as I love to hear other perspectives and bounce my ideas off of other people.
Who is this course for?
I will quickly state the obvious, this course is great for people who are just starting to think about pairing beer and food. If you have no experience this course is for you and will give you a huge leap in knowledge and give you ideas on how to practice pairing so you can get solid experience which is so key when pairing beer and food.
As someone who has some experience pairing beer and food, I will say this course is also great if you already have some experience or have theorized a lot about beer and food. As an Advanced Cicerone® some of the information presented in the course was not new to me, which is to be expected, but that didn’t last long. I wish I would have had some of this information while I was studying, and I am sure I could have done better on my beer and food pairing oral exam. In my opinion I would highly recommend this to someone who is studying for the Advanced Cicerone® exam. One of the biggest leaps in knowledge from Certified Cicerone® to Advanced is what you must know about beer and food pairing and this course is a huge asset for folks like that. I know I will be using it when I begin my personal journey towards Master Cicerone®.
The only challenge that one might face is if you already have a particular vocabulary or lexicon that you use for pairing beer and food. We all know language can be tricky and it is no different in beer and food pairing, one person’s compliment is another person’s bridge, and one person’s contrast is another person’s tension. If you are looking to develop your beer and food pairing vocabulary this will give you everything you need. If you happened to have one that is different from Mirella’s there will be some interpretation that will need to be done, but you won’t hear anything that you haven’t heard before so it shouldn’t be that much of an issue.
Is it worth the price of admission?
I believe since this was a first run of the course the price was $150.00 USD, but I would have gladly paid $250.00 and it is currently available for $199.00. Getting to learn from Mirella alone is worth the price of admission, but throw in videos, group study, interesting homework assignments and ways to gain experience pairing beer and food, you will quickly see why this is worth every penny. Make sure to check out Mirella’s Instagram account @beerology and follow the link in her bio to check out the course and I highly recommend that you sign up.