26 August 2008

Learn More About Beer In One Sitting Than We've Learned In Two Years

Ron Smith is a lot like us. He loves beer. And he likes to share his love. But unlike us, when he starts talking about beer, he really knows what he's talking about. Check out Ron's beer resume:

- National Ranked BJCP Beer Judge
- Certified Beer Server
- National Award Winning Homebrewer
- Beer and Brewing Educator
- All-around Good Guy (I added that one)

That's why we're happy to pass on the word that Ron is teaching a few classes - the Beer MBA (Master of Beer Appreciation) in the upcoming weeks in the tasting room at the Payless Liquors near I-69 and 96th Street (on Indy's NE corner).

More from Ron:
As many of you that know me already know, I’m what they call a Beer Geek. Everyone needs a hobby and mine is making, sampling, judging and appreciating great beer. I have been leading a technical brewing and beer styles education course once per year for the last several years for people wanting to take the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) exam to become ranked beer judges, but many non-brewers have asked me about doing some type of fun, less technical beer education class for people like them. So… That’s what I did. I developed a Master of Beer Appreciation (MBA) course that consists of 3 classes. You can learn more about the details of this course and learn how to sign up at www.BeerMBA.com.

This is truly a unique series of classes. They are designed to be fun and entertaining, but also very educational. You can take a single class (class 1 is a pre-requisite for the other 2), but I think you will find it most rewarding to take all three (plus, you receive a completed MBA certificate if you take all 3 classes and who doesn’t want that to hang on their wall J). You will learn about the origins, history, and uniqueness of all the major beer styles of the world (more than 75 of them), and get to sample most of them as well (we will sample over 50 of them). Classes are 3-hours long to spread out the samples and cover all the material (it may seem long, but time flies when you are having fun… and you will be having fun). In addition, I will present several off-flavor / flavor demos to help you identify some of the most common problems and flavors found in beer. I have discovered that people can appreciate more of the world’s beer styles than they ever imagined simply by learning about them and tasting them in the right environment.

Wine drinkers will also find these classes fascinating as they come to learn more about “vintage” beers, strong Belgian beers, wild-fermented beers, and more. Many of these unique fermented beverages rival wine in their overall flavor and complexity (and even cost).

These classes are more for the general public with an interest in the world’s great beers, but even knowledgeable brewers and beer connoisseurs will find them worthwhile. So, regardless of your knowledge level, please feel free to join us.

Classes are held in the tasting room at the Payless Liquors near I-69 and 96th Street on the NE corner of Indianapolis and they cost only $40 per class if you pay for all 3 classes at one time (or at least commit to all 3 classes – you can put your credit card on file, then pay for each class as it is attended – this helps spread out the cost for some people). This is a great value, as this is more of a labor of love for me, rather than a true money-making endeavor. The class size is limited, and there will be hundreds of dollars worth of beer sampled (plus some possible food samples paired with certain beers) and I cover the cost of cups, bread, handouts, etc. The course is designed for people to feel like they not only got a great education and had a lot of fun, but also received a great value. Also, even though I will spread out the beer samples to avoid overindulgence, designated drivers are always encouraged. Since the education is what is being paid for, designated drivers may not participate in the class in any way, but there is an area where they can comfortably sit and wait (or arrange to be dropped off and picked up).

The class dates and planned styles for each class are listed below.

Class Dates:
--- Thursday, Sept 11, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
--- Thursday, Sept 18, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
--- Thursday, Sept 25, 6:30 – 9:30 pm

--- OR ---

--- Saturday, Oct 11, 3:30 – 6:30 pm
--- Saturday, Oct 18, 3:30 – 6:30 pm
--- Saturday, Oct 25, 3:30 – 6:30 pm

Class 1 Beer Styles (Q17)
- Czech Pilsner
- American Pale Ale
- American India Pale Ale (IPA)
- American Wheat
- German Hefeweizen / Weiss
- Belgian / French Saison Ale
- Belgian Tripel Strong Ale
- Flanders Red Belgian Sour Ale
- English Ale / Extra Special Bitter (ESB)
- Scottish Export 80 Ale
- English Northern Brown Ale
- Munich Dunkel Lager
- American Robust Porter
- Irish Dry Stout
- German Doppelbock
- English Strong Barleywine
- Smoke-Flavored Beer

Class 2 Beer Styles (Q18)

- English Ale / Ordinary Bitter
- German Sour / Berliner Weisse
- German Dunkelweizen
- German Oktoberfest
- American Steam Beer
- American Amber / Red Ale
- European Dortmunder Export
- English India Pale Ale (IPA)
- German Schwarzbier
- London Brown Porter
- Sweet / Milk / Cream Stout
- Foreign Extra Strong Stout
- European Helles / Pale Bock
- Belgian Blond Strong Ale
- Belgian Dark Strong Ale
- Scottish Strong / Wee Heavy
- American Strong Barleywine
- German Smoked Rauchbier

Class 3 Beer Styles (Q17)

- Munich Helles Lager
- Belgian White / Witbier
- European / Vienna Amber
- German Kolsch
- English Ale / Best Bitter
- German Dusseldorf Altbier
- American Brown Ale
- American Strong Stout
- American Imperial IPA
- Belgian Farmhouse Sour Ale / Gueuze
- Belgian Sour / Fruit Lambic
- Belgian Dubbel Strong Ale
- German Weizenbock
- Russian / Baltic Strong Porter
- English Old Ale / Strong Ale
- German Eisbock (ice bier)
- Wood / Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Phew! That's a lot to cover!

For those of you interested, the sign-up page is here.


  1. i highly suggest this. i took ron's BJCP class, and while it was more intensive i'm sure this class will be perfect for those who want to learn a ton about beer, while not being too concerned with cohumulone levels and the ins and outs of diastatic power.

    plus-great beer. can't go wrong with that.

  2. I will also recommend the class. I am a "wine" person and really didn't appreciate beer before I took the class with my husband. I learned a lot about beer and beer styles and about my own taste preferences.