ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Fancy yourself as a beer pro? There's a new qualification for that

Level up your beer knowledge, courtesy of the WSET...

Fancy yourself as a beer pro? There's a new qualification for that
Marc Chacksfield
05 March 2024

Do you know your IPAs from your Lambics, understand what the hell a Helles is and are steadfast in enjoying a beer in its proper glass? Then do we have the course for you.

The WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) is world renowned in imparting knowledge on all things alcohol - it's the world’s largest provider of drinks education - having developed comprehensive courses in wine, spirits and sake.

Now it has developed a brand-new course that will help you on your way to becoming a beer boffin.

The program offers a WSET Level 1 and 2 Awards in Beer and has been developed with both trade professionals and beer enthusiasts in mind.

This is only the fourth course that the WSET has developed and its first in a decade, with its sake course launching back in 2014.

Beer course

The course opened its doors this February and is the brainchild of WSET’s product development team which is led by Sara Hobday and supported by beer educator and consultant Mirella Amato and Institute of Brewing & Distilling’s technical development manager Stuart Howe.

ShortList was lucky enough to get a taster of the course, with Hobday imparting some beer-tasting tips, and it's a fantastic way to learn a lot more about beer.

Fancy yourself as a beer pro? There's a new qualification for that
Image Credit: Future

The Level 1 course takes you on a journey through the life of beer, looking at: beer ingredients and production; the principles of storage, service and food pairing; the characteristics of 20 key beer styles - from lagers to lambics; as well as how to taste and describe beer.

It was this last bit that was the focus of our whistle-stop beer tour, where we were given pointers on how to taste beer, how the food you eat with beer can dramatically change the taste and how best to describe the taste, aroma, mouthfeel and flavour of the ale we were drinking.

This is all part of WSET's Systematic Approach to Tasting (SAT), its trademarked framework for assessing quality.

In total we tried three beers: a New England IPA, a Lambic, and a Trappist beer and certainly came out of the class with a new sense of beer knowledge.

Fancy yourself as a beer pro? There's a new qualification for that

In total, for Level 1 - a beginner-level beer qualification - you will get an idea of over 20 beer styles. If you go for the Level 2 course then this expands to over 60 beer styles.

Level 2 is an intermediate-level beer qualification, and a longer and more in-depth course than Level 1, which allows you to cover the essentials in greater detail.

They are serious stuff - there is around 6 hours of study in Level 1 and a 45-minute exam at the end. Level 2 levels up and involves around 28 hours of study (both in the classroom and on your own) and an hour exam at the end.

The courses have been created to be as interactive as possible and are available in-person in a limited number of markets, with global access to online courses.

Head to WSET's official site for more information.

Main Image Credit: WSET