Boundary Bay brewer puts his skills to the test

We are very excited to announce that Boundary Bay Brewer Bryan Krueger is now a Certified Cicerone®! To give you a sense of scale, there are just 29 Certified Cicerones in Washington state; Bryan is one of four in Whatcom County.

“The Cicerone® Certification Program certifies and educates beer professionals in order to elevate the beer experience for consumers.” There are 3 levels in the certification process, which include the following: Certified Beer Server, Certified Cicerone® and Master Cicerone®.

“I am very excited about utilizing this new credential and the knowledge and experience it represents to continue ‘upping the ante’ on beer quality here at Boundary Bay and in Bellingham at large!” Bryan says.

Bryan’s interest in the Cicerone program developed after General Manager Janet Lightner got involved. Janet, a Cicerone® Certified Beer Server, encouraged Bryan to take it to the next level and study to become a Certified Cicerone®, after quickly passing the Certified Beer Server online exam.

In preparation, he studied everything from beer styles to food pairings to the whole brewing process. Feeling confident enough to try the test, Bryan decided to take the last one of the summer on August 8.

The first portion of the test consisted of a three-hour written exam with three essays and several short answer questions. In the second portion of the test, Bryan demonstrated how to disassemble and clean a draught faucet. The final portion was beer tasting, the section he admittedly feared the most, yet scored the highest on after all was said and done.

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Boundary Bay Brewer Bryan Krueger examines the aroma of the Whatcom Wheat Krystalweizen.

A week prior, Bryan assembled an off-flavors-beer tasting test with the brewery staff. It didn’t go well as hoped. They did the tasting outside in the beer garden, but the wind was whipping that day, messing with abilities to perceive aromas accurately. “For consistency, tastings are best done indoors,” Bryan says.

On September 9, 2014 Bryan was informed via email he was now a Certified Cicerone®.

Since joining Boundary Bay a year ago, Bryan has written more than a half-dozen new recipes, including Cedar Dust IPA, Wonderland Belgian-Strong Golden, and Lost Giants Imperial Cascadia Dark Ale; as well as revamping several existing Boundary Bay beer styles. Bryan recipes are varied, not just one particular style.

“When I write a recipe I think about what we are trying to brew, not just in literal terms,” Bryan says. “What is the history of the beer style? How does that define the way the style is? How do we tweak the recipe to make something delicious and provide a truly unique experience for the beer-lover? And as Brewers, how can we make the best possible wort so that the yeast happy and make beautiful beer?”

He admits that he also tries to include Belgian specialty malts whenever it is appropriate because he loves the distinctive aromatic qualities that they lend to the beer.

Outside the brewery, Bryan loves to garden, fly fish, cook, mushroom hunt and camp with his family. Of course he likes to try new beers too, especially since passing the Certified Cicerone® exam.

Bryan lives in Bellingham with his wife Clare and their two daughters; Edie, 3, Althaea, 1, and an old cat named Doc.

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