Mirella Amato

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Mirella Amato recently contacted me to advise me of a press release regarding her becoming the first and only Canadian Master Cicerone.  Following the press release I’ve added her response to my questions as to her thoughts on the local scene and whether or not she has plans to return to our area in the foreseeable future.

Toronto – Dec 13, 2012 – The first Canadian Master Cicerone® is declared; Mirella Amato is now one of only six Master Cicerones in North America. It’s remarkable that a woman should be the first Canadian to earn this high distinction in a typically male dominated industry.

Becoming the best in beer

To become a Master Cicerone®, candidates must get top marks (at least 85%) in two intensive days of 10 hours of written questions, two hours of oral exams and two hours of beer testing and evaluation!

“The whole exam is gruelling. It’s an exercise in stamina, going back and forth between essay questions, oral exams and tasting exams for hours, and then waking up the next day and doing it all over again. I slept for two days after it was all over,” says Mirella of her experience.

According to the Cicerone (pronounced sis-uh-rohn) program website, a Master Cicerone® must “possess encyclopedic knowledge of beer” and have “highly refined tasting ability.”

Move over wine, beer is raising the bar  

SCTV legends, Bob and Doug McKenzie, would probably be blown away by Mirella’s accomplishment. No doubt they would say “beauty.”

Experts like Mirella are reshaping the future of beer with their specialized knowledgeable and passion for the craft. With consumer demand for specialized beer expertise on the rise and the burgeoning craft-beer industry, the concept of beer experts with an elite pedigree is garnering credibility and respect.

“Because my area of specialization is so new, it’s important to me that people know they can trust my level of expertise. The Craft Beer Institute’s Cicerone program provides exactly that; it’s an independent assessment by an established and credible organization,” says Mirella Amato.

The master wine sommelier had better watch out, as the popularity, novelty, and abundance of beer is embraced by a new breed of hip gourmet foodies and drinkers.

About the award: The Cicerone® Certification Program

The Master Cicerone® title is the third and top level of the program

  • Mirella Amato is only the second Canadian to attempt the Master Cicerone® exam and she is the first to pass
  • Founded in 2007, the Cicerone® Certification Program tests and certifies beer expertise similar to the wine world’s Master Sommelier program
  • The first level in the program is Certified Beer Server, the second level is Certified Cicerone®
  • Through 2012, there have been 36 attempts by applicants to pass the third-level Master Cicerone® exam resulting in the current roster of six Master Cicerones
  • Mirella Amato’s certification reflects the evolution of the Canadian beer scene. She is the first person outside of the USA to earn the title of Master Cicerone®

About BeerologyTM

Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato provides high caliber consulting to pubs, restaurants and breweries. Her expertise and specialized service include: advising on beer selection, beer descriptions for menus and food pairing recommendations, directing guided beer tastings, and sensory analysis training. For more on what Mirella does, please visit her website: http://beerology.ca/

To contact Mirella Amato directly, please email: tastings@beerology.ca


Additional information >

The knowledge required for the Master Cicerones® certification is outlined in the program’s 19-page Master Syllabus which can be viewed at www.cicerone.org. The website provides information on the other levels of certification leading up to the Master Cicerone® exam.

The Cicerone® Certification Program is a service of the Craft Beer Institute, the Chicago-based beer and brewing education organization. The program is directed by brewer, author and beer educator Ray Daniels. A wide range of breweries, beer distributors and retailers participate in the program.

Master Cicerone®, Certified Cicerone® and Cicerone® Certification Program are trademarks of the Craft Beer Institute, a Chicago-based beer and brewing education organization.


After receiving the press release from Mirella, I asked her the following questions:

  • What are your thoughts on the beers coming out of Atlantic Canada?
  • Last March you hosted a Women Love Beer Too Event sponsored byPicaroons.  Do you have any plans for future events in Atlantic Canada?

Here is her response:

I had a fantastic time in Fredericton earlier this year, working with Picaroons and the Garrison District Ale House on some beer tastings. I was also brought in by Garrison Brewing last year to lead some tastings at Seaport BeerFest, which gave me a great opportunity to sample beers from all over Atlantic Canada. As of now, I don’t have any upcoming gigs in your area but I do hope to have the opportunity to work out East again soon! I’ve met so many people out there who are passionate about beer, both from the consumer side and on the brewing side of things. It’s a great energy! Out here in Toronto, we don’t have access to a lot of beers from Atlantic Canada, so I love being able to come down and discover what’s brewing. Also, I’ve become quite obsessed about getting out to The Laundromat Espresso Bar in Moncton…. I think it’s awesome that there’s a brewery so tiny that it only has one tap in one place in the whole entire world… it rouses the beer geek in me!

Picaroons is celebrating International Women’s Day by presenting a “Ladies Love Beer Too” event March 8th at the Crown Plaza Lord Beaverbrook from 6pm to 10pm. Tickets are $30 / person and available at the Picaroons Brewtique with all proceeds going to the Fredericton Arts & Learning Centre.

Mirella Amato, Canada’s first female, and seventh overall Cicerone (beer sommerlier) will lead the beer tasting and discussion on food pairings and history of women and beer. She is one of only ten National Level Beer Judge Certification Program judges in the country and has sat on the jury for multiple national and international beer events.  She is also a regular contributor to my favourite magazine.

As per her website, the goal of her sessions is

“not to make beer recommendations based on my taste, but rather to share the tools necessary for each participant to zero in on their own personal favourites. I aim to get people excited about beer and point them in the right direction so that they can confidently continue exploring on their own. I also like to provide the context for each beer, including historical tidbits as well as anecdotes on brands, breweries and styles.”