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Jack Van Paepeghem Earns Advanced Cicerone Certification

Jack Van Paepeghem of Oxbow Brewing Company and The Maine Brew Bus earns one of six Advanced Cicerone certifications worldwide, and the only one in New England.

Jack Van Paepeghem serves up a beer at Oxbow Blending and Bottling in Portland, ME. Portland Press Herald photo

Jack Van Paepeghem of Portland is one of six people worldwide who have attained their Advanced Cicerone certification, the new third level of certification between Certified Cicerone and Master Cicerone.

To become an Advanced Cicerone, candidates must achieve a score of 80 or higher on an exam that includes six hours of written questions, four taste panels, and two oral exams. Forty candidates participated in the first exams administered in Chicago in early February, only six people achieved a passing score.

Van Paepeghem, who works at Oxbow Brewing Company in Portland, is also the Curriculum Coordinator for The Maine Brew Bus. In these roles he provides beer education for company team members, the hospitality industry, and the general public.

“Portland is consistently ranked as one of the best cities in the nation for beer, and I want to help uphold this reputation through progressive beer education on all levels,” Van Paepeghem said this week.

The Cicerone Certification Program seeks to ensure that those who sell and serve beer are encouraged to acquire knowledge in Storing and Serving Beer, Beer Styles, Beer Flavor and Evaluation, Beer Ingredients and Brewing Processes, and also Pairing Beer with Food.

“We are very pleased to recognize these individuals who have demonstrated distinctive expertise in beer,” said Ray Daniels, founder and director of the Cicerone Certification Program. “We expect they will contribute greatly to quality beer service through their professional activities in the many and varied ways that they serve the beer community.”

Originally from Sun Valley, Idaho, Van Paepeghem was working in one of Washington D.C.’s most regarded craft beer bars when he became the youngest Certified Cicerone in the area at the age of 23.

Looking to gain a more technical brewing background, he later traveled to Chicago and Munich with The Siebel Institute and Doemens Academy, where he got a first hand look at Europe’s various brewing traditions and earned his diploma in International Brewing Technology.

“It is incredibly exciting to be named as one of the country’s very first Advanced Cicerones,” said Van Paepeghem. “I am proud to represent not just Oxbow and The Maine Brew Bus, but Maine’s beer community as a whole.”

Don Littlefield is the General Manager of The Maine Brew Bus. He last enjoyed a Lagunitas Waldos’ Special Ale thanks to Rita, a big fan! Twitter: @BeerinME