Craft beer taster

The beer sommelier

Michael König has turned his hobby into a career – as a beer sommelier, he gives interested people a better understanding of the subject of beer. In an interview, he talks about his exciting and fascinating work.

"Sommelier" is a term familiar from wine. What makes a beer sommelier?

Michael König: The work of a beer sommelier is pretty varied. Most of the time, I hold seminars and tastings, and in this way give people a better understanding of the subject of beer, and I also advise guests on which beer goes which food. The training on a beer sommelier helps you look outside the box and create new beers.

How do you become a beer sommelier?

Michael König: My hobby has always been beer. I have a blog where i taste and present different beers. So, I received an invitation to a beer seminar from the German Beer Academy, and this is where I first came into contact with beer sommeliers. While I was training, I got to know many different styles of beer and became immersed in a world of aromas. You become part of the international 'beer sommelier family' and meet up for a beer every now and again with people from all over the world.

What makes a craft beer and where does the term come from?

Michael König: The subject of craft beer and the growing number of beer sommeliers put beer as a beverage back on the map again. Craft beer thrives on variety, creativity and honesty. Behind every beer and every brewery, there are stories that want to be told. The term itself comes from the US. After the Prohibition, the US beer market was dominated by just a handful of breweries. The late 70s and early 80s saw the advent of a home-brewer movement and it was from this that the first craft breweries emerged.

The blog you operate is 'neubierig.de'. How did you hit on that?

Michael König: As I like to dabble with social media I got the idea of combining beer and social media. One day, as I was about to go to bed, the word 'neubierig' suddenly occurred to me, which in German is a cross between curious and beery. I thought it was really cool and immediately secured the domains. As I studied IT, it didn't take long before the blog was up and running.

Do you have any hobbies apart from beer?

Michael König: When your hobby becomes your profession, you don't need anything else.But I enjoy spending time with my children, or doing a bit of sport, otherwise a beer belly will grow even more.

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