Virtual Beer School: Level 2

Virtual Beer School: Level 2

A 12-week interactive online prep course for the written portion of the Certified Cicerone® exam. The next course begins on February 1st, 2023.


Virtual Beer School gives everyone the opportunity to learn more about beer and show what they know

through interactive online courses taught by
Beer Sommelier & Advanced Cicerone® Natalya Watson.


Ready to take your beer knowledge to the next level?

This is the course for you!

Virtual Beer School: Level 2 helps prepare attendees for the online written portion of the Cicerone Certification Program’s Certified Cicerone® exam.

The exam – and therefore the course – covers the following five knowledge areas: keeping and serving beer, beer styles, beer flavour and evaluation, beer ingredients and brewing processes, and pairing beer with food.

Find out more about the Certified Cicerone® qualification in the FAQs below.

(Please note: The cost of the exam is not included in the cost of the course. Virtual Beer School is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone Certification Program.)

The next course begins on February 1st, 2023.

To reserve your place, scroll down to the sign up links below. Sign ups will remain open until February 6th.

Course overview

What:

Join Beer Sommelier & Advanced Cicerone® Natalya Watson for Virtual Beer School: Level 2 – a 12-week interactive online prep course that covers all subject areas on the Certified Cicerone® exam syllabus.

The course is comprised of 12 video lessons, plus 12 weekly online live discussion sessions.

The video lessons (each 75-90 minutes in length) are released weekly on Wednesdays, giving attendees a full week to watch on their own time prior to the live discussion session the following Tuesday.

Additional pre-reading and weekly assignments (with fill in the blank, short answer, and essay questions) are also provided to help with exam prep.

During the live discussion session, you’ll meet online with Natalya and your fellow classmates to review the weekly assignment, test your understanding, and get your questions answered.

After 12 weeks, plus additional time for independent study, attendees will be prepared to take the online written portion Certified Cicerone® exam, if interested.

(Attendees are welcome to sign up for VBS: Level 2 to build up their beer knowledge without an interest in taking the Certified Cicerone® exam.)

When:

The next course begins on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023.

Video lessons will be released each Wednesday (starting on February 1st), with the weekly online live discussion sessions held the following Tuesday from 8 – 8:45pm GMT (UK time).

Dates for the live discussion sessions include: Tuesday, February 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th; March 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th; April 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th. A course review session will be held on Tuesday, May 2nd.

Where:

The video lessons will be released weekly via the Course Hub here on virtualbeerschool.com (you’ll be emailed when they go live). The live discussion sessions are held online via Zoom.

How:

The course costs £180 in total. (That’s £15 each week.) Scroll down to sign up.

Course reviews

“The course gives a very good overview of what’s needed to pass the Certified Cicerone exam. It also gives you a push to study in a more constructive way. One other benefit is that you get in contact with other people in the same spot trying to study lots of material and just discuss the topics with others is a very good way to learn.  I’m very happy with the course and would highly recommend it to anyone going for the CC or just wanting to learn more about beer!” – VBS: Level 2 attendee, September 2021

“There is a lot to learn, but the format of discussion and slides is really good. Sometimes it’s hard to know from the reading what the key topics are but as the weeks went on that got easier to work out and also your lesson made it really clear. I’ve really enjoyed studying and if/when I decide to take the exam I know it will be invaluable. I’ve actually missed not having any reading/homework this week!” – VBS: Level 2 attendee, March 2022

“I think the course itself and how it was delivered was excellent! Also being able to have [access to the course materials] for the next couple of months is awesome and the best part is you’re only an email away. The course met my expectations and I’m feeling very confident about the exam. I knew what I was signing up for and you delivered.” – VBS: Level 2 attendee, September 2022

Sign up

If you’re interested in purchasing the course as a gift or for a member of your team, simply contact Natalya with the attendee’s details after your purchase.

Virtual Beer School: Level 2 [Full course]

Pay for the full course upfront.

£180.00

Please note: Payment via PayPal is not required. To pay via credit card, click on the relevant logo above.


Bundle: Full course + Natalya’s Book

The full VBS: Level 2 course plus a signed copy of Natalya’s book, ‘Beer: Taste the Evolution in 50 Styles’ [Free UK shipping. International shipping to be billed separately after purchase. To inquire about shipping rates, contact Natalya on natalya@beerwithnat.com.]

