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Road Trip Blog (for live reporting from the road).
Trip departure was June 4, 2007.
Return to Eugene was October 20, 2007.
Total Length of Trip was: 139 days (4 months + 19 days).

Server Beer School

In 2008 I visited American Flatbread-Burlington Hearth & Brewery in Burlington, Vermont. We had a consulting trade: I learned about restaurant operations, and in return I held "Beer School" for their servers.

With permission from Paul Sayler, co-owner and brewmaster of the brewpub, here are the actual training materials I developed for them, with their input.

Beer School Class Info Booklet

Beer School Sensory Keywords

Beer School Quiz

Beer School Quiz Answers

Beer School consisted of a quick run-through of the Class Info Booklet, then a thorough Tour of the brewery, including what was unique to Burlington Hearth as compared to other brewpubs.

Then we tasted four beers with as varied of flavor profiles as was represented in their house-brewed beer line-up that day. The sensory keywords listed were chosen to specifically match the beers we tasted. The class was confident enough by the end to make sensory keyword suggestions of their own, which was one of the goals of the class.

Servers were taught to taste with "two sniffs and one swallow, then repeat" including certain techniques like sucking in air over a cupped tongue, and allowing the beer to roll off the edges of an uncupped tongue so the beer touches all areas of the mouth.

The Quiz was open-book, using the Class Info Booklet. Collaboration was encouraged in order to encourage discussion, but we asked that answers not be shouted out or given away, only that discussion was allowed.

As each server completed the Quiz, they exchanged their completed Quiz for an Answer sheet, which was stapled to the back of their Class Info Booklet.

The Class Info Booklets were given to the servers to keep and read more at their leisure, and all were invited to ask the Brewmaster questions later, as they arose. Class took about two hours.


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