Whoa there! Need to slow down…

Big thanks to the response and inquires from people.  Always excites as to how interested people are about beer now.

Unfortunately, I have to post-pone the March beginning of Cicerone Training.  I would be fooling myself if I actually thought between opening Lansdowne brewery and the many other things going on in my life that I could deliver the best training possible.  Not a chance.  The people I train deserve me at my best.

For anybody looking to take the exam, one is being offered on April 9th, at Cool Beer Co.


Anyone looking to write the exam please let me know, with a few people I can run a practice exam for you, with a complete tasting portion.



Starting in March

Ok.  Finally got the dates sorted out.

Beer_Education training schedule for Certified Cicerone®


@ 20 classes

  1. Monday, March 2 – Off-flavours and Introductions
  2. Tuesday, March 3 – Sensory Evaluation and Palate Calibration
  3. Monday, March 9 – Common Beer flavours
  4. Tuesday, March 10 – Malts & Malting
  5. Monday, March 16 – Hops w/ Organic Hop farmer Shane Eby
  6. Tuesday, March 17 – Yeast and other organisms
  7. Monday, March 23 – Review + 9 style tastings
  8. Tuesday, March 24 – Draught Systems with Jeff Rogowsky (Session Craft Canning)
  9. Monday, March 30 – Provincial and Territorial selling and serving laws
  10. Monday, April 6 – Food, Cheese and Beer Pairing with Chef Jesse Vallins (The Saint Tavern) (Easter Monday)
  11. Monday, April 13 – Essay reviews and Ingredient Assessment
  12. Monday, April 20 – Shelf life, Storage & Cellaring
  13. Monday, April 27 – Pouring Techniques and Bottle service
  14. Monday, May 4 – The Brewing Process Pt. 1 with Matt Tweedy (Beau’s Brewery) TBD
  15. Monday, May 11 – The Brewing Process Pt. 2 with Matt Tweedy (Beau’s Brewery)TBD
  16. Monday, May 25 – Belgian and Trappist Lore
  17. Monday, June 1 – Draught Trouble-shooting + 3 BJCP category tastings
  18. Monday, June 8 – Final Review
  19. Monday, June 15 – Written and Tasting Exam
  20. Monday, June 22 – Exam review and additional tasting exam

In between all those lessons all 76 styles in the BJCP guide will be sampled, and evaluated.  Also selected styles from the 2014 BJCP guide will be reviewed as well.

Gave a little break on Victoria Day.  It’s nice to have a break.


New Year, New Location

Happy New Year to each and all.

Sorry about the time lapse there, but powers beyond my control have forced some changes to the program.  Fortunately, they’re beneficial.

With the sad closing of “The Beer Academy”, classes will now be held at the Lansdowne Brewery, 303 Lansdowne Avenue.  The Brewery itself is near completion, but we haven’t set an opening date yet.  Many licence’s still need to be acquired, and much still needs to be done.  We’re certainly aiming for the Spring to be open, but that’s another post.

All in all this means I can drop the course price to $595 a person.

I’m aiming to start another round of Cicerone® training late February.

Interested parties can contact me directly.


Playing it cool for now…

First, I just want to apologize for not posting sooner.  I finished a round of beer training for 10 awesome students, some of whom wrote for their Certified Cicerone® in July.  If you want a gander at all the beer we tasted, check this out:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDxIlLalv7o   Sorry about the lighting…

During the time between that, I’ve been designing and purchasing the kitchen for the soon to be opened Lansdowne Brewery, @ 303 Lansdowne Ave.  Currently the space itself is still under renovation, which in the meantime I’m menu developing, and basically getting everything together.  We still have no official opening date yet, but stay tuned because this are happening FAST.

Also the BJCP has completely revamped and updated itself, expanding to include just about every category you could possibly imagine.  I contacted Cicerone® offices, and they have informed me that no change to any of the syllabus’s will be made until after 2015.  I seriously wonder how things will differ, and how much new information will have to be incorporated.  Lets just say I’ll be holding my breath.  

So, in the meantime, I will be looking to start another round of Beer_Education training, but when this will begin, I can’t say for sure.  More on that soon.

In the meantime, drink early, and drink often.


Dates are locked in

So after the usual venue negotiations, chasing after people for money, and just general madness I’m thrilled to announce I have managed to lock in dates for the next round of beer training.  With every class there will at least be one blind off-flavour tasting, and one blind style identification, which always happens at the beginning of class.  Nearly every class will contain at least one tasting of an entire BJCP category, except with guest speakers.

@ 20 classes

Monday, March 3 – Off-flavours and Introductions

Tuesday, March 4 – Sensory Evaluation and Palate Calibration

Monday, March 10 – Common Beer flavours

Tuesday, March 11 – Malts & Malting

Tuesday, March 18 – Hops w/ Organic Hop farmer Shane Eby

Tuesday, March 25 – Yeast and other organisms

Tuesday, April 1 – Review + 9 style tastings

Tuesday, April 8 – Draught Systems with UBC’s Jeff Rogowsky

Tuesday, April 15 – Provincial and Territorial selling and serving laws

Tuesday, April 22 – Food, Cheese and Beer Pairing with Chef Jesse Vallins (The Saint Tavern)

Tuesday, April 29 – Essay reviews and Ingredient Assessment

Tuesday, May 6 – Shelf life, Storage & Cellaring

Tuesday, May 13 – Pouring Techniques and Bottle service

Tuesday, May 20 – The Brewing Process Pt. 1 with Matt Tweedy (Beau’s Brewery)

Wednesday, May 21 – The Brewing Process Pt. 2 with Matt Tweedy (Beau’s Brewery)

Tuesday, May 27 – Belgian and Trappist Lore

Tuesday, June 3 – Draught Trouble-shooting + 3 BJCP category tastings

Tuesday, June 10 – Final Review

Tuesday, June 17 – Written and Tasting Exam

Tuesday, June 24 – Exam review and additional tasting exam

In between all those lessons all 76 styles in the BJCP guide will be sampled, and evaluated.

