By: Korey Rahrle, Eastern NY Brewery Representative Published:
One of our very own Brewery Representatives, Korey Rahrle, recently became a Certified Cicerone! We think that’s pretty awesome, which is why we asked him a few questions about his experience and interest in the program. To learn more about the Cicerone program, check out this article from CraftBeer.com.
Why did you want to become a Cicerone?
While in college I was always the guy that would show up to the party with a 6-pack of craft beer, instead of the familiar 30-pack of light beer. The next week it would be a different 6-pack, or 22 ounce bottle. After a while, I was curious to know what was in these beers I enjoyed so much. I wanted to know where they came from, what else that brewery made, and what other beers of that particular style were out there.
After school I was hired by KegWorks.com, a company that specializes in draft beer equipment. I took it upon myself to learn more about the beer world beyond the liquid itself. Around that time, I took a part time job with a local Belgian beer bar called The Blue Monk. While there, I was exposed to more beer than I had ever known existed. This experience truly helped evolve my palate and opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of pairing beer and food.
Craft beer has become a huge part of my life. I’ve tasted flavors I didn’t know existed, and met people that I may have never known otherwise. Great beer has brought me so much joy. I want everyone I encounter to have that same opportunity.
Becoming a Certified Cicerone has given me an outlet to utilize all of this knowledge that I’’ve accumulated during my craft beer journey. Turns out I’ve been preparing for the exam for years and didn’t even know it!
What does the Cicerone program mean to you?
I love beer. No, really, I absolutely love beer! Specifically, I really love great craft beer. Once I realized how many different styles of beer there are, I made it a hobby to try as many as possible and seek out the knowledge to understand what makes them all unique. Part of what made me fall in love with craft beer in the first place was the experience of discovering something new and delicious. The other part was learning more about these delicious beers, then sharing them with other people. The Cicerone program gave me an opportunity to do both. So now instead of just being my friends’ unofficial “beer expert,” I’m an industry recognized Certified Cicerone!
How will this help you with your job?
I think more than anything it will increase my level of credibility within the industry. Being a Certified Cicerone is something that a lot of people, in and outside of the craft community, respect. It’s a tool that helps me bridge relationships between brewers, bar owners, and beer lovers alike. My level of expertise on all things beer will hopefully not just enhance my own credibility, but also Harpoon’s reputation as a brewery that genuinely cares about what we brew and how that message is being received by our consumers.
Becoming a Master Cicerone is a major goal. Why do anything if you’re not trying to be the best of the best? But for the sake of my social life, I’m going to wait on that for a bit. The amount of preparation involved is pretty daunting.
I guess what’s next in the immediate future is just maintaining what I already know. Now that the exam is over, I have the title, but the job isn’t done. I have to stay sharp. Yes, the grueling study time is over – for now. But there’s a level of expectation that I carry now. The craft industry is constantly evolving and I need to be a Cicerone all the time. Not just when I’m preparing for an exam.
What was your favorite part of preparing for Certified Cicerone?
My favorite part of studying was the tasting portion for regional styles. I made a point to acclimate my palate to individual styles. I would go to the store and buy different Belgian, German, British, and American styles. While drinking a specific style, I would try to memorize the style specifications. For example: ABV range, IBU range, SRM range, etc. I can remember myself pacing around my apartment drinking Maibock and yelling out “SRM 6-11! IBU 25-35…!” loud enough for my neighbors to hear I’m sure. I felt like a mad scientist or something. Who knows what the neighbors thought was going on. I found this to be a great way to fall back in love with some traditional beer styles, German in particular, that I might not have revisited otherwise.
By: Kevin Depot, Mr. Bobo's Traveling BBQ All-Stars Published:
Ladies and Gentleman, this is one blog that you are NOT going to want to ignore. We recently had the Harpoon Championships of New England BBQ up at our brewery in Windsor, Vermont. Teams competed from all over to be crowned barbecue champions. One category, the Chefs Choice (aka a dessert made with Harpoon beer), is obviously one of our favorites. The dessert that took first place was made by Kevin Depot. Not only did his Chocolate Maple Porter Cheesecake take first place, it also received a score of 180, which in the world of Kansas City Barbeque Society (aka the judges) is a perfect score! Without further ado…
For years I have been surrounded by BBQ culture. My father, Ray Depot, has been in the competitive BBQ scene for a majority of my lifetime. However, I have only been involved in a handful of KCBS competitions. Because my father has semi-retired from the competition scene, I am now looking to learn the craft of BBQ.
My father's former teammate, Eric Johnson of Mr. Bobo's Traveling BBQ All-Stars, graciously asked me to join him for the 2014 Harpoon BBQ Championship last month. I was given the task to take charge on the Chef's Choice category. After researching a number of ideas, I went with a cheesecake focused around Harpoon’s Maple Tap Imperial Porter.
I practiced with a few different ideas and my friends and co-workers benefited from my many taste testing sessions! The trick however was needing to cook the cheesecake in a BBQ smoker. Luckily, with a little patience and having practiced the recipe a few times before, I was very happy with the results and couldn’t have done it without the teamwork and support I got from Mr. Bobo’s Traveling BBQ All-Stars team.
It was my first solo effort entry in a KCBS competition. It will not be my last.
Chocolate Maple Porter Cheesecake Recipe
Serving size: 8 slices
1 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbs. granulated white sugar
5 oz melted butter
1/2 cup broken pretzel rods
7 oz 60% dark chocolate
1 Cup Harpoon Maple Tap Imperial Porter
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 tbs. flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4 Oz 60% dark chocolate
Maple Whipped Cream:
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Maple Syrup to taste
4 strips of bacon
dark brown sugar
fresh cracked black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
2. Cut Parchment Paper to fit bottom of your 9 in cake pan. Spray inside with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Mix melted butter and graham cracker crumbs in a separate bowl. With your fingers, form a thin layer of the graham cracker mixture covering cake pan including the sides. Sprinkle the broken pretzel rods on the bottom of the cake pan only. Bake crust in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to solidify.
4. Heat your 7oz of dark chocolate using a double boiler until completely melted. Mix 1 cup of Harpoon Maple Tap Imperial Porter with melted chocolate, set aside to cool.
5. In stand up mixer with paddle attachment, combine the room temperature cream cheese and 1 1/4 cup sugar until completely incorporated. Slowing add 1 Egg at a time remembering to scrape the sides in between each addition. Add your cooled Chocolate/Beer mixture. Now it is time to slowly incorporate your dry ingredients (2 Tbs Flour and 1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder). Whip vigorously.
6. Fill your baked crust with your now mixed filling with just a little room left on top. You may have more filling than needed.
7. Take a 2 inch hotel pan and place your cake pan in the middle. Fill hotel pan with warm water till it reaches just underneath the top of the cake pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Once cooked, refrigerate cake overnight.
8. To make the ganache topping, simply melt 4 oz of dark chocolate with a double boiler and whip heated heavy cream until silky smooth peaks form. Spread a thin even layer of ganache on top of chilled cake and refrigerate until set.
With whisk or hand mixer, whip cream until soft peaks are formed. Add Maple Syrup to taste.
Black Pepper Candied Bacon:
1. Dice 4 strips of bacon into small pieces and cook in frying pan until they are very crisp. Let cooked bacon pieces sit on a paper towel until no longer hot.
2. In separate bowl add bacon bits and a dusting of dark brown sugar. Return sugared bacon into a non-stick pan and cook until the sugar is slightly caramelized. While bacon is still hot add fresh cracked pepper to taste.