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The Cicerone (Basically a Beer Sommelier) Is the Drink World's New Hip Job

This city might be the home of Anchor Steam, one of the nation’s first craft breweries, as well as the Lower Haight’s pioneering beer bar Toronado, but until a few years ago, the beer culture here has been mostly a “large-bearded-man-in-a-dirty-bar type of thing,” says Sayre Piotrkowski, cicerone at the Monk’s Kettle in the Mission.

A grimy dive is certainly not the domain of a cicerone, the term for a certified beer sommelier—the latest hip job in the drink world. According to the Cicerone Certification Program, started by Chicago-based beer expert Ray Daniels in 2007, cicerone literally means “one who conducts visitors and sightseers to museums.” (The leap to beer might be a long one, but the 18th-century terminology sounds duly impressive.)

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