Hop and Circumstance

Posted: January 17, 2011 in Beer School
By Eric and Mimi Griffith

When we tell people we are graduating, their first reaction is always, “Congratulations!”  Once they find out we’re graduating from beer school they usually smile and chuckle like it is some kind of joke.  But at Cicero’s Beer School graduation we get to drink free beer during the ceremony and take home cool pint glasses….so who’s laughing now.

Some of the graduation prizes

More prizes to win!

Whether you are graduating for your first time or your ninth time like Art Santen, graduation night is always fun and exciting as students answer questions for prizes and receive their graduation card, which is good for discounts on beer during the next semester.

You too, could be as proud as Art!

If only I could have recalled that O’Dell’s Saboteur is a brown ale I could have gone home with even more beer gear.  Good thing Mimi takes excellent notes…she won two Chimay goblets!

Our lovely Beer Head Mistress Karen!


A Quick Look Back

I know it is hard to believe, but we have sipped our way through another 13-week semester of suds sampling.  We tasted 47 different beers, from 8 states and 3 countries, and even tried 4 ciders along the way.  The beers ranged from pilsners to Russian imperial stouts and 20 styles in between.  We found beers we love and beers we never new existed, and through it all we had fun.

A clearly enthusiastic fall class off 2010

He says– First of all, cheers to the staff of beer school and thank you once again for an outstanding semester of classes.  It is very hard to narrow down the best of the year, but I will highlight my favorite classes and Mimi will discuss her favorite beers of the semester.

Our Beer School Bloggers, Eric & Mimi, at Graduation

Mitch Turner from Major Brands is quite the educator when it comes to beer.  I always learn many new things when he comes to beer school and this year was no exception.  His vast knowledge and ability to share valuable information gets him the nod for “top teacher.”

Two Generations of Cicero's

The “most organized presenter” goes to Fred Schumacher of Hoffbrau.  You may remember his Powerpoint slides showing Oktoberfest in Germany and stats for the 4 beers he brought for tasting.  His history in the beer business was so interesting to hear about and he took Karen to this year’s Oktoberfest to he gets extra points for that.

Beer School Bar Staff

Tallgrass Brewing Company was the guest on week 1 and owner/brewer Jeff Gill brought a very approachable group of beers for everyone and told stories of opening the brewery and testing recipes while his children stood nearby in Halloween costumes.  He gets the “entrepreneur brewer of the year” or the “he makes me want to open a brewery” award.

Schaefer Family - A family that drinks together, stays together!

She says It’s hard for me to pick out a “number one” favorite beer out of the 47 we tried this semester.  So, I’m going to list my top three favorites.  One of which was C3 from the O’Fallon and Schlafly collaboration series.  It had a unique flavor with an interesting hop blend that really spoke to me.  I know collaboration beers are produced in a limited quantity, yet if it was available in bottles I would have bought it.


"The First Pour" bloggers, Mike and Alaina, at Graduation

New Belgium’s Ranger IPA is also on my list as one to have on a regular basis.  Since my plunge into craft beers my taste preference has swung from meek mainstream pilsners to bold IPA’s.  (I remember a class last semester in which there was an IPA that I couldn’t finish, and now they’re my style of choice.  I’ve learned so much and my palette has really expanded thanks to Beer School!)

Maybe someday, Chip will catch up to Art.

The last beer we sampled this semester was Sam Adam’s Infinium.  This one really got my attention.  It was special and fancy, it had a lovely malt/hop balance, it had enough earthy spice for me, and a wonderfully smooth mouth feel.

What would we do without our AV department - http://www.cicerosbeerschool.com

Thanks to all of those at Cicero’s who work so hard to make beer school not just happen but be so much fun.  A whole new world has opened up in front of me and if not for Cicero’s beer school I might be drinking the same boring beer day after day.  I encourage anyone with a mild interest in beer to come try it for yourself.  You’ll be so glad you did.

Fall class of 2010


  1. Alaina says:

    I can’t wait for classes to start up again tomorrow night. Great recap of the fall semester!

  2. Jenn Metzler says:

    Woot! Congratulations, you guys and gals! I’ve always wanted to attend but I’ve always had roller derby or something else. Hopefully one of these days, and soon, I’ll be able to have as much fun experiencing Beer School. Kudos!

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