£195.00

Please note: Payment via PayPal is not required. To pay via credit card, click on the relevant logo above.

Want an idea of Nat’s teaching style?

Check out her YouTube channel and her beer education website, Discovering.Beer.

FAQs

What’s a Certified Cicerone®?

According to the Cicerone® Certification Program – the certification body for beer professionals – “Certified Cicerone is the second level of certification. Those who achieve this certification have a solid and well-rounded knowledge of beer and beer service as well as basic competence in assessing beer quality and identity by taste.

You will take the written exam securely online and the tasting and demonstration portions in person at one of various locations worldwide.”

Virtual Beer School: Level 2 helps prepare attendees for the online written portion of the exam only.

(Please note: The cost of the exam is not included in the cost of the course. Virtual Beer School is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone Certification Program.)

What does the Certified Cicerone® exam – and therefore the course – cover?

The exam covers the following five knowledge areas:

  • Keeping and Serving Beer
  • Beer Styles
  • Beer Flavour and Evaluation
  • Beer Ingredients and Brewing Processes
  • Pairing Beer with Food

Each of these knowledge areas accounts for a certain portion of the overall grade as shown on the Cicerone Certification Program’s website here.

Virtual Beer School uses the International English syllabus from the Cicerone Certification Program for reference. All areas are addressed, however, they are not discussed in the order of the syllabus.

Find a weekly breakdown of the topics covered in Virtual Beer School: Level 2 here.

While the video lessons cover all course content, attendees who carve out the time for the additional pre-reading and weekly assignments will be much better prepared for the exam. Find more information on these optional (but encouraged!) extras in a separate FAQ below.

Who is this course for?

This course is geared towards people who are preparing for their Certified Cicerone® exam.

It is open to anyone who has either completed Virtual Beer School: Level 1 with Natalya or who has gained their Certified Beer Server qualification. (If you are new to Virtual Beer School, please send proof of your CBS certification to Natalya upon signing up.)

Attendees are welcome to sign up for VBS: Level 2 to build up their beer knowledge without an interest in taking the Certified Cicerone® exam.

Why should I take this course?

While all certifications from the Cicerone Certification Program can be achieved through self-study, Virtual Beer School helps to structure your learning and helps to make the learning process much more fun.

Not only do you become a part of a vibrant community of fellow beer lovers from around the world all working towards the same goal (many of whom you can form a study group with), the course helps you break the syllabus down into manageable chunks, carve out time each week for your studies, and should you need clarification on any of the content, you can immediately ask Natalya for help during the weekly live discussion sessions.

As a note, Natalya does not consider VBS: Level 2 to be an exam strategy course, but an exam prep course. We cover all of the material on the exam syllabus, without prioritising certain topics based on the percentage of the exam that they make up. VBS: Level 2 is not just about learning what you need to know to pass the exam, but understanding what you’d be expected to know as a qualified Certified Cicerone®.

How does VBS: Level 2 differ from VBS: Level 1?

Virtual Beer School: Level 1 prepares attendees for the Certified Beer Sever exam (a 60 question online multiple choice exam), while VBS: Level 2 prepares attendees for the online written portion of the Certified Cicerone® exam: a 3-hour exam comprised of approximately 150 short answer/fill in the blank questions and 3 essay questions.

As the Certified Cicerone® exam is a definite step up from Certified Beer Server exam, VBS: Level 2 is also a step up from VBS: Level 1. Past students described VBS: Level 2 as “more intense”, “more technical”, and “very fast-paced” as we dive right in, picking up from where we left off at the end of VBS: Level 1.

It is important to note that content covered in VBS: Level 1 (from the Certified Beer Server syllabus) will not be covered again during VBS: Level 2. We will only be discussing the new material on the Certified Cicerone® syllabus. At this level, we’ll go into much more detail on the brewing process and draught dispense systems and introduce new off-flavours, plenty more beer styles, and the principles of beer and food pairing.

Who will teach the course?

Virtual Beer School is taught by Natalya Watson, an award-winning beer educator, Beer Sommelier and Advanced Cicerone®.

During lockdown in 2020, Natalya began hosting free weekly online educational sessions on a variety of beer-themed topics, crowd-sourced from attendees.

The idea for Virtual Beer School developed from there as a more formal, paid-for offering to help prepare interested attendees for the Certified Beer Sever – and later online written Certified Cicerone® – exam so they could have an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of beer. Now, more than 300 students have completed Natalya’s courses.

