Meet a Cicerone® – AC Scott Fielder of Beer Scholar & The Bruery

advanced cicerone certified cicerone podcast Apr 03, 2024

Advanced Cicerone® Scott Fielder whips Certified Cicerones into shape to crush the Advanced exam as the teacher of the Beer Scholar Advanced Cicerone® Coaching Program. As of this interview, the AC Coaching Program is producing its first crop of new ACs from our initial cohort! Scott is also a Packaging Operator at The Bruery in Placentia, CA. On top of all that, he's a Certified BJCP beer judge, has completed the Aroxa Sensory Training Program taught by Dr. Bill Simpson, and with AC Chris Crowe he is one of the two "Beer Enthusiasts" who you should check out on their fantastic YouTube channel here: @thebeerenthusiasts   

Scott is also currently preparing to take the insanely difficult Master Cicerone® exam in late 2024, an exam that, as I type this in April of 2024, only 28 people have passed in the ~15 years it has been offered…I’d put money on it being at least 29 by the end of the year! Scott has dedicated himself to beer education for many years. His passion for it is palpable, he not only wants to learn everything he can about beer, he also wants to welcome others into the space as an educator. Either Jen Blair or Rachael Hudson said, on their excellent False Bottomed Girls podcast, who said that preparing for the Master Cicerone exam is not simply a goal, it’s a lifestyle. Scott is certainly living the beer education lifestyle!

I would have been very much remiss if I did not interview Scott as one of my first Meet a Cicerone® guests. He embodies a welcoming anti-gatekeeping passion for beer education like few others I’ve encountered in my decade of teaching beer. Besides that, he’s my friend and business partner. I've known Scott for about four years. We initially met because after my Beer Scholar prep material helped him pass the CC, he reached out to me during the Covid 19 lockdown seeking help with his AC prep. At the time, I was busy trying to save my beer bar in San Francisco (pivot pivot pivot ugh), but I did drop in on some of his study group sessions. That was fortuitous, because I’m now friends with that whole gang. Not long after he crushed the AC we began trying to figure out how to do a Beer Scholar program for the AC exam and eventually came up with the AC Coaching Program after a few fits and starts. I've witnessed Scott's intense personal focus on leveling up to the Master level – he brings that same high level of dedication, focus, and care to preparing our Beer Scholar students for the AC exam. Frankly, I don’t think Scott does anything without that intense focus, he’s all in on the things he cares about.

If you’re one of those people who haven’t done the Cicerone exams because you’re not sure if it’ll actually help you land a job, check out this interview. Obviously, Scott is working with me on Beer Scholar stuff, but he also just recently scored his first industry job with a major league company – The Bruery. His path is a great example of how being a Cicerone® can open doors for you. Yes, you’ll still have to show up and pay your dues with an entry level gig, but when you mix experience with being a Cicerone®, your career path can look very bright!

The “Meet a Cicerone” podcast is all about sitting down with folks who are “all in on beer.” I don’t know many people who fit the bill more than AC Scott Fielder. P.S. If you’re interested in joining the Beer Scholar Advanced Cicerone® Coaching Program and becoming an Advanced Cicerone in the easiest and most efficient way possible, please reach out to me at [email protected] or Scott at [email protected] right away so we can start getting you ready to join the next cohort!

Thanks so much for listening! –Chris

Get a free Study Guide for the Certified Cicerone® Exam here.

Episode Transcript

AC Chris Cohen (00:00)
Meet a Cicerone. This is the third, third episode. And the whole idea is sitting down with Cicerones. We're talking about what they do, how they use what they've learned, how it's helping them in their career.

I think there's a lot of people out there who don't really understand why they might want to do this, you know, pursue these certifications. And so I figured, why not just sit down with people and talk about it? And especially I think that's true of the higher levels. And you are an Advanced Cicerone, so that'll be and you're working toward Master. So this should be an interesting conversation that's like fairly different than the previous two that I've done.

AC Scott Fielder (00:38)
All right.

AC Chris Cohen (00:44)
I also have to say I'm a little nervous about this one because I actually know you and you're my friend and business partner So it's funny. Yeah, I just the other ones felt very easy and this one feels a little more intense or something. I don't know why. But anyway, yeah. So

AC Scott Fielder (01:01)
Yeah, I don't know.

AC Chris Cohen (01:03)
Thank you for joining me. For people who don't know you by just seeing your face, which I think a lot of people will because you're pretty active on the Inner Tubes. This is Advanced Cicerone Scott Fielder, also a Certified BJCP judge, also the teacher of the Beer Scholar Advanced Cicerone Coaching Program and a packaging operator at The Bruery

in Placentia, California. It's fitting, I think, that you are working at The Bruery you know, Master Cicerone Patrick Rue's project and probably a place that you, you know, really love the beer from. I mean, I feel like they're just, everybody loves The Bruery

AC Scott Fielder (01:50)
Yeah, it's one of those, well, first off, for anybody who hasn't put it together yet, it's The Bruery BRUERY. That feels like we're like contractually obligated to spell it out every time we talk about it. But to your point, when I was looking for beer jobs, I wasn't kind of in a place where I was desperate to find a job when I started looking. And so there were some places that they had job openings, but if I didn't...

care for their beer if it wasn't something I could stand behind. I just wouldn't, you know, I applied to, I've only, I've applied to fewer places just many times trying to get jobs at those singular places because I just, I just don't know what I, I'm not sure what I do. If I didn't like the, if I didn't like the beer, I don't know if I'd be able to help, help not just trying to change it at the expense of potentially, you know, people liking me or keeping said jobs.

