My parent's always wanted me to get my MBA. I doubt they were thinking about Ron Smith's Masters in Beer Appreciation, but that's exactly what the Little Lady and I did. We just finished up getting certified to appreciate beer... Although this certification really has no formal value, I am excited we got it.
The courses are offered a few times a year and consist of three classes that go from 2 till 6 on a Saturday. Basically the class puts every beer style imaginable in front of you. You get to taste, smell and evaluate with ten or fifteen other people. If you aren't interested in learning anything, drinking the beers is well worth the price of admission. But if you are interested in learning something, Ron, the instructor, goes through the history and a little bit of why the brew came about in that specific region. He tells you about local customs and some unique features of each brew. There aren't a lot of opportunities to try this many unique brews from around the world. On top of this, Ron has traveled throughout Germany and Belgium and his stories are a riot.
The Little Lady and I are starting to prepare for his study class so we can also get set to be BJCP judges. The more I learn about craftbeer and the history of beers around the world, the more I realize I don't know.
Lucky for us there are great teachers like Ron to help us figure it all out.