Beer Exam School welcome tour

TRANSCRIPT: Hey guys, this is Nathan Pierce here to talk with you about Beer Exam School and how to pass the Certified Beer Server exam the first time.

You may know me as the host of MicroBrewr Podcast. MicroBrewr Podcast has over 85 episodes of interviews with brewers, brewery owners, and other experts in the craft beer industry. It’s all about how to start a brewery. So we find out their biggest mistakes, their best ideas, and any other insight that they have from actually being on the ground starting a brewery. It’s the lessons learned, to try and pursue our dreams doing the same thing.

A friend of mine in the alcoholic beverage industry said, “You know, you should really consider the Cicerone® Certification Program and get at least the first level, Certified Beer Server, on your resume.” So I started studying for the Certified Beer Server exam, and I kept all of my notes on Beer Exam School.

And now I am a Certified Beer Server from Cicerone® Certification Program. So that’s what this post is about.

We are going to cover a little bit about:

  1. What is a Cicerone and the Cicerone® Certification Program
  2. How to use Beer Exam School
  3. How to pass the Certified Beer Server exam the first time
  4. How to enroll in Beer Exam School

What is a Cicerone and the Cicerone® Certification Program

So what is a Cicerone? A Cicerone is somebody who has been certified by the independent agency, the Cicerone® Certification Program, to verify that your professional beer serving knowledge and expertise is top notch. So there are 4 levels.

The first level of the Cicerone® Certification Program is a Certified Beer Server. The second level is the one that’s pretty popular, a lot of people are talking about that, it’s the Certified Cicerone®. Maybe you aren’t fully up to going to the Master Cicerone® level. There are a few people who have passed the exam. Lots of people tried, many have failed. It’s really tough. So they created this sort of in between, Advanced CiceroneTM to take your Certified Cicerone® skills and knowledge and expertise up a notch before you’re ready for the full on Master Cicerone® level.

So I wanted to do just the Certified Beer Server exam so that I could expand my knowledge in craft beer and have the certificate to put on my resume. Some reasons other people like to do it are for bragging rights. Just to say, “I am a Certified Beer Server.” And some people just take the exam without studying. I’ve heard of people taking the exam and passing it having a beer or two during the course of taking this online exam. Which is online, so you could take it from anywhere in the world, anybody can do it. And if you just want to pass, maybe you know enough about craft beer so you could do that. You get two tries, so you may as well give it a try if you want to.

But if you’re interested in expanding your knowledge and really learning from the experience, that’s more what I was trying to do and that’s what Beer Exam School is really catered towards.

And some people want to do it just for community. They want to see their name up on the Cicerone® Certification Program website next to the other Certified Beer Servers and know that they are in good company.

So if you want to be a Certified Beer Server, like I wanted to do, if you want to really learn the material, really gain working knowledge about beer and beer service, then I think Beer Exam School is right for you.

How to use Beer Exam School

So let’s talk about how to use Beer Exam School and go into the website a little bit. You can use any of your favorite web browsers. It’s at

I usually have the latest post up here on the homepage. When the latest posts are published on the blog, you could use this section to go directly to the latest post. But if you’re studying for the Certified Beer Server exam, you might notice that these 5 buttons at the top look familiar.

These are the 5 parts of the Certified Beer Server syllabus:

  1. Keeping and serving beer
  2. Beer styles
  3. Beer flavor and evaluation
  4. Beer ingredients and brewing processes
  5. Pairing beer with food

So if you’re studying along with the syllabus already and you just want to jump to one of the sections, this might be an easy way to do it. But what I always recommend is to just come up to the top menu for other options. Under the “About” menu, you can learn a little bit more about Beer Exam School, or about the Certified Beer Server, and about the Cicerone® Certification Program in general.

And if you’re studying to pass the Certified Beer Server exam, I recommend coming here, click on “About Certified Beer Server.” There’s a little bit about the certification. Also under this section there is a table of contents, which matches my study notes exactly. I studied along exactly following the Certified Beer Server syllabus. So you’ll see the 5 parts shown above, and the sections beneath each part. So this is an easy way to jump straight to one of the parts that you’re studying on. Or if you want to go back and brush up on something that you read earlier, or look up some fact you already learned to brush up on your knowledge, you can just get right into those sections.

So let’s say you click on Part 2, Style parameters. This is lesson number 12, out of 20 lessons in Beer Exam School. You can read all of my research that I did on this, based on the reading materials that they suggested in the syllabus. And sometimes I read some additional materials when I couldn’t find answers there and I had to look in some other places. I condensed it to what I think are the most important things to pass the Certified Beer Server exam, to learn what they want you to learn, and to get the most out of this experience.

Now at the bottom of each section there are flashcards that I used. This is the meat, really. I got the most out of the flashcards. What I did was, I reviewed my notes, and then I concentrated on the flashcards. So these are the exact flashcards that I used. You could write down what I wrote on the front and on the back of each card. The bold text is the question that I wrote on the front of each card. The normal font is the answer that I wrote on the back of the card. So there are all of the flashcards I used below each lesson.

All the way at the bottom of each post, you could use the left and right buttons to go back to the previous lesson or go on to the next lesson, and keep studying this way.

So those are two ways to go through all of the study lessons and get the most out of Beer Exam School.

If you want to check out some of the other general posts, you go to the top menu and click “Latest Posts,” to go to the blog section. For example, after I passed the exam I made a post on, 3 thoughts on passing the Certified Beer Server exam. Read that if you want to celebrate with me when you finish passing your exam, please make a comment on the bottom, I really want to hear about your experience and hear whether my notes helped you. If you haven’t yet taken the Certified Beer Server exam, if you’re still curious about it, the blog has an FAQ, frequently asked questions about the Certified Beer Server exam and the certification. So the Latest Posts section is where general blog posts will show up.

