Master Cicerone
Certified Sommelier
à la Bière
Bozeman, Montana
Master Cicerone
Consultant à la Bière

Beer School SF Beer Week 2020

with Master Cicerone and Brewmaster Rich Higgins

San Francisco Beer Week

Rich Teaching

SF Beer Week Events Collage

Beer Off-Flavors Tasting – IPA Edition – Sold Out

Bock to the Future: Draft Systems Class & Flux Capacitor Tour

Crunch Class & Practice Test for the Certified Cicerone® Exam

Blind Beer Tasting Master Class – Sold Out

Beer Immersions: drinking, eating and walking tours of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Beer Scene

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

  • Beer Immersion: San Francisco’s Dogpatch & SOMA Neighborhoods, Fri 2/14/20
  • Beer Immersion: Alameda’s Malt, Beer, and Barrels, Sat 2/15/20

Why sign-up for a beer class with Rich?

Rich is one of 18 Master Cicerones® in the world, a former brewmaster, and a Certified Sommelier. He has taught over 100 beer classes in San Francisco, Portland, OR, New York City, Washington DC, London, Seoul, and Hong Kong. His classes are always super fun and incredibly informative, 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, 2/8/19, 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)
Contact Rich to be added to the waitlist.
Questions? Click to Send Rich a Message

Photo: Off-FlavorsPhoto: Off-Flavors Standards
Join Rich for an information-packed examination of 12 common beer off-flavors. 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. For a little fun during SF Beer Week, we’ll be tasting the flavors in IPA, rather than tasting-class-standard light lager! (The off-flavors are not unique to IPA or light lager — they can happen in any beer style.)

This perennially popular SFBW class will sell out — 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!)

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! (Rich promises to make tasting these important, bizarre-but-common flavors as fun as possible!)

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) — YUM!


at Mikkeller Bar SF (downstairs in The Sour Room), 34 Mason St., San Francisco, CA
Sunday, 2/9/20, 3:30 – 5:00 PM
1.5 hrs, includes tour of Mikkeller Bar’s draft system
$45, includes 2 beers 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 a 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.

Plus, it’s a chance to study before the upcoming April 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 Capacitor

Photo: Kegs and FOBs


at Public House (@ Oracle Park), 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA
Monday, 2/10/20, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
3 hrs, tastes of 10 beers and 2 foods
Tickets? Buy securely via Paypal.
Questions? Click to Send Rich a Message

In this fun and education-packed crunch class, you’ll learn and review the trickiest material for the Certified Cicerone® Exam, and then put it to the test with practice written and tasting exams developed by Rich Higgins. Rich is a Master Cicerone®, Certified Sommelier, former SF brewmaster, and experienced beer educator.

In this class, you’ll

  • Test your beer knowledge.
  • Review difficult beer material.
  • Gain valuable perspectives on brewing, beer service, and regional beer style characteristics.
  • Learn tasting technique and food pairing guided by a Master Cicerone.
  • Put yourself through the paces before the upcoming San Francisco Certified Cicerone® Exam in April.
  • (And, hey — it’s cheaper than re-taking the exam!)

Ticket purchasers will also get a discount for 20% off Rich’s online Video Prep Course for the Certified Cicerone® Exam (click here for more info), streaming on Vimeo-on-Demand.

Photo: Kriek Lambic Barrel
This crunch class is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone® program. It has been developed independently by Master Cicerone Rich Higgins, and is a distilled version of his popular multi-day Prep Course for the Certified Cicerone® Exam.

We’ll spend 2 hours covering:

  • ingredients, mashing, fermentation, and keeping & serving, while sampling different malts and hops
  • German, Belgian, British, and American beer styles, with blind tasting of 4 different beers
  • food & beer pairing, with a tasting of 2 different pairings

Then the final hour will consist of:

  • 30-minute practice written exam
  • 15-minute practice tasting exam, including beer style and off-flavor identification
  • with self-grading and discussion immediately following

Photo: German Brewhouse
The class is perfect not just for folks studying for the CC exam, but also for beer geeks, brewers, BJCP judges, and anyone curious about what it takes to pass the exam!

Rich is proud to hold class at Public House, a classic San Francisco sports and beer bar that always features a phenomenal beer list, cask-conditioned ales, and great SF Beer Week events.Topics Covered: beer ingredients, brewing processes including mashing, enzymes and fermentation, keeping & serving, German, Belgian, British, and American beer styles, blind beer tasting, food & beer pairing and tasting

Photo: Cheese and Beer Pairing
Photo: Westmalle Beers


at Mikkeller Bar SF (downstairs in The Sour Room), 34 Mason St., San Francisco, CA
Tuesday, 2/11/20, 6:30 – 9:00 PM — SOLD OUT
Wednesday, 2/12/20, 6:30 – 9:00 PM — SOLD OUT
Same class, offered both Tuesday and Wednesday
2.5 hrs, tastes of 5 beers
Questions? Click to Send Rich a Message
Contact Rich to be added to the waitlist.

Learn more from every beer you taste and notice all that beer has to say! Be able to blind taste a beer and determine its style, ingredients, brewing processes, and condition. Join Master Cicerone and former brewmaster Rich Higgins 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.

What you’ll learn during the class:
In this class, Rich will introduce the Deductive Beer Tasting Method and use it to blind taste several beers to identify their beer style, ingredients, condition, and quality. You’ll hone your tasting skills and put on your detective hat to determine how the beers were made and to deduce the hops, malt, yeast, bacteria, fruit, and/or wood that were used to create the character of the beers you taste. You’ll learn the deductive pathways to determine hop varieties, hopping schedule, fermentation organisms, malt types and malt ratios, special ingredients, and beer age and condition. In the process, you’ll develop your descriptive vocabulary and put words to what you see, smell, taste, and feel in a beer.

Deductive Beer Tasting Method - Tasting Grid Preview
Photo: Deductive Beer Tastings

Photo: British Beer Labels
Deductive Beer Tasting Method - Companion Guide Cover

Is this class for me?
This essential beer tasting class is perfect for tasters of all levels, from novice to advanced. Beginning beer tasters will learn the foundation of tasting and have their eyes opened to all that a beer can taste like. Advanced beer tasters will hone their palates, learn how to taste beer’s subtleties, and how to make deductions about beer to sleuth out the beer’s recipe, its brewing processes, and what makes it tick — and even how to re-brew it themselves.

DBTM Tasting Grid, free downloads & more!
You can prep for class by familiarizing yourself with the Deductive Beer Tasting Method at Access free downloads of the Tasting Grid, Quick Reference Guide, and pre-filled Tasting Grids on famous benchmark beers you can taste along with.

Topics Covered: appearance, aroma, taste, flavor, off-flavors, mouthfeel, aftertaste, deduction and deductive pathways, 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
Photo: .....

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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