I sit down and talk about kveik yeast and the beer industry with Dr. Lance Shaner, Esq., the founder of Omega Yeast Lab in Chicago. Lance flew in to San Francisco for Old Devil Moon's Kveiking Raid 2: The Kveikening event, where we were pouring 18 kveik fermented ales and ciders, many of which were fermented with his Omega Hothead, Voss, and Hornindal yeast.
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I’ve been interested in rustic farmhouse ales since the day I started homebrewing back in 2008 because farmhouse brewers and felt close to, and connected with, what I was doing in my backyard when I brewed. So when I heard there was a whole farmhouse brewing scene in Norway that included the use of traditional landrace yeast blends and home malting I was very excited and read everything I could find about it, which wasn’t much. I went to Norway in 2008 to meet farmhouse brewers and learn more. What I discovered blew my mind, especially when it came to their special types of yeast.
You know how every small brewery that gets a little hype seems to run out of brewing and fermenting capacity in no time and its beer becomes more and more scarce? Then, a few years down the line the brewery owners raise money and invest hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars building a new facility to double or triple their capacity. Well, imagine if they could instantly double their capacity just by switching the yeast strain they use for their most popular releases. That would revolutionize craft brewing and enable brewery growth unthinkable using the currently popular brewer’s strains such as Vermont and Chico.
That is the promise of…KVEIK…so let’s explore this yeast stating with how to pronounce it!
HOW DO YOU SAY IT?
I was in Norway for the Norsk Konølfestival in 2018, it’s a small festival in Hornindal Norway centered around traditional Norwegian farmhouse ales. While I was there I heard what sounded to my ears like three different ways of saying this word.
The first was K-VIYK, with a subtle vee sound. My understanding is that this is the most correct way to say the word. That said, some Norwegians I spoke with didn’t seem to say the vee sound as much and their pronunciations sounded more like KWIYK, with a “W.” Another way was QUAKE, like “earthquake.” The differences are fairly subtle. Saying KVIYK can be a little difficult for English speakers, but if you say KWIYK or QUAKE to a Norwegian beer nerd they'll understand what you’re getting at. So, KWIYK or QUAKE or KVEIK.
Bonus fun fact number one — the term “kveik” comes from Old Norse and is related to the Old English word “quick,” which meant alive or lively…as in, if you put this stuff in a sweet liquid the whole thing comes alive…and ultimately become beer…or makes bread rise.
Bonus fun fact number two — Kveik is not actually the word that all Norwegians use to refer to their traditional farmhouse yeast blends, even though it has recently come into that use for the rest of us in order to keep things simple. In Norway, people in different regions call their yeast a variety of names including yest, yester, gong, and barm, among other things. But because that’s pretty confusing, it’s been generally accepted that Kveik is an appropriate term.
The Cicerone Certification Program (CCP) recently released recommended "Key Resources" you need to study to pass the exam for the Certified Cicerone (CC) exam, as well as every other level of the program (Certified Beer Server (CBS), Advanced Cicerone (AC), and Master Cicerone (MC))
Before we look at the recommended resources for the CC exam, it's worth noting that my Beer Scholar Study Guides for the Cicerone Exams follow the CCP's syllabi and summarize all the info you need to know to pass the exams. They've helped hundreds of people pass the CBS and CC exams, so seriously consider picking one up in addition to any other reading you do to save yourself loads of time and effort.
Now let's look at what study resources the CCP recommends for the second level of the program, Certified Cicerone. The CC exam is a seriously difficult in-person exam with written and tasting portions. Its passage rate is less than 40%, about 1 in 3. That's worse than the NY or CA State Bar Exams. Certified Cicerones are true beer experts. So, which the CCP says, "while it is not mandatory to review all of these resources in preparation for our exams, we hope candidates can utilize this list in conjunction with the syllabi to focus their studies," I would recommend that you read and study all of these resources. Besides, merely passing the test isn't the whole point, you also want to become a beer expert!Read More
The Cicerone Certification Program recently released recommended "Key Resources" you need to study to pass the exam for every level of the program - Certified Beer Server, Certified Cicerone, Advanced Cicerone, and Master Cicerone.
First, I've created my excellent Beer Scholar Study Guides for the Cicerone Exams that have helped hundreds of people pass the CBS and CC exams. Seriously consider picking up my Guide in addition to any other reading you do. It'll save you time and effort. My Guides follow the CCP's syllabi and summarize all the info you need to know to pass the exams, plus offer detailed breakdowns of the test sections and tips and tricks for beating them.
Now, let's look at what study resources the CCP recommends for the first level of the program, the Certified Beer Server (CBS). The CBS exam is an online exam that tests a basic level of beer knowledge and as such test takers are not required to learn a ton of material. In general, the CCP says: "while it is not mandatory to review all of these resources in preparation for our exams, we hope candidates can utilize this list in conjunction with the syllabi to focus their studies." I would recommend that you read and study all of these resources, as merely passing the test isn't the only point, you also want to become a beer expert, too!
CCP Recommended Key Resources:
Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink by Randy Mosher
Grab the CBS syllabus so you know what to pay attention to in these resources.
Additional resources I recommend:
Again, my own Beer Scholar Study Guide for the Certified Beer Server Exam contains everything you need to know to crush the test.
The Cicerone Certification Program's Beer Style Flashcards are great for learning all the beer styles you need to know. Note that these are only good for the CBS exam, not the CC exam. Also, FYI there are free sets of flashcards for the Cicerone exams online, but every one I've ever looked at are full of errors and info you don't actually need to know, so stick with sets from folks like me or the CCP, just sayin'!
I've heard this question asked and debated among my beer geek friends and online. It's something I've thought about plenty, considering that I'm working on opening Old Devil Moon, which will be one of San Francisco's top beer bars if I have my way (and there are some really great ones here already!). Below are some of my thoughts on what makes a bar a great beer bar.Read More
How do I get better at smelling, tasting, and describing beer? I hear this question over and over. Often, it isn't even a question, it's a statement like: "I'm not good at tasting and describing beer (or wine), so I can't do the BJCP or Cicerone tests." Never say that again and correct anyone else who does, it's just not true! Read on to see why.Read More
The Certified Cicerone® exam has a "demonstration component" where you have to show off a beer skill in front of a camera. As long as you've studied your Beer Scholar Study Guide for the Certified Cicerone® Exam and read this advice on how to beat the demonstration section you'll be in good shape even if you're asked to demonstrate something you've never done before.Read More
Beer Scholar started as a Kickstarter. It completed at 506% of the funding goal, thanks to everyone who supported us!
In 2014 Beer Scholar raised money via Kickstarter for our Study Guides for the Cicerone Exams. Chris, the guy behind The Beer Scholar, would like to thank backers and friends for their support in spreading the word about this project to beer geeks all over the world! The Kickstarter allowed us to produce truly professional study guides, flash cards, and practice tests. We crushed it with this Kickstarter thanks to 303 fabulous beer community backers!
If you missed the Kickstarter but want to purchase the Beer Scholar Study Guide for the Certified Cicerone Exam, you can find more information about it and purchase it right here.