SHERIDAN — Many like to claim they know more about beer than anyone else, but few actually have the certification to prove it.
Nick Munford, though, recently completed a certification indicating that he’s completed an official Beer Server Exam, the first step in becoming a cicerone. According to a cicerone certification program, the title designates hospitality professionals with proven experience in selecting, acquiring and serving beers.
There are different levels to certification, the basic level being the certified beer server. After that, beer lovers can become a certified Cicerone, an Advanced Cicerone, and those wanting to truly show their stuff can become a Master Cicerone.
Munford only knows of two others in Sheridan with the basic training — both work at Black Tooth Brewing Company.
Munford said he has been involved and interested in the craft beer industry for more than a decade. He moved to Sheridan about a year ago from San Diego — a community he notes has more than 60 breweries. He currently works at the Sheridan Senior Center as a development associate, tracking donations and processing data.
He compared the beer server certification process as one similar to what sommeliers go through for wine.
“It’s mostly knowledge I’ve picked up over 10 to 15 years in craft beer,” Munford said, adding that the studying and test itself took a little more than a week to complete.
Other than touting his knowledge to any who ask, Munford said he hopes to someday work in the craft beer industry and put the certification to professional use.
The beer server designation Munford earned tests everything from how to properly serve a beer to different styles of beer along with beer ingredients and brewing.
The most advanced level — Master Cicerone — tests the same topics, but goes more in depth on each, including proper pairing of beer with foods.
Munford recommended the class and certification for anyone with a healthy interest in craft beers.
“It’s a good first step if you want to get into the industry,” he said. “It’s also a fun way to promote the craft beer scene, which is really good in Sheridan right now with two great breweries.
“Supporting them is a good thing,” he continued. “There is a big industry for beer tourism that can bring people into the community, especially in the summertime.”
Sheridan’s craft alcohol scene has thrived in recent years. The two breweries — Black Tooth Brewing Company and Luminous Brewhouse — come most easily to mind for people. But, Sheridan Travel and Tourism promotes a number of other craft companies in the community.
Kolts Fine Spirits, established in 2001, produces Koltiska Original Liqueur and KO 90. They also have the Koltiska Horse & Carriage Company, which offers tours in a horse drawn carriage.
Sheridan’s Weston Wineries also has made a name for itself. The wine is produced from West Coast grapes, but each wine celebrates life in Wyoming with names honoring Buck Brannaman, Chris LeDoux and Longmire.
As Sheridan Travel and Tourism’s website points out, “now burgeoning beyond even the wildest expectations, Sheridan’s craft beer, spirits and wine scene is among the most robust in the Mountain West (given Sheridan’s size). Where the blue yummie once reigned supreme, and where whiskey once flowed south from the Great White North, craft is now king.”