AC Chris Cohen (02:25)

Yeah, oh my gosh, totally. I've thought about that before, too. Like if I were to, you know, go into the industry and get a job like selling beer or something. How do you sell? How do you sell something you don't think is great? I think that would be so challenging. Yeah, and actually, so, you know, like I mentioned, sitting down with Cicerones to talk about their journey on the career front, you actually have like a pretty interesting and unique kind of path.

AC Scott Fielder (02:53)

AC Chris Cohen (03:08)
because you really, you did the certifications before getting your first job in the industry. So, and I think there are a lot of people out there who are wondering like, how will this help me? You know, why should I do it? Like what's the sort of return on investment, you know? And so I would definitely be interested to hear your take on that.

AC Scott Fielder (03:20)
Mm-hmm. Right. Yeah.

Yeah, so a little background on how this all kind of came to be. When I got out of grad school, one of the things that they told our graduating class was that the job market for what we were going to be doing was basically at some point would probably require us to have a second job or some sort of side hustle. So when I, you know, and obviously this is a week before we were graduating, so the timing was obviously, you know, quite on purpose.

AC Chris Cohen (03:49)


AC Scott Fielder (03:57)
on their part because they obviously if they told us the first week then they might have some people who just would you know change their major or go do something else, but I was always wondering what that was going to be and in probably like later Like late like 2018 maybe early 2019. I'd have to look back when the documentaries were, you know Were available, but I like a few others that i've met we stumbled upon the som documentaries

AC Chris Cohen (04:04)

AC Scott Fielder (04:24)
about people studying for the Master Cicerone exam, and anyone who knows me, I will watch anything if it's just somebody at like the height of their field. Like if it's checkers, if it's chocolate making, whatever it is, I will watch it. And so this was, I watched those documentaries over and over and over. I was so enamored by these people. Right, yeah, the, yeah, the, yeah, Somm short for sommelier, yeah, taking the Master Sommelier exam. And...

AC Chris Cohen (04:24)


I'm going to go to bed.

Yeah. And you're talking about some the wine ones, right? Right. Okay. Yeah. Right. Yeah.

AC Scott Fielder (04:50)
I thought I, and I had just gotten into beer at this point. I had maybe been into beer for about a year, but hadn't really kind of taken the next, you know, kind of any sort of extra steps. I was just enjoying it at that point. I didn't know a whole lot about beer. And, and they, or sorry, the documentary, I thought, man, I really don't like wine. And they were talking about what, like a cheap blind.

flight costs and they were like bragging about doing them for $120. And I was like, well, this is just, I can't even, I can't afford to do that on a weekly basis. So that's out the door. But then immediately I saw it and I went to my computer and I typed in Beer Sommelier and obviously the Beer Sommelier program that's in Europe came up, but then the other one was Cicerone. And I went in and like many people who stumble upon Cicerone, we...

AC Chris Cohen (05:16)

AC Scott Fielder (05:43)
We see Cicerone, we do a little bit more research, we find BJCP and then usually folks kind of choose one path and then maybe end up dipping into the other in some fashion oftentimes, but I was like, well, I've already found everything that it seems like I need on the Cicerone website and BJCP is, you know, it's volunteer run, so it's not the most organized thing in the world and I wasn't willing to kind of navigate that. I wanted to get started, so I...

said I'm gonna do Cicerone. I did the Certified Beer Server exam I used the kind of study guide that, the Beer Savvy thing that they offer, because I didn't even know there were Beer Scholar study guides at that point. And then when the Certified exam came around I was like okay now I really don't have any clue what do do, there's a Tasting Exam and like there's nothing that Cicerone has. I kinda had looked on YouTube and couldn't really find anything and then like not really finally you know stumbled upon Beer Scholar

AC Chris Cohen (06:20)



AC Scott Fielder (06:38)
and probably had somewhere in the realm of like five to six months when, that was just when the next closest exam was gonna be. I remember thinking the month leading up to it that I was like kind of ready to do it. Like I felt like I was ready. I didn't wanna study anymore. I was ready to tackle it, but I waited it out. I was patient, took the exam, passed it all on my first try. The Beer Scholar stuff was...

AC Chris Cohen (06:55)

AC Scott Fielder (07:02)
Totally on point, like all the practice exams and everything. Everything I did was well, well reflected. You know, how well I was doing with your material and then how well I did on the exam. Very, yeah, very, very well reflected. So that was extremely encouraging. And then that would have been, I think I took that exam in early or mid December of 2019.

AC Chris Cohen (07:04)

Well, thank you. Ha ha ha.

AC Scott Fielder (07:29)
found out in mid-January, and then obviously I'm trying to figure out if I'm going to study for the Advanced exam, and I'm pretty busy with work, and then there's, and then the pandemic hits. And so obviously, yeah, and so obviously my like hour and a half to two hours of commuting every day in traffic in Southern California turns into opportunities to study every day because I'm working from home now, and just doing, and just able to do a lot less, you know, for...

AC Chris Cohen (07:29)


and then COVID.

AC Scott Fielder (07:57)
because it's all so much easier, you know, it's just easier to work from home sometimes. And you realize how much easier it could have been. And so then I did that, but then realized how much even more wildly unprepared I was to study for the Advanced exam, you know, reached out to you and just out of a whim and was like, do you think there's gonna be, you know, anything coming out soon? And you're like, it's always been in the pipeline. It's always been, you know, but you're always trying to, you know, refine what you already have and making sure that that's.

