The craft beer scene in the Twin Cities is going strong, to the point where it feels like a new brewery or taproom is opening every week. Distinguishing them from each other can sometimes be a challenging (if delicious) task for craft beer drinkers.
To introduce some rigor into all the efforts, the Better Beer Society
(BBS) offers some expertise. The agency focuses on promoting craft beer and every aspect of its service, including staff training for bar servers so they can chat about beers with confidence.
One major focus is certification; the organization awards a "BBS Certified" label to establishments that prove they have a high level of beer service, selection, storage, and server knowledge. So far, only three bars--Bryant Lake Bowl
, The Happy Gnome
, and Republic
--have gotten the BBS stamp of approval, but founder Rob Shellman is working with others to get them to that point.
"We've been pretty hard at work these past few months auditing and meeting with bar and restaurant owners about the certification program," he says. "Most of the response has been very encouraging, with owners and management wanting to get involved and improve on their practices."
Certification isn't an easy task, he notes, but it's not impossible. The BBS works with each establishment closely to track areas of improvement, so that every pour is a clean, predictable one.
A certified Cicerone (the beer world's equivalent of a sommelier), Shellman started the BBS last year after moving back to Minneapolis from Los Angeles. He's seen the strong beer scene in places like Portland and San Diego, and believes that the craft beer movement in the Twin Cities could be just as robust.
"We could really be a major beer destination here," he says. "Our mission is to help make that happen."
Source: Rob Shellman, Better Beer Society
Writer: Elizabeth Millard