Find out more about Natalya and what inspired her to set up Virtual Beer School here.

How many people can attend the course?

Course attendance will be capped at 60 people, in order to better facilitate discussion.

Tell me more about the pre-reading and weekly assignments.

As the Certified Cicerone® exam is a significant step up from the Certified Beer Server exam, attendees interested in preparing for the exam are recommended to carve out the time for these optional (but encouraged!) extras to get in some practice for the exam throughout the course.

While some pre-reading materials will be accessible for free online (primarily the BJCP 2021 Style Guidelines and the Draught Beer Quality Manual), most of the pre-reading will be assigned from these key books which attendees are highly recommended to purchase:

  • Tasting Beer (2nd ed.) by Randy Mosher
  • How to Brew (4th ed.) by John Palmer
  • The Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver

As a note, a handout with all recommended pre-reading pages will be made available from the beginning of the course, while each assignment (including fill in the blank, short answer, and essay questions) will be released weekly.

If you’d like some help being held accountable, you’re welcome to submit your weekly assignment to Natalya in advance of the live discussion session. The answer key will then be shared during the discussion for attendees to correct their own assignments and clear up any points of clarification with Natalya.

What’s the best way to approach the course to get the most out of it?

Natalya’s recommended approach to the course is as follows:

  • Start each week with the pre-reading and attempt the weekly assignment
  • Watch the video lesson and edit your answers on the assignment as needed (submitting it to Natalya, if interested)
  • Then join live for the weekly discussion session to see how you did on the assignment and get any questions answered

Everyone has different schedules and some weeks it may not be possible for you to set aside any more time than to watch the video lesson and join the live discussion session and that’s ok. But remember, the more time and effort you can put into your exam preparation, the more you’ll get out of it.

What happens if I can’t join live for the weekly discussion?

The audio from each weekly discussion session will be recorded and shared with you, along with any slides shown and the answer key for the weekly assignment. You can also contact Natalya directly with your questions.

How do I access the course materials?

Once you sign up for the course, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Natalya.

She’ll then get back in touch on February 1st, 2023 to give you access to the Course Hub on virtualbeerschool.com (where you can watch the first lesson) and to send you the Zoom link for the first weekly live discussion session on Tuesday, February 7th at 8pm GMT.

If you have any questions about the course in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact Natalya directly.

How long will I have access to the course materials for?

All attendees will have access to the Course Hub for 6 months from the start of their course. (For example, attendees on the February 2023 course will have access to the course materials through the end of July 2023.)

Why are the lessons no longer taught live?

Virtual Beer School was initially launched during lockdown in 2020, when we all had a bit more time on our hands and, well, nowhere to go! Now that we’re no longer in lockdown, Natalya decided to move to pre-recorded video lessons in order to give everyone (1) a bit more flexibility in their schedules to get through the course content and (2) a bit more time to process the lesson before taking questions on it. All content covered is the same.

Do we do any tastings during the course?

As VBS: Level 2 is designed to prepare attendees for the online written portion of the exam only, tasting beers during our style-focused sessions is not necessary in that sense.

But, as the in-person tasting and demonstration portion of the exam must be taken to complete the Certified Cicerone® qualification, we can use our style-focused sessions (Weeks 4, 6, 9, and 12) as an opportunity to get in some practice, as there is a style discrimination section on the tasting exam. (Check out the sample tasting exam here for an idea of the questions.)

Once you sign up for the course, you’ll receive a list of the recommended beer styles to taste, along with some suggested commercial examples of each, so you can join Natalya as she leads you through a style comparison during the lesson. If the tasting element adds too much pressure to your preparation though, it’s not a must.

How do I prepare for the Certified Cicerone® tasting and demonstration exam?

VBS: Level 2 specifically prepares attendees for the online written portion of the Certified Cicerone® exam. However, Natalya does occasionally offer off-flavour training sessions across the UK to assist with preparation for the tasting exam and will provide all attendees with more information as these sessions are scheduled.

Still have a question?

Contact Natalya directly on natalya@beerwithnat.com and she’ll be happy to help.

Virtual Beer School gives everyone the opportunity to learn more about beer and show what they know.

Online beer education brought to you by Natalya Watson, award-winning beer educator, Beer Sommelier & Advanced Cicerone®.

Virtual Beer School is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone Certification Program.