AC Chris Cohen (08:01)




AC Scott Fielder (08:24)
you know, up to scale and you're like, you know, I think you were, you know, pretty gracious in what you were.

AC Chris Cohen (08:26)
Right? When I wasn't even full time, I wasn't even full time Beer Scholar at that time, right? Yeah.

AC Scott Fielder (08:32)
Yeah, that's right. Yeah, so I think you said if I wanted to start it, it could take me like a year. It would take you like a year or two or so. And so I said, okay, that's too long. Then I reached out to people in people in social media all the Cicerone facebook groups and just said I want to meet once a week. I want to study for the Advanced exam on zoom and had some people who actually had a lot of people who were interested but eventually after maybe two to three meetings that all whittled down to

AC Chris Cohen (08:40)



AC Scott Fielder (09:01)
a group of about four to five of us. And then we studied a bunch and we, yeah, and then things got real. Some people it got a little too real for them. So yeah, we studied together for, gosh, a solid. Well, then they switched the exams to being, the online exam being the written exam. They split them up. So I think we basically took the second or third one that they offered. Because I think if you were,

AC Chris Cohen (09:03)
Yeah, when things got real.


AC Scott Fielder (09:28)
able to, or if you were signed up for the most recent exam that they had to cancel, then you could be like the beta, in the beta test group if you wanted to for the very first online one. And so I think we ended up taking the second one. Uh, and we all, and we all passed on our first try. And then I think I was the first one to take the tasting exam. Um, my buddy Chris would have definitely taken that with me, but he was in Guam at the time and, uh, it didn't kind of work out for, for him to come back at that point. Um,

AC Chris Cohen (09:37)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.


I'm definitely gonna have I'm gonna have a AC Chris Crowe on this on this at some point as well. So

AC Scott Fielder (10:02)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. That'll be a good one. And then so I took the, I took the tasting exam and the oral exams in Denver, and then passed that on my first try as well. And then after that, it was basically when Chris [Crowe] got back and we had somebody else in our group who lived close by in Orange County, and then went Anudeep flew out from India to take the tasting exam. Basically, every step in, you know, at every point after I passed, it was like do everything to make sure

AC Chris Cohen (10:22)

AC Scott Fielder (10:32)
on the first try to proctor full exams for them, do everything they need me to do, drive out once a week and help them to study so that we could, but one thing that kind of leads to something I know we wanna talk about is one of the first things we did for the study group is we reached out to you and we said, just any advice and you came and you couldn't give us a ton, you had taken the exam so long ago, but when people say what is the best advice,

AC Chris Cohen (10:38)


AC Scott Fielder (11:01)
You just said studying in a group, you just can't let it turn into happy hour. Like you have to take it serious.

AC Chris Cohen (11:06)

Oh, Scott has run out of storage.

All right. Seems like we're, seems like we're back in action.

Scott Fielder (11:17)
it. Yeah, we'll just keep going.

AC Chris Cohen (11:18)
Yeah. All right. Yeah. So before we were so rudely interrupted by our technology. you had hit me up and kind of asked for a little help. I was like, I'm like, I'm currently trying to save my bar Old Devil Moon in San Francisco. You know, I've always, I've always wanted to do like an Advanced Cicerone course.

Scott Fielder (11:32)
Yeah, yeah, that's right.

AC Chris Cohen (11:41)
But like I was thinking about it as like, oh, I need to record like a bajillion lessons, right? Cause that's kind of, you know, my Certified level course is like a series of lessons. And I was imagining that for the AC, but like it turns out there's actually just too much to learn for that. So anyway, so I joined you a few times and just hung out, tried to give a little advice and that's how I met you.

and Chris Crowe and Anudeep and it's, you know, and, and now you're all my friends and it's awesome. So I'm very stoked that happened. And, but at the time, yeah, I didn't feel like I had the bandwidth, but it was all fortuitous and funny how it all came together a little bit later, you passed the exam and, and then, I, I saw how you led that study group and,

What something like that requires is obviously it's like a lot of structure and really good leadership with like focus. And so when we started working together to try to figure out like how we could do an Advanced Cicerone course, we eventually landed on like, well, you kind of already have done this and we know how to do this or you know how to do this. And so boom, we started the AC Coaching Program.

which you really, you came, you created the structure for and are teaching it. And it's been kind of wildly successful so far, in my opinion.

Scott Fielder (13:07)
Yeah, yeah, to kind of complete the original question of kind of how it all started and then and then kind of what are sort of the benefits of it and what has it been doing for my career. At first, when I was applying, it was just like, wow, I just felt like I needed experience. That was the thing that I just kept telling myself is like, well, like is this certification really

worth it, but then I thought, okay, now that I have this knowledge, I can either wait for somebody to use me to do something with it, or I can just do something with it. And so, you know, the during the pandemic, part of part of my studying for the Advanced exam was starting a website and offering beer, cheese and chocolate pairings over zoom. So did you know, did a few of those thought that was thought that was really great.

AC Chris Cohen (13:45)

Scott Fielder (14:05)
Um, but you know, it wasn't something that I really... Yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (14:06)
Yeah, doing events. You know, I mean, I just want to Yeah, I'm just interjecting, like, doing events, I feel like is one of the things that Cicerones are just perfect for, you know, for creating cool experiences for people. Anyway, go ahead.

Scott Fielder (14:23)
Yeah, creating experiences, educating people, whether it's people who are just part of the public around your brewery, the people who love your brewery, whether it's your staff, education is always going to be like a top, just like a thing that Cicerones are gonna be able to do just right out of the gate from level two and up. That's always going to be something that's really awesome. And then you reached out to...

And then you reached out to me and said, you know, would you be willing to, you know, work with, work with me to create a program? And we kind of were, you know, we were kind of talking about it. And again, we kind of thought, okay, maybe we can do this, you know, video, you know, record a bunch of videos. And then we just realized like, yeah, we can't, we, we can't do that. And so we should think about doing it. But again, like what I would say is if you are somebody who is thinking about doing.

the higher level Cicerone levels, if you have just like even an ounce of entrepreneurial spirit or that is, or if that is like something that you have in spades, then it is like, it will 1000% benefit you. Like for those people almost in the immediate term, the one thing is that everybody's story is gonna be different, just because one person says that it takes this long and everybody's gonna be a little bit different.

AC Chris Cohen (15:33)

Scott Fielder (15:43)
And so that was kind of my first, working with you and being a business partner in Beer Scholar was the first real industry job that I had in any sort of form, right? Cause and this is something I've been saying for years now, like education is a part of the industry to have had too many people say, like you are not a beer expert unless you brew beer or if you work in a brewery, and that's just not the case. Like there's plenty of other people who, and that because I'm like, you're even excluding people who run.

Bottle shops, distributors, like you're just all, you're totally off your rocker if you think that's the case. But then we, but then I had about six months where I was looking for work, wasn't really working out, we were moving, but we were moving to a place that had a much higher concentration of breweries. And so I really, you know, was gonna go pretty hard at trying to transition into.

AC Chris Cohen (16:18)
Right. Absolutely. Yeah.

Scott Fielder (16:39)
um, a brewery job as well. Cause, um, you know, while the AC Coaching Program, uh, is doing, you know, is wildly successful, I still need to do more stuff to kind of supplement our income because living in Southern California is not cheap, uh, to begin with. But the first thing that I did, and I think anybody who's wondering at how, you know, what, what am I supposed to do with my resume and how come, you know, people aren't, aren't looking at it, just look up how to write a skills based resume. Like skills focused.

AC Chris Cohen (16:51)


Scott Fielder (17:09)
Cause this was something I listened to and I would listen to the False Bottom Girls podcast. It's, it's about get it, how to get a job in the industry. And this is one thing that they mentioned and immediately I did that. And the first two jobs I applied to, I got a, I got like a response back. And before that I had never even gotten an email responding, like, thank you for applying, or we're going to put together a list of people to interview. We'll get in contact with you. Like literally just nothing. No, no, no email response, no phone call, no nothing.

AC Chris Cohen (17:23)
Oh wow.

Wow, okay.

Scott Fielder (17:36)
did this so that the things that were front and center, BJCP, Advanced Cicerone, Aroxa sensory training, two interviews right out of the gate. Like, can we talk to you, you know, sent it in on Wednesday, can we interview you on Monday? Interviewed at The Bruery on Monday, had an interview at Bottle Logic, talked about it with my wife, and we basically said, if The Bruery offers it to you on the spot, we're just gonna take it. Didn't think that they were gonna do that, but we thought we should have a plan, and they did.

AC Chris Cohen (17:45)


Scott Fielder (18:05)
So I ended up taking the job as a packaging, as a packaging operator. And literally the first thing the person said in the interview was like Advanced Cicerone is extremely impressive. Like at that time there was only 177, there's five more newly minted ones now, so there's 182. But that was apparently, you know, that and then a good recommendation from someone that was, you know, that was really it. They were willing to bring me on based on just that. And I'm in my, I'm in week six.

AC Chris Cohen (18:32)
That's awesome.

Scott Fielder (18:34)
things are going super duper well. But also people are understanding that like, I can do more than just do packaging stuff. Like packaging, we're not busy like every single minute. Like some days it's, we're not packaging something. And so it's a little bit slower and the brewers are realizing like, I know stuff about brewing and they're wondering like, maybe why is this happening? And I'm like, well, this is why maybe this is working and that isn't working. You know, I'm helping to troubleshoot and I'm going to, you know, daily sensory whenever I can. And...

AC Chris Cohen (18:51)

Scott Fielder (19:01)
People can tell that I have sensory training and, you know, so they, people, what will happen is, you know, maybe be a little bit, be willing to be a little patient, you know, packaging operator would not have been, you know, obviously would not have been just like the dream job or whatever, but you're, but you're still going to learn a ton, like there's still a ton that I'm learning just about how, if you can just understand how plumbing works and draft like it just helps you understand draft systems better and building out lines and doing CIP and all these kinds of things.

AC Chris Cohen (19:01)
That's awesome.

Right, right.



Scott Fielder (19:30)
There's things that you'll learn that are relevant to any future education that you're wanting to get into, or as for me, future exams that I'm taking as I'm studying for the Master Cicerone exam, but they will notice. You will talk about beer with people and they will notice that you have other skills and they're not just going to leave you alone. They're going to say, hey, can we borrow this person for a second? We need to borrow. Like...

AC Chris Cohen (19:51)

Scott Fielder (19:56)
Like one of the best feelings is when you go in and the brewer is like, you know, I know we're packaging something right now, but like, can I borrow Scott's nose for a second? Like that is an awesome, you know, and so it's like, you go and you smell and you talk through, like, what are we getting? You know, what do we want to improve on this? Is this something we want to keep doing? So how did, what did we do differently? And how can we keep getting this profile again and again? And you know, those, then you just get to start flexing all of your, because that's the other thing people say, oh, do you want to move, you know, out of.

AC Chris Cohen (20:16)
That's cool.

Scott Fielder (20:23)
Packaging what are you interested in? And it's like when you're studying for the Master exam everything is interesting You can bring me just about anything and if it's just not like sales Like I'm going to be interested like if it's brewing if it's sensory if it's you know anything in the tap room if it's draft systems Whatever it is like yes like you can you can teach me how to you can teach me how to do that or show me how the Pasteurizer works how the you know how the centrifuge works like just there's so much you can you can soak up even if it's not your you know

AC Chris Cohen (20:28)

Yeah, right.

Scott Fielder (20:51)
thing that you're doing eight hours a day, you know, especially at a place like this, I feel like The Bruery is just like the perfect size where, you know, it's big enough where we're, I think we're making a lot of cool beer and we're reaching a lot of cool people, but still small enough where I'm interacting with a lot of people every day, you know, where, you know, everybody's kind of, you know, you there's, it's small enough where I'm running into the brewers every day, running into the people from the lab every day. So there's just a lot of crossover between everything that we're doing. And so I feel like I'm getting to

AC Chris Cohen (21:08)

Scott Fielder (21:20)
you know, participate in lots of other things, even though packaging is my primary job.

AC Chris Cohen (21:26)
That is awesome. Yeah. So yeah, your story I feel like is, is a little bit unique. And, and, you know, I think quite inspiring, frankly, you just love to be here so much that you kind of pursued this stuff at first. I mean, I think partly for fun, you know, maybe you had your eye on like the industry, but I mean, I did it for fun at first, too. And, and it eventually became a job, but

Scott Fielder (21:45)
Mm-hmm, yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (21:53)
it's hard to get those first jobs sometimes, right? And you're showing up with this, like, essentially Advanced degree, you know. And so it's almost kind of awkward. I do feel like everyone in the industry kind of understands what it means to be a Certified Cicerone and what a Certified Cicerone can do. And once you go beyond that to the Advanced or Master levels,

you really need to be kind of entrepreneurial in your approach. Because frankly, management doesn't necessarily know what that means or what to do with you. And of course, as individuals, we're all following our interests in different directions. So, you know, for you, it's a little more production, a little more sensory focused. And that's, you know, it's just so interesting to me that you're, you're showing up getting your first, like major real job in the industry.

Scott Fielder (22:32)

AC Chris Cohen (22:44)
doing this kind of like pay your dues a little bit starter job. Yeah, yeah, and you're already Advanced, but they're taking notice right away. And my guess is if we have this conversation in a year, your job description will be wildly different.

Scott Fielder (22:51)
No, it feels a little bit like that for sure, yeah. No.

Yeah. The other thing too, is it, you know, speaking of the size of The Bruery, where you're going to start can change depending on where you go. Because if you go to a place that's small enough, you know, we could be small enough where everybody needs to start in packaging so that when we have a big run, we can bring in anybody if we need, you know, cause there's sometimes where, you know, if somebody calls out sick and we need somebody else to help, like all the brewers, like a lot of people started in packaging, but then they can come in and they can help us.

AC Chris Cohen (23:30)

Scott Fielder (23:35)
for the 30 minutes, you know, some runs take 30 minutes, some take three hours, but you know, if you start kind of start there, so you know, if my job changes, if it doesn't, they'll always be able to just say like, hey Scott, like somebody called out sick and we just, you know, cause for like our bottling line, we just need a certain amount of people no matter what. Like our canning line, we can be a little bit more flexible, but you just need five people, there's five stations and they just, you need one person there and that you can't have people doing multiple. And so that's just.

AC Chris Cohen (23:38)
Right, right.

Oh yeah.

Scott Fielder (24:03)
everybody there, they started there. Some of them were there for three months, some of them are still there and they've been there for six months or three years. Some people did it for a year. So people have to think about it that way too. You might start somewhere just because that's kind of how they have to funnel people within the business. They start them there and then they kind of see where your interests are and then they slowly try and transition you into a different position.

AC Chris Cohen (24:19)
Right. Yeah.

a lot of people applying for their first job in the industry aren't showing up with Advanced Cicerone on their resume. So I mean, to some extent, it might even be a little bit of like, you know, is this person going to show up on time and do their job well? you know, you're just you're just you're just kind of passing the test. But yeah, that's, that's super exciting. I'm stoked for you. I think

Scott Fielder (24:35)

Right, absolutely.

Yep. Yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (24:53)
you know, everybody does start in those places. And also, you know, later on, as you move up in the industry and get new roles and new responsibilities, nobody likes to be managed by someone who doesn't actually know how to do the job they are doing, right? People who haven't done that job, right? So you're, by starting at the bottom, I think you're, you know, at the, sorry, you know, not to, I hope that doesn't sound insulting or something. Yeah, yeah.

Scott Fielder (25:08)

I know I get what you're saying. Yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (25:20)
You know, you are really arming yourself with all these skills and, and you're going to, I think, get a lot of respect for that later on.

Scott Fielder (25:31)
Yeah, and I've definitely had jobs in the past where I've known part of the job that I've gotten into, but then there's another major part that I really didn't. And you're right, it's really hard to lead and to manage people when you're kind of learning it while they're kind of the experts. So what you're saying definitely makes a lot of sense and there's definitely a reason why you do it. And the other thing I would want to tell people too,

just if you are, if you can just stay hungry, like there's just, there's positions opening all the time. So you just have to stay vigilant.

AC Chris Cohen (26:05)

Scott Fielder (26:06)
All right.

AC Chris Cohen (26:06)
Technology is bringing us together and also causing us all kinds of heartache. The higher tech you try to get.

Scott Fielder (26:09)
once again. Yeah, that's right. Oh my gosh. Yep, no more problems, but...

AC Chris Cohen (26:18)
more problems. The first two I did on zoom and they sounded like shit and looked like shit but you know. Anyway we're back that was a lot of really good information I think you know there definitely are folks out there who are thinking about do who want to do the Cicerone certifications

Scott Fielder (26:29)
But yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (26:39)
in order to help them get jobs in the industry. Obviously that's one of the reasons people do it. And, you know, I think your story is, it just shows like this can work. You know, you're showing up, you can speak intelligently in your interview about beer with a person who is an expert probably. And you know, that's obviously gonna show. I don't think many people are showing up for, to interview for their first like intro level jobs with an Advanced Cicerone on their resume.

But you know, it's certainly not gonna hurt you. You know? Yeah, so, and now you are on the path to the Master level. You've been working your butt off for that. And how you feeling? How you feeling about it?

Scott Fielder (27:09)

Yep, absolutely.


Well, things are going, things are going really good. It was very helpful that I made that six months of, you know, uh, where I was just doing the, the AC Coaching Program. I took full advantage of that in terms of studying and getting material together. And we've got obviously a smaller group of people who are studying, but I'm very, very fortunate that both of them live within like 20 or 25 minutes of me. So we are doing tasting practice every week. We're doing, um,

AC Chris Cohen (27:51)

Scott Fielder (27:54)
you know, and the tasting practices are a lot better ever since we took the Aroxa course. We're just trying to kind of keep those, you know, just kind of trying to keep those muscles fresh and doing that at least once a week. But really the Coaching Program has been something that has been really, really helpful because it's just a pool of people who are trying to learn something, you know, trying to take a high level exam and they've got, you know, some really, really good questions.

AC Chris Cohen (27:59)
I bet.

Scott Fielder (28:20)
Uh, and so it's really, you know, and so it's really fun for me to just kind of be potentially put on the spot at sometimes and, you know, having to answer a question in some way or some troubleshooting thing. And so that's super duper helpful because you know, we're the, the way that it's different is we've got this kind of bootcamp that we do, but there's a lead up to it. There's three months of preparation with a schedule that we give them. So they're not coming in just ready to learn and not like they're, they, they should have been studying. So they're coming in with questions and the bootcamp is there to.

AC Chris Cohen (28:20)


Scott Fielder (28:49)
hone in on exam strategies, but then also to say, all right, let's see how well your studying went, and now let's do some recall. Let's take some quizzes, let's do some essay, let's practice some essays. So then they kind of get to see, oh, okay, this stuff kind of, yeah, right. And who's been using the flashcards and stuff like that we give, you know, all 800 of those. And...

AC Chris Cohen (28:56)
Right. Yep.

You can tell you can tell who did all the reading. Yeah Mm-hmm. Yep first results just coming in from cohort one Pretty much all positive. We had our first Advanced to sarone. Jesús passed. Just like a couple days ago. Yep. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I'm scheduling one with him right now. And so yeah, I'm like super proud

Scott Fielder (29:14)

Yep. Yep, there'll be another episode for this for sure. Yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (29:30)
of what I've accomplished with Beer Scholar. And you should be incredibly stoked and proud of what you've accomplished with the AC Coaching Program. Because I think, you know, just like how when I meet people, a lot of times they're just like, oh my gosh, I used your study material for, you know, to get involved in this stuff. You know, that's gonna start happening to you. And it's gonna be all these like Advanced and Master level.

you know, people like you're, you're going to become like a hub of this community, I think.

Scott Fielder (30:00)
Yeah, I mean, I sure hope so. That would be great. I think that's something that everybody can really point to that Cicerone, as Cicerone's doing great, they're doing everything that they can with what they've got. But the community aspect is something that we're just, us as people who've passed the exam and people who are wanting to and have tried to connect with other Cicerones for all kinds of different reasons.

you know, that seems to clearly be falling on the shoulders of people like us who want to build those kinds of communities, which, you know, I'm more than happy to do. You know, I just, the advantage that I had studying with four other people who were super serious about the exam, I mean, it just made things happen four or five times faster. And we learned what not to study, you know, early on. And we, you know,

AC Chris Cohen (30:31)


Scott Fielder (30:51)
Obviously there were things that we just studied and we were like, wow, we wasted a lot of time, which In retrospect was good for the Coaching Program because we had pretty much we realized all the all the fat we had to trim Uh at that point so it was pretty easy to uh, you know realize what material that you know needed to be studied for these You know boot camp lead-ups Um, and then doing it, you know, and then doing all the boot camp stuff and we had a library of essays I mean we had given each other so many practice essays. It was

AC Chris Cohen (30:55)
You're right.

Scott Fielder (31:17)
on things that looking back, you know, we did, you know, I even trimmed those down too, because it was like, okay, this is like way, way too, you know, cause we're trying to come up and come with things and we're trying to stump, you know, each other. We're not, we're thinking if we come there and everybody sounds like they, they nailed it, we're thinking that wasn't, wasn't hard enough. Cause we're just, we kind of just have the Beer Scholar, the Beer Scholar attitude, be over-prepared, like show up to the exam and realize you did maybe two, a little too much. And then it's just, you're like, okay, this is going to be good. Like, this is going to be great.

AC Chris Cohen (31:34)
Right, right, good point.

But yeah, it always works out because it's like you're probably going to get one essay that you're a little like less prepared for and then another one that you're just like gonna murder because you're over prepared. You know, it's it all works out. It all works out because people follow their interests, you know, and I don't want to turn this into like an ad for the Advanced Cicerone Coaching Program. But I will say just like super quickly, because I think some people will definitely just listen to this who are interested in potentially joining the way it works is.

Scott Fielder (31:48)

Right. Exactly. Yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (32:16)
You get enrolled, we will talk to you before that to make sure you're a good fit. And to answer all your questions, we'll meet with you over Zoom. Then once you get enrolled, we'll hit you with this study schedule. We recommend at least three months. You know, it's great if you have even more time cause it's a lot of reading. And then we meet up for every week for a live lesson.

for six months and the first half of that is what we call the boot camp sessions where we are really teaching how to Take the exam like what to expect we cover every little section of it We also cover of course the actual sections of the syllabus, you know the different knowledge areas, but There's too much for us to teach right? So that's that whole preps prep part. So you show up prepared

And then we teach you how to use that knowledge to beat the test. And then the second half of those, of that six months of, of live meetings is tasting beer together and getting better at sensory and learning to do evocative description. And of course, when you're, when we're all meeting up with certain beer styles that are predetermined, you know, we're going to end up talking about.

Scott Fielder (33:23)

AC Chris Cohen (33:36)
lagering or decoction or just all these different topics like ingredients and all this stuff. So. So then we also have a bunch of quizzes and practice exams for folks, we grade one of their practice exams, we give them feedback, we do oral exam prep with them all this stuff. So and we have a little community space that everyone's hanging out in, and the kind of like working together forming little study groups, whatever. And

Scott Fielder (33:38)
Right. Yep. Beer and food pairing. Yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (34:06)
In the end, yeah, you know, our first cohort, their live lessons just ended a couple, a few months ago and they're all starting to take the exams. We just had our first person pass. So really successful and exciting.

Scott Fielder (34:19)

AC Chris Cohen (34:21)
Yeah. So yeah, great work on that. Scott, you're killing it. And, uh, yeah, you should be very proud. I think of what you've accomplished there. I always go and hang out for the, for the lessons and it's, you know, I, I I'm learning things even. So, yeah, it's awesome. It's awesome. Yeah. So, okay. I had, I wrote down a couple of questions here. Um, what

Scott Fielder (34:31)
I am.

AC Chris Cohen (34:48)
resources would you recommend for folks who are trying to learn about beer other than Tasting Beer which i think everybody knows Randy Mosher's book Tasting Beer and then i'm also going to say Jen and Rachel's podcast which you referred to earlier the False Bottom Girls they're just so good you should definitely listen to that i'm going to pull those two away from you and ask you if you have some other good resources you would recommend to folks

Scott Fielder (35:15)
Gosh, other good resources for people. Obviously, the obvious ones are the Draught Beer Quality Manual and Cellermanship. They're just two hyper-focused resources that really Cicerone has pointed to as sort of the gold standard and it's what they're teaching to. Gosh, there's part of me that just wants to look back into the library here. The hard part is I'm starting to get into places where...

AC Chris Cohen (35:34)
Ha ha.

Scott Fielder (35:40)
it's like really, really hyper-focused on one like very small aspect. But I would say a really good place to start after that is the ingredient books. The Malt, Hops and Yeast book, I would start with those. And then if you really want to get into it or especially if you're getting into like brewing or just higher level Cicerone stuff, then you can start with the Water book, but start with those other three first. The Water book is very chemistry heavy. It's very it'd be a lot better if you have if I had done like some like, you know, classes on chemistry recently.

AC Chris Cohen (35:44)


The water book's brutal.

Scott Fielder (36:10)
But yeah, the ingredient books are always really, really great. There's fun little, you know, places in there where they talk about history or in the Malt book they, you know, talk about malt houses, which are fun to read the first go around. But if you're studying at, you know, those aren't super, super helpful because you're not going to get, you know, asked about a specific malt house and what, you know, year it was opened or whatever, you know, stuff that's not syllabus related. So but yeah, those are, those are definitely really, really good and very approachable.

AC Chris Cohen (36:28)

Yeah, yeah. And that's those are recommendations that are fully focused on education. And like the Cicerone exams for sure. How about this? What nuggets of advice would you give someone who wants to level up their beer tasting and description skills?

Scott Fielder (36:43)

This is something you and I have just been singing the praises of, the Aroxa tasting course. The number one thing, if you want to up your sensory game, is to develop a serious routine. Like a serious one where you are, your brain now knows that it's time to taste beer, and sometimes that means holding the beer in a different glass, or in a different hand, in a different way, but in a very unique way.

And then, you know, learning a couple, you know, the, a lot of the stuff that we learn early on in Cicerone, we just kind of think, oh, like, we just kind of need the short sniff, like that's kind of all you really need, but if you're really looking to, to level up your game, all the other sniffs are extremely relevant and, and helpful. So developing a routine where you're including all of those things and that becoming second nature, it really just helps to block everything else out and just to have less sort of stimuli. And you're thinking, you're not thinking, okay, now what do I do?

next now that I've smelled it and I don't smell anything like what do I do next it's like oh I just go through the rest of you know of my routine and you know those will be different routine is going to be different for the Certified level compared to Advanced because obviously if you're studying for Advanced part of your routine is if you don't smell anything you should check for metallic so that's something I'm extremely passionate about. Every time someone gets metallic wrong and it's just because they forgot to check for it I feel like Angel loses its wings or something like that it's just like it you know it just should have happened like there's no

AC Chris Cohen (37:52)

All right.

Right? Well.



Scott Fielder (38:18)
it should have been overlooked, but you know, that's why you develop a... That's right, yeah, exactly. You know, so that's the big thing is having a really, really good routine that evaluates every aspect of the beer, and then after that everything is just going to become clear, the voice in your head is going to become more clear, and then you're just going to be trusting your instincts more, which is the other great nugget of wisdom I would give.

AC Chris Cohen (38:20)
a piece of brewery equipment loses its metal coating or something. Yeah.


Scott Fielder (38:44)
And then once you're doing that, that is such a solid foundation that everything else is going to come a lot easier.

AC Chris Cohen (38:50)
Yeah, I love that. That's really good advice. And it's amazing. We've talked about this on the side, but like, you and I and a bunch of other people that we know, made it past Advanced level, before, like learning an actual routine. I mean, that is kind of mind boggling to me. But we went to Chicago, you and I and Chris Crowe and Anudeep and Charlie, and all Advanced Cicerones and we

did the Aroxa Tasting Course. It was an amazing experience. We learned from Dr. Bill Simpson, who is kind of like the world's most expert beer sensory guy. He's the founder of Aroxa. And he taught us this routine. And it's like vapor trail sniff, short sniff, slightly longer sniff, covered sniff. Then the sip, then the nose plug sip.

and then do the little metallic test if you still need to do that too. And it's not only are you experiencing the beer so fully. But you're also if you if you turn that into a habit, you're really you're getting focused, you're just kind of pushing everything away. It's almost like a new agey like get focused. Be in the moment be present kind of kind of kind of a thing.

Scott Fielder (40:15)
Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (40:16)
And it really helps with that. Yeah. So there is literally, there are literally a zillion things that you and I could talk about, Scott. You know, I think that we hit some of the important stuff. I'm trying to keep these short. That's one of the, you know, in the past, I've tried out a couple different podcast concepts in the past. I think they were all good, but you know, the long form thing.

Scott Fielder (40:26)


AC Chris Cohen (40:44)
Not everybody has time for two hour conversations. So, yeah, I think there was a lot of good nuggets of information in there. We're obviously gonna end up doing this again in the not too distant future, maybe like a debrief after you take the Master exam. When is that happening?

Scott Fielder (40:46)
Right, yep.


AC Chris Cohen (41:02)
Oh, it's Boulevard. Cool. Yeah, I'm you know, I've said it to you a million times, but our listeners haven't maybe heard me say it a million times, but I'm so jealous of all you guys down there in SoCal getting to do all this stuff together, prepping for the Master exam together. A bunch of really cool people hanging out doing beer stuff. Obviously, I'm jealous. Anyway, I'm excited for you guys. I have...

I have faith. I think you're gonna pull it off on a first attempt. Ah!

I thought we had a minute.

Scott Fielder (41:34)
All right, one more time.

AC Chris Cohen (41:35)
All right, here we go. All right. So anyway, freaking technology just won't give us a break today. Anyway, we're going to wrap it up. I just want to say thank you for reaching out to me. Whatever five years ago. Now, which is insane to think about. Maybe it was four, but still really long time. You know, I'm stoked to be working with you.

Scott Fielder (41:37)
One last to arrive.

Yeah, four years ago, something like that, yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (42:01)
You're killing it. You should be stoked and proud. I hope you are.

Scott Fielder (42:05)
I feel really lucky that I was able to just kind of stumble into something that just already had such a huge platform and reputation because I tried doing that on my own with the like, you know, beer pairing stuff and doing that. And I was like, this is like building a website was a challenge in and of itself. And so running into somebody who's just got all the business savvy stuff and plenty of the beer knowledge too was pretty fortunate for me, I think.

AC Chris Cohen (42:29)
Yeah, yeah, man, same, totally the same. And, you know, this isn't like our couple's therapy session or anything, but, you know, but I was, you know, it's really hard to have a business and like give up some control or, you know, and trust. I mean, it's hard to delegate. Anyway, I couldn't be more stoked to be working with you. So thank you for hanging out.

Scott Fielder (42:55)

AC Chris Cohen (42:56)
and sharing your wisdom and we will do this again. Yeah, we'll do this again sometime. All right, see you what? On Friday when we do week 10 of, yeah, when we do week 10 of cohort two, I'll close by saying anyone who's listening, who wants to crush the Advanced Cicerone exam, we got you covered. It's never, no matter where the cohorts are at the moment, it's like never too early to reach out.

Scott Fielder (42:58)
Yeah, this was fun. Yep.

Yeah. Yep. That's right. Yeah.

AC Chris Cohen (43:25)
to me or Scott to ask about it and to get involved because like we said, there's a lot of prep. So yeah. All right, Scott. Thank you, sir. Cheers. See you soon.

Scott Fielder (43:31)
Yep. Absolutely. All right. Yep. Cheers.


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