A lot of people ask me if there’s a way to reduce the number of lessons.  I could do that, but I find that after 2.5 – 3 hours people’s attention span is nearly gone.  It’s quite an amount of material to teach.

If your interested in writing for the Cicerone® exam, these all the bases you’ll need to cover.

Special thanks to Rob and Matt at Bar Hop for putting their faith in me and the program.

And of course, contact me via Twitter, email or this Blog for any questions you may have.

More Q & A

12.  How should I be preparing for the exam?  Do I need to prepare for your course?

If you seriously intending to write the Certified Cicerone® exam, there are several reading materials you had better be VERY familiar with:

2008 BJCP Guide

Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher

Anything written by Michael Jackson


For instance, if you can’t tell me what this guy in the photo is doing, you better hit the books.

As far as preparing for my course, the more knowledge you have, the more you will learn.  I have found that people whom already have an excellent base reading get the most out of the course.  They are ultimately, the ones whom also fair better on the exam.

13.  $650 is some serious cash.  Why so much?

If you work it out, it’s $30 a course, which includes all your beer, reading materials, snacks, cheese and food pairings, guest speakers and a bunch of other fun stuff.  It’s actually a pretty good deal. 

14.  Can you fail the Certified Cicerone® Exam?

Certainly.  You need at least 70% on the tasting, and 80% on the written.  If you fail one but pass the other, you only have to retake the one portion you failed.

15.  What guarantee do I have that I’ll pass this exam when I take your course?

I’m afraid I can’t guarantee you anything. Of the 14 people I’ve trained, all have passed the tasting portion of the exam, and 6 are Certified Cicerone’s® now.  The ones who failed the written all failed by less than 5%, and all admitted to me they could have studied more.

16.  The world of beer is constantly changing.  Is your information up to date?

Yes sir.  I’m constantly updating course material and notes, and keep a fairly steady pulse on the beer industry.

17.  I have a business that sells/produces beer.  Can you help me?

Sure.  I offer discounts on group rates, and can put together a custom program to suit your needs.  If it’s training your staff of 80, or selecting which beers to put on your draught selection, I can be of service.

A few questions and answers

1.  Who is this guy?

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Peter Campagna, and I’m a Certified Cicerone®.  I teach a course here in Toronto designed to train people about all the facets of beer, from tasting, to style knowledge, draught systems and everything in between.  My course is also set up to put you in an excellent position to pass the Certified Cicerone® exam.

2.  What’s a Cicerone®?

A Cicerone® is a person whom is well versed and knowledge in beer, beer service and brewing.  It is a recognized title which cannot be achieved without passing a difficult written and tasting exam.  For more information check:  cicerone.org

3. So you’re affiliated with Cicerone® in Chicago, Illinois.

No.  I have no affiliation or business dealings with Cicerone®, Chicago.  I’m a private entity, using the BJCP Guide, Cicerone Syllabus and other source materials to put together a course that will educate you and prepare to pass the Cicerone® Exam, would you choose to write it.

4.  How long did it take you to become a Cicerone®?

Just shy of two years.  When I first realized I wanted to do this, I quit my full time job as an Executive Chef, and voluntarily cleaned draught lines in the mornings.  In the evenings I would study and brew beer at home, to teach myself the brewing process.  I did this for one full year, until I had to return to the workforce to earn a living.  I wrote my first Exam in July of 2012 in Montreal, which I passed the written portion, but not the tasting.  I re-took the tasting portion, and became a Certified Cicerone in Janruary, 2013.

5.  Why do you teach this course?

There are many reasons I do this, but first and foremost is that Toronto, if not all of Canada, needs professionals in the beer industry that can offer a level of customer service for beer that matches wine and spirits.  This is slowly starting to happen, and I want to see it through.  I have also compiled over three years of study, which would be shameful, if not completely stupid to let go to waste.  As I grow, I learn new things.  I like to encourage growth in everything and everyone.

6.  Do you make lots of money teaching people about beer?

That would be cool, but no.  I’m in this for the beer and the people.

7.  Where is all this held?

Beer Academy, 75 Victoria St.

Toronto, Ontario

I am not affiliated with the Beer Academy either, although several of there employees have taken my course.

8.  How many classes and how long does this take?

It’s 20 classes of instruction, which includes a trial exam and two tasting practice exams.  I try to line this up just before an exam is announce in the city, or close by.  In this case right now, I’m looking to do two days a week (6:30 – 9:30), probably on a Tuesday and Thursday, until April 20th.  I try to be flex able with dates to accommodate students.

9.  What does all this cost?

It’s $650 (Canadian currency) all in.  That means you show up, and need to provide for nothing.  Note: this does not include the fee for writing the Certified Cicerone exam.  If I can get over 8 students, the cost starts to drop significantly, and I have more money to put into the course experience.  The max number I will take is 12 students at once.

10.  Whom else in Canada does this?

Chester Carey, also a Certified Cicerone®, runs two courses in Vancouver, which offer similar education.  We are not affiliated in any way with each other.  If someone else in Canada does this, I’d sure like to know whom it is.

11.  What kind of beer can I expect to be drinking in this course?

We taste every style in the BJCP Guide,which is approximated 76 different styles of beer.  We also double up sometime on certain styles.  For an idea of what that looks like, check this out:


I’ll continue this Q & A with another blog addition.  Questions and comments are welcomed and encouraged.