The Resources link has some study resources that are listed in the syllabus. Check out these resources directly if you want to. If you feel like my notes are kind of lacking, feel free to go through the resources section to dig in deeper. I wanted to be completely transparent and let you know exactly where the information is coming from. So I listed it all there. You can see there are a lot of materials that I used. If you want to just use a condensed version, go through my notes. That will be much easier. I don’t think you’re going to miss out on the most important parts for passing the Certified Beer Server exam.

Some of the links on the Resources page and some other links throughout the website are affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links I could get a small commission on the sale. It won’t affect your purchase price, and I’ll get a little kickback.

If you ever want to contact me to let me know how your experience was, that you passed the Certified Beer Server exam, that would be great, I would love to hear from you. So click the Contact button at the top.

There’s a link to MicroBrewr Podcast in case you want to check that out.

And that’s about it for the website.

How to pass the Certified Beer Server exam the first time

So now let’s talk about how to pass the Certified Beer Server exam the first time. The Cicerone® Certification Program will let you take the exam up to twice, if you don’t pass it the first time.

I want you to pass it the first time. No need stressing out about this stuff, so checkout Beer Exam School. I showed you the table of contents. There are 20 lessons that I want you to go through, that cover each section of the syllabus. Altogether, there are 231 flashcards with 43 flashcards about the beer styles 227 flashcards, including 39 flashcards about the beer styles. The beer style flashcards are pretty data heavy.

If I were doing it again, I would actually start with the beer style flashcards first.

Beer Exam School flashcards, beer styles set. Formatted for perforated business card sheets. Compatible with Avery 8371.

So what I recommend for you to pass the Certified Beer Server exam the first time, is to start with the beer style flashcards. You can download those from the website, or you can write them out by hand yourself, they’re right below the study notes that are provided. And start studying the beer styles in the beginning before you go through any of the study lessons for the other sections.

Then start off with lesson one and do one lesson per day. So after each lesson you can find the flashcards to write out yourself, or you can print them out from the PDF that I provide on the website. So start your flashcards for that day and after that, study the beer style flashcards again.

So day 2 comes along and you study lesson number 2 for the day, do your flashcards again, and do the beer style flashcards again.

Every day, do the beer style flashcards. Do the beer style flashcards as often as you can.

I designed the PDF to print out on business-card sized cards. I really wanted to do them on index-sized cards, but turn it into a PDF in a way that you can print out at home. They don’t make a sheet of index cards for your printer at home, so I formatted the PDF so you can print them out on to the pre-perforated business card sheets. And the flashcards fit right in your pocket. So I you can just take those with you anywhere. While I was at the laundromat waiting, I would pull those out, check out the beer styles. When I was in line at the grocery store, I’d pull out my flashcards and brush up on that stuff.

So go through each lesson each day and the flashcards for each day, and review your beer styles every day. Because there are more than 40 beers styles and there is not one standard exam for the Certified Beer Server exam. So you don’t know what questions they will ask about what beer style, which parameter they’ll ask about. So you kind of have to have a pretty good feel for most of the information. You don’t need to memorize every single point, but if you’re reviewing them every day for 20 days, you’ll know the information pretty well.

And at the end of that 20 study lessons, maybe you just want to take a few more days to review all of your flashcards, run through them a couple more times casually over the next couple of days, go through a couple of sets a day or something like that. Then you will be golden, you’re going to be rocking! You will pass and the heck out of the Certified Beer Server exam the first time!

If you don’t, I’m gonna be sad. I want to hear about it, so let me know what we can do to improve.

How to enroll in Beer Exam School

So something I didn’t cover is how to “enroll” in Beer Exam School. When you’re on the Beer Exam School website, over on the right hand side is this picture, “free flashcards and study notes from the Certified Beer Server exam, instant access.” Click on that button, and there’s some other buttons throughout the website.

When you get to the form, put in your information. I just want to know your name and email address, the other information is optional if you just want to tell me a little bit more about yourself. Then click “Sign me up.”

And you’re also going to get a set of flashcards. You’re not going to get all of them, it’s a little teaser. Those are the flashcards that you can print out from the PDF that comes straight to your email inbox. And you’re going to be on the email list, so you will also know when posts are released. You’re going to know when new posts are published on the website, if I have some other news about Beer Exam School or the Cicerone® Certification Program, and it’s just a good way to keep in touch. So those are some good reasons to sign up on the email list.


What will you apply today? If you’ve been thinking about the Certified Beer Server for awhile, but you haven’t done it, do it today! Join Beer Exam School, get on the email list, learn how to start studying for the Certified Beer Server exam and you’ll be passing it in no time!

Then send me an email or post a comment on the website and let me know that you passed the exam. I want to hear about it. I want to hear when you get your lapel pin in the mail and your certificate, I want to be excited for you. I want to know how these study notes worked out for you.

So I’m really stoked that you made it this far, really excited that you’re interested in becoming a Certified Beer Server and expanding your knowledge in beer, getting to know more about this awesome thing that we love called beer, and expanding your professional experience, knowledge, and expertise to bring excellent beer service to more people.

Talk to you soon!

Join Beer Exam School

Study along with my notes–pass this exam!

Sign up for the email list:   Enroll me in Beer Exam School!

Nathan Pierce

    I'm Nathan Pierce. I drink beer, I quit my job, and I'm planning to start a brewery. I also host a podcast about how to start a brewery. So I’m studying for Cicerone® Certification Program, Certified Beer Server exam.

    Study along with me!

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *