Since 2003 I have both developed and presented courses for this famous professional brewing school located in Chicago. My areas of specialization revolve around beer styles and recipe formulation, as well as beer and food pairings.

Master of Beer Styles

The first class was developed by me along with Ray Daniels, founder of the Cicerone Certification Program, and is a three-day presentation covering beer styles and recipe formulation for brewers. Although specifically designed for brewers, the class is mostly non-technical, so plenty of non-brewing beer professionals from around the world take the class and benefit greatly from the material presented.

This course is run in conjunction with a one-day beer sensory class covering more than 20 specific flavors that may be encountered in beer. While most people choose to take both sections, the sensory class is optional.

Master of Beer Styles Outline

Day 1

Session 1.1 & 1.2: Beer Styles Yin and Yang, - Ray followed by Randy


Overview of Beer Styles

       - Anatomy of a Style

       - The Context of Pre-Industrial Styles

       - The Politics & Economics of Beer

       - Technological Influences on Style Development

       - A Matter of Balance

Session 1.3: Fundamental Concepts & Qualitative Factors: Ray


Sensory Assessment of Ingredients


       - Bitterness

       - National Origin & Breeds: US, Eng, German, etc. 

       - Base & Specialty Malts

       - Maillard Chemistry and its Importance in Beer

Yeast Overview

Basics of Water Chemistry

       - Process and Beer Styles

Session 1.4: The Art of Beer Formulation - Randy

What is Art and Why Should We Care?

Conceptual Tools for the Brewer

The Human Interface: Hardware & Software (psychology)

Techniques & Approaches

Session 1.5: Brewing Lagers – Ray

NOTE: all of the styles sections for the rest of the class revolve around tasting classic examples of the styles and pointing out distinctive features and characteristics.

Brewing Techniques, Ingredients, Fermentation and Yeast

Issues Related to Making High Gravity Lagers

Shortcuts & Shortened Lagering Times

Special Issues in Making Pilsner Beers

Day 2 - Ray Daniels all day

German Specialty Beers

Wheat Beers

       - American Wheat beers

       - German-Style Weizen beers (yeast and fermentation)

       - Using Rye

Rhine Valley Ales

       - History and Characterization

       - Altbier Formulation & Brewing

       - Kolsch Formulation & Brewing

Smoked Beers


The Beers of Britain

Scottish Ales

Pale Ale, Bitter and IPA: Past, Present and Future

Dark Ales of British Isles

Mild & Brown Ales

Porter & Stout

Old Ales/Strong Ales (English and American)

       - Ingredient Choices for Strong Beers

       - Special Considerations for Fermenting

American Brewing and Beer Styles

Classic American Historical Styles

       - Steam Beer (California Common)

       - Cream Ale

       - American Premium and Light Lager and Their Variants

New American Classics of Craft Brewing

        - American Pale Ale

        - American IPA & Double IPA

       - Amber, Red & Brown Ales

Day 3 - Randy All Day

Belgian & French Ales

       - The Belgian Approach

       - A Few Notes on History

Abbey beers

The Belgian Pale Ale Style

Saison & "Farmhouse" Beers

Bière de Garde

Historical Curiosities Worth Reviving

Turbid Mashing: Witbier & Lambic

Witbier & Related Styles

The Family of Lambics

Sour Brown & Red Ales


The Historic Traditions of Beer

Ancient Inspirations

       - The Beginnings of Beer

       - The Chilly North

       - Middle-Age Beer

The Outlaw Ales of Germany

       - German White Beer Relatives: Gose, Grodziskie & Beyond

       - Steinbier

Jolly Old England

       - The Legacy of Country Bouse Brewing

       - October Beer, Burton & Other Strong Ales

       - Early Forms of Porter & Pale

Wood and Barrel Aging

       - English Old Ale from the Wood

       - Whiskey-Barrel Beers

       - Wine-Barrel Lambics & Sour Browns

       - Wood Without Barrels

Non-Standard Ingredients

Extract Sources & Their Use

       - Mashing and Lautering Adjunct Grains

       - Using Adjuncts in Recipes

       - Ethnic and Varietal Sugars: A Tasting

       - Sugar in Beer: The Right Way

       - A Dab of Honey

Herbs & Spices in Beer

       - Concepts, Quantities, & Usage

       - Spiced Beer Styles

       - A Catalog & Tasting of Useful Spices

Brewing with Fruits & Vegetables

       - Fruit, Concentrate, Extracts and Flavorings

       - A Different Balance: Sweet & Sour in Fruit Beers

       - A Smattering of Fruits for Brewing

Brewing Outside the Lines

The New Product Development process

Techniques & Directions for New Products

Hot Trends in Creative Brewing

Approaching Beer and Food

Why & How

3-Part Pairing Approach

Specific Dishes & Meal Parts

Other Concepts

Beer & Food Hands-On Tasting

4 Cheese & Beer Pairs

4 Dessert & Beer Pairs


This two-day class that serves as a basic introduction to the world of beer. Developed at the request of beer distributors, this class covers a wide range of beer context and characteristics including history, the tasting process and parameters of beer, de-emphasizing technical and recipe formulation details. As with the Master of Beer Styles course, we discuss and taste dozens of traditional and evolving beer styles, all aiming to give attendees solid footing for their beer career and further study. 

Professional Beer Styles and Tasting Outline

Section 1 Introduction

What is Beer?

