I have started preparing to take the Certified Cicerone (Level 2) exam when they roll around again (probably sometime in 2019) and I will be posting periodic updates of my progress here. Cicerone is a beer sommelier title/qualification.
Certified Cicerone Beer Server (Level 1)
A little bit of backstory: I passed the initial Certified Cicerone Beer Server (Level 1) exam in September 2017 while in Canada working for Village Brewery as a cellar man. Village is where I learned essentially everything that I know about beer in a brewery setting from the brewing process in the brewhouse, on to the fermentation stage, bright tank conditioning, packaging in kegs, bottles and cans and warehouse storage etc so the exam itself was a lot of things I learned about and experienced as part of my job.
This is the only online exam from Cicerone and you need a 75% pass rate to acquire the Level 1 exam.
Certified Cicerone (Level 2)
With Level 2 things begin to ramp up significantly in terms of the volume of information you need to know to pass the exam.
The syllabus for Certified Cicerone (Level 2) is a lot more extensive in comparison to what is required to pass Level 1, Level 2 covers more topics in more detail.
Part of Level 2 is a written test which includes questions on retail, service and storage, beer history (there is a LOT), as well as an in-depth knowledge of all beer styles (ABV’s and SRM etc) both new/current styles and traditional and historical styles as well as also including an off flavours sampling test.
Food pairing with beer, beer and its ingredients (grains and hops etc) and the brewing process from start to finish are all examined over a 4 hour period. Cask/real ale is also a feature of the UK syllabus, not something we have a whole lot of in Ireland.
Some people take up to two years to prepare and study for the exam, others have done the preparation in as little as six months, according to Cicerone.