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Beer Matters: Cicerone course at 42 North, St. Patrick's Day events

Cicerone Beer Savvy Bootcamp
3 p.m. March 22
42 North Brewing Company
25 Pine St., East Aurora (805-7500)

Only 11 people in the world have achieved the status of Master Cicerone. One of them, Pat Fahey, is coming to 42 North Brewing Company in East Aurora to present a four-hour course on introduction to beer styles and service.

The Cicerone program was founded as the beer equivalent of a wine Sommelier. There was a growing need in the craft-beer industry to provide a benchmark of expertise in beer tasting and service. The certification contains four levels, each with increasing requirements.

The apex of the program is the title of Master Cicerone. To achieve this, a two-day examination that includes multiple written, oral and tasting components must be passed. Fahey is one of a few people in the world that has attained the Master Cicerone certification pinnacle.

“I met Master Cicerone Pat Fahey last year while attending a seminar put on by the Cicerone Organization in Chicago,” said Clay Keel, chief brewing officer at 42 North Brewing. “I wanted to bring Pat Fahey to Buffalo for a seminar or training event to offer Buffalo beer fans and industry professionals a new experience in our city. Offering the ‘BeerSavvy Bootcamp’ was just the easiest way to accomplish that.”

During the Beer Savvy Bootcamp class, attendees can expect to learn the basics of beer sampling, including tasting, smelling, designing flavor descriptions and detection of flavors associated with old or defective beer.

East Aurora brewery 42 North will welcome a Cicerone Master. (Matt Weinberg/Special to The News)

East Aurora brewery 42 North will welcome a Cicerone Master. (Matt Weinberg/Special to The News)

[Gallery: Look around 42 North Brewing Co. in East Aurora]

“The event is very hands-on with some lecture but lots of tasting and smelling of ingredients, beers, and common off-flavors. I don't know exactly what that looks like but I know they are shipping a very large box to the brewery this week,” said Keel.

Who would benefit from this workshop? The class targets beer drinkers, homebrewers and industry professionals.

“We are extremely excited,” said Keel. “I am sending a number of my staff as well as hosting industry professionals from other breweries, bars, restaurants and distributors. Any time we can contribute to the net growth of the Buffalo beer scene we're succeeding."

For those who can’t attend the workshop, you still may get a chance to talk to Fahey as Keel hopes to do a pub crawl from 8 to 10 p.m. on March 22 in Buffalo with him.

“That way if folks can’t make it down for the class they can still meet and chat with him," Keel said, adding details will be posted on the Facebook page.

“I know people will thoroughly enjoy the ‘Beer Savvy’ class and hopefully they fall in love with beer just a little more as a result,” said Keel. “The journey Pat has taken to become a Master Cicerone is inspiring. He spent years blind tasting beers, traveling to historic beer regions, and studying its deep history. Talking to him for just a few minutes is quite an experience even for the most consummate beer fan.”

The Beer Savvy Bootcamp at 42 North costs $99 and registration information can be found here.

East Aurora brewery 42 North is now open. From left to right: Naz Drebot, Clay Keel, and Alex Sowyrda. (Photo supplied by 42 North's Clay Keel)

42 North Brewing staff shares a beer. (via 42 North)


St. Patrick's Day Events

There is a range of St. Patrick’s Day events at bars and tap rooms . Here are a few involving craft beer.

World of Beer – Walden Galleria
1 Walden Galleria, Cheektowaga (683-0947)

Starting at 11 a.m. March 17, visit World of Beer for a Shamrock Hunt. If your bottle or can has a lucky shamrock on the bottom, you will receive a prize. This will continue all weekend.

At 6 p.m. March 18, Clann Na Cara Irish Dancers will perform traditional Irish dances. A Guinness Perfect Pour competition will run from 7 to 8 p.m., and if you pour the perfect Guinness you will win glassware.

On March 19, sample Irish draughts, including Guinness, Smithwick’s, Harp and Kilkenny. A “Who’s the Greenest” competition will reward the most festive reveler with a $25 gift card.

World of Beer is a craft-beer haven inside the Walden Galleria. (Kevin Wise/Special to The News)

Big Ditch Brewing Company
55 E. Huron St. (854-5050)

Big Ditch will be open at noon March 17 and 18. A limited lunch menu will include corned beef braised in Excavator Rye Brown Ale. Big Ditch will also be tapping a new Innovation Series beer called Balnamoon Scotch Ale, a traditionally crafted all with caramel and raisin notes.

There will be $1 off pints of Galaxy Red and Vanilla Oatmeal Stout. Live music by Tim Britt Live is from 1 to 4 p.m. March 17.

A flight of beer from Big Ditch Brewing Company. (Kevin Wise/Special to The News)

A flight of beer from Big Ditch Brewing Company. (Kevin Wise/Special to The News)

12 Gates Brewing Company
80 Earhart Drive (906-6600)

From 11 a.m. to close March 17, 12 Gates Brewing will serve $2 pints of green Session IPA. Corned beef sandwiches and Reubens will be available, as well as music and giveaways.

Green Session IPA from 12 Gates Brewing Company will be special for St. Patrick's Day. (via 12 Gates)

Ebenezer Ale House
4348 Seneca St., West Seneca (674-2337)

At 1 p.m. March 19, Ebenezer Ale House will host its fifth annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. Tickets are $10, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Wings Flights of Hope.

Ebenezer Ale House will serve beer-braised corned beef and will have raffles and giveaways throughout the day. Live music includes Strictly Hip, Greater Buffalo Firefighters Pipes and Drums and The Dreaming Tree.

Ebenezer Ale House (photo Kevin Wise)

The scene inside Ebenezer Ale House. (Kevin Wise/Special to The News)


Kevin Wise, Ph.D. is a professor of Biology at Trocaire College who maintains a blog on beer science and beer reviews and can be reached at:; Twitter: @BuffaloBeerBio; Untappd: @BuffaloBeerBiochemist

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