        - Beer in Context

        -A widespread product

        -Lifestyle & Diet



A Little Beer History

        -Beginnings in the Ancient World

        -Medieval to Modern, Gruit to Hops

        -The Industrial Revolution

        -Meanwhile, in the Caves of Bavaria

        -The American Beer Story

        -Craft Beer Revolution

Section 2 - Sensory

Physiology and Psychology



        -Flavor, Memory and the Brain

Techniques for Sensory Evaluation

Practical Tips for Evaluating Beer

Sources of Flavor & Aroma

        -The Taste of Beer

        -Beer Aroma & the Flavor Wheel

Tastings & Judging

        -Types of Tastings

        -Competition Judging

        -Evaluation Forms

        -Informal Tastings

        -Settings & Methods

        -Tasting Glasses

Section 3 - Beer by the Numbers

Gravity (Strength of “wort” or unfermented beer)




A Question of Balance

Section 4 - Brewing and the Vocabulary of Beer Flavor

Beer Ingredients (including smelling/tasting samples)


        -Other Grains & Fermentables




        -Other Ingredients

Raw Materials Problems

Hands On: The next section involves spiked commercial beers with specific off-flasvors added as appropriate for the issue being discussed

The Brewing Process



        -Brewhouse Problems




Fermentation/Maturation Problems




Post-production Problems

        -Filtration & Pasteurization


        -Packaging Problems

        -Storage & Shipping

Mishandling in the Trade

        -It’s old!

        -It might be the draft line

        -Light & That Skunky Thing

Section 5 - What Is a style?

The styles sections below feature a combination of lecture, slides and tasting, giving a thorough overview of the character of the styles.

Section 6 - Ales of the United Kingdom

The Pale Ale Family: Bitter, ESB, Pale, IPA

Brown & Mild Ale

Scottish and Scotch Ales



Old & Strong Ales

Barley Wine

New British Styles

Section 7 - Lager

The classic styles of Europe: Germany & Czech Republic




        -Alt & Kölsch

        -Munich Dunkel

        -Maibock & Bock

        -Weisse & Weizen

American Lagers & Related Styles

        -American Adjunct Pilsner

        -International Pilsener

        -Classic Preprohibition Pilsner

        -Cream Ale

        -Steam Beer

Section 8 - European Ales

Düsseldorfer Altbier


Section 9 - Belgium & France

Trappist & Abbey Ales

Strong Ale


French Bière de Garde


Artistic Beers


Sour Brown & Red Beers

Belgian Fruit Beers

Section 10 - New American Classics

Amber & Red Ales

American Pale/IPA

Hyper-Hoppy Imperials

Barrel-Aged Ales

Super-Strong Beers

Fruit, Spice & Vegetable Beers

Section 11 - Serving & Storing Beer

Aging beer

        -When and Why

        -Suitable Types


Serving Temperatures by styles

Beer Glassware

        -What Matters and What Doesn’t

        -Historical & Classic

        -Tasting Glasses

Section 12 - Beer & Food

Why is beer so good with food?

Pairing Approaches

        -Three Things…

        -Familiarity Pairs

        -Classic Combinations

        -Some Surprising Pairs

Beer & Cheese

Beer with Desserts

Beer Cuisine

Beer & Food Tastings & Dinners

In addition to lecture/slides, the last part of this section features a tasting of beers paired first with several different cheeses, then with several different dessert items. Participants are encouraged to discover pairings that work especially well. This is always a surprising and well-received experience.


PDFs of Class Lecture Slides

Beer Color Guide

Beer Flavor Wheel

World Beer Cup Beer Detailed Style Guidelines

Glossary of Common Beer & Brewing Terms

12-page full-color Food & Beer Styles Pairing Guide (Brewers Association)

Bibliography of Useful Beer Books



This one-day class was developed in response to the tremendous interest in this subject these days, as people discover that food is an indispensable tool with which to present and sell beer. As the class title says, this is as hands-on as we can possibly make it. Participants blend brunch beer cocktails, choose and evaluate cheese-and-beer pairings, and even participate in a team competition to create a beer-paired entrée that then is served for the course participants’ own lunch.

Siebel Beer and Food: A Hands-On Encounter

1a. Introduction and Objectives

- Why beer?

- A word about wine and food

1b. The Fundamentals of Beer & Food Harmonization

- The importance of matching intensity

- Common vocabulary of beer & food

Demo: Taste of umami/glutamate

- Beer ingredients and flavor sources

- Food ingredients that share characteristics with beer

- Food preparation methods and their importance in beer pairings

- Dealing with contrasts (bitter, fat, sweet, umami, etc)

- Familiarity/affinity pairings

- Evolved beer & food traditions (Belgium, UK, Germany)

2. Beer and Breakfast

- Considerations, vocabulary, beers + breakfast/brunch foods

Hands-On: DIY Breakfast Cocktails

3. Beer and Cheese

- A crash course in cheese: technology, milk, types, flavors

- Specifics of beer and cheese

Hands-On: Demonstration pairing (3 pairs)

Hands-On: Working Pairing Evaluation(3 pairs)

4. Beer with Salads 

- Considerations, vocabulary, beers

Hands-On: Deconstructed Salad Demo

5. Beer with Appetizers & Main Dishes

Hands-On: A Celebrity Chef-style DIY Lunch Smackdown

6. Planning a beer & food menu

- Goals

- Practical Considerations

- Planning & Execution

7. Cooking with Beer and Brewing Ingredients

- Opportunities & Limitations

- Uses of Beer in Cooking

- Beer Ingredient Flavor Vocabulary

- Opportunities to Cook with Brewing Ingredients

- Beer Cooking Techniques

- Ideas & Inspirations

8. Beer & Desserts

- Opportunities

- Considerations

- Vocabulary

Hands-On: Beer & Dessert Tasting