Master Cicerone
Certified Sommelier
à la Bière
San Francisco
Consultant à la Bière
Master Cicerone

Beer School

with Master Cicerone and Brewmaster Rich Higgins


Rich Teaching

Rich is in the process of putting together more classes and events for San Francisco Beer Week and beyond. Stay tuned!

SF Beer Week Off-Flavors Class — SOLD OUT!

Draft Systems Class – Theory, Practical, and Tour

Method for Sensory Analysis, Blind Tasting & Deduction

Beer Immersions Tours during SF Beer Week

For more info on these unforgettable beer and food tours of the San Francisco Bay Area, click here!

  • Beer Immersion: Alameda’s Malt, Beer, and Barrels, Thu 2/7/19
  • Beer Immersion: San Francisco’s Dogpatch & SOMA Neighborhoods, Fri 2/8/19

Why sign-up for a beer class with Rich?

Rich is an experienced brewmaster, one of 18 Master Cicerones in the world, and a Certified Sommelier. He’s San Francisco’s premier beer educator, having taught over 100 beer classes, combining great information, personality, and beer into unforgettable classes.

  • All class attendees must be 21 years of age or older.

Rich Teaching - Photo by Ahna Kennedy

Choose one of Rich’s SFBW events & buy securely via Paypal

Class Schedule

at The Beer Hall, 1 Polk St., San Francisco, CA
Saturday, 2/2/18, 12:00 – 2:00 PM
2 hrs, 12 off-flavors tasted twice each
$75, includes a post-class draft beer of your choice (up to $10)
Questions? Click to Send Rich a Message

Photo: Off-FlavorsPhoto: Off-Flavors Standards

Beer is a beautiful, natural product. But how it’s brewed, aged, and handled can affect its flavor, sometimes creating faults and flaws that are called off-flavors. Informed drinkers, Cicerones, and brewers must know how to taste them and prevent them from occurring!

Join Rich for an information-packed examination of all these flavors, and he promises to make tasting these important, bizarre-but-common flavors as fun as possible.

This combo workshop-and-tasting-quiz covers the 12 beer off-flavors listed in the Advanced Cicerone® Syllabus, with discussion of each compound’s flavor and aroma profile, source, and appropriateness. Each off-flavor is served and evaluated TWICE: first, during individual evaluation with discussion; second, during a blind taste test of all of the off-flavors plus a control beer.

This is a perennially popular class during SF Beer Week. Don’t miss out! No prior beer knowledge necessary, but any prior understanding of brewing and fermentation will help you. (And don’t worry if those weird flavors sound freaky — class includes a delicious, untainted beer of your choice afterwards!)

Off-Flavors Sampled (12): acetaldehyde (green apple), acetic acid (vinegar), chlorophenols (antiseptic), diacetyl (butter), DMS (cooked veggies), H2S (hard cooked eggs), isovaleric acid (sweaty socks), lactic acid (sourdough), lightstruck (skunky), mercaptan (drain), metallic, and trans-2-nonenal (papery oxidation)

at Mikkeller Bar SF (downstairs in The Sour Room), 34 Mason St., San Francisco, CA
Sunday, 2/3/18, 1:00 – 2:30 PM
1.5 hrs, includes tour of Mikkeller Bar’s draft system
$50, includes 2 beer during class
Tickets? Buy securely via Paypal.
Questions? Click to Send Rich a Message

A draft system is the heart of a bar, pumping delicious beer from the keg to let it flow from the faucet. But how does it really work? Whether you’re a hardworking bartender or an avid consumer, understanding draft systems will deepen your love of beer! Class includes 2 beers and tour of Mikkeller Bar’s high-end draft system.

Add this class to your bartending resume. Learn how to correct foamy beer and troubleshoot your office or home kegerator. Bust beer myths and avoid bad pouring habits. Prepare for Cicerone® exams. Learn why and how draft beer can be better than bottled beer (and when and where it’s not!). Maybe even appreciate the overlooked, incredible, beautiful feat of physics that gets cold, carbonated, delicious beer from the keg to your glass.

Join Master Cicerone and former brewmaster Rich Higgins as he infuses expertise and a sense of humor into this essential beer topic. Satisfy your inner nerd with thermodynamics while quenching your thirst with 2 beers served during class. We’ll finish with a tour of Mikkeller Bar SF’s world-famous, custom, tricked-out “Flux Capacitor” draft system.

Just in time for the upcoming March San Francisco Certified Cicerone® Exam — the perfect way to master the material!

Topics Covered: balance, resistance, pressure, temperature, elevation, system components, direct-draw systems, long-draw systems, CO2, N2, blended gases, maintenance, cleaning, troubleshooting, carbonation levels in different beer styles, pouring technique

Photo: Flux CapacitorPhoto: Faucets and Tap Handles

at San Francisco Wine School, 415 Grand Ave. Ste 301, South San Francisco, CA
Monday, 2/4/18, 6:30 – 9:00 PM
2.5 hrs, tastes of 5 beers
$85 – tickets available through San Francisco Wine School
Tickets available through San Francisco Wine School
Questions? Click to Send Rich a Message

Photo: British Beer LabelsPhoto: Rich Teaching Class

Learn more from every beer you taste and notice all that beer has to say! Join Rich to learn a Deductive Beer Tasting Method that lets you “look under the hood” to understand every beer you taste and deduce how it was made. In this seminar, you’ll learn the route to honing your palate, building rich and accurate descriptors, isolating beer traits, deducing ingredients and techniques, connecting the dots between traits, technique, and quality. It’ll allow you to learn even more from beer — and it’s like getting to know an old friend all over again!

An essential class for all beer drinkers and brewers, whether you’re a novice learning to tell the difference between an ale and a lager, or an advanced taster differentiating between a Düsseldorf Altbier or a Cali Common. Ticket includes download access to the Method’s Tasting Grid and Quick Reference.

Topics Covered: appearance, aroma, taste, flavor, off-flavors, mouthfeel, aftertaste, deduction, descriptors, attributes, orthonasal, retronasal, cross-sensory suggestion, smelling techniques, perceived vs. actual bitterness, perceived vs. actual sweetness, intensity, complexity, balance, astringency, chaptalization, yeast and fermentation, regionality, condition

Choose one of Rich’s SFBW events & buy securely via Paypal

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Photo: Class Tasting Off-Flavors
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Click the links below for more information about Rich’s Classes, Events, and Beer Immersions Travel:

Prep Courses for Cicerone® Exams
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Rich Higgins Beer Immersions Travel to Belgium & Germany

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