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“For the first part, they give you an Amstel Light or a Coors Light, something really basic as a control beer,” McPherson says, describing the three-part tasting portion of the exam. “And then they taint it with four different off flavors and you have to identify what it is. For instance, is it the diacetyls, or the DMS [Diamethyl Sulfides]? You have to identify what it is and how it affects the beer.” McPherson says the second section of the tasting exam involved tasting four different pairs of very similar beers - say an IPA and an Imperial IPA - and identifying which was which. He says the last section was the hardest because it involved the widest range of beer styles, some of which can be incredibly complex. “In the last section they give you four beers. They could be anything, like a Belgian Tripel or a stout or something. And you had to be able 176 • March • 2014

to taste it and determine, is this beer good enough to serve. And if not, why? It could be issues with the storage, or the brewing, and you have to be able to detect that in a beer that already has a lot of flavors going on. It was a good learning process. I thought I knew a lot but now I know even more.” The exam, offered throughout the year in major U.S. and international cities, exists to set a standard of professionalism and quality in the beer world. As of this writing, McPherson and Grove are the only two Certified Cicerones in Spokane and are two of only 19 in Washington State. Grove, who is responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the gastropub’s high-end Direct Draw System, says the Cicerone program has changed the way he does his job “in a profound way.” In fact, he’s studying for the two-day Master

Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living 102  
Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living 102