“The exam was tough,” laughs Tonidandel, co-owner of Growlers Pour House in Charlotte. With an intense three-hour exam requiring competence in beer styles, draft systems, beer evaluation, brewing technology and beer and food pairings – the test finishes with a complex tasting portion. “Despite the difficulty, I’m happy to have done it,” he confirms, “and glad I can daily put my knowledge to good use.”
The Cicerone Certification Program, which was founded in 2007, tests and certifies beer expertise much like the Sommelier program in the wine world.
Armed with his new title, Tonidandel will continue to determine all the beers on tap at Growlers – his second restaurant concept (his other is Crepe Cellar Kitchen & Pub) in Charlotte, NC.
Selected as one of the Top 100 Beer Bars in the US by Draft Magazine for two years in a row, Growlers Pour House has a Beer Education every first Tuesday of the month at 7 pm. Tonidandel typically leads the discussion, or picks the topic of discussion whether it be on stouts, cooking with beer, or even chocolate and beer pairings.
Growlers may not boast the most beers on tap in Charlotte, but they have one of the most uniquely crafted lists as they rotate regularly and select all beers based on styles. The process and beer menu allow customers a way to try new beers based on the types of beer they tend to enjoy. Because many of the beers are from smaller breweries, and are not well-known, knowledgeable bar tenders and servers then assist the customers in choosing the “right” style of beer from the list.
The beer business is no new topic for Tonidandel. The restaurateur spent more than five years with the former Chip Ganasi Racing with Felix Sabates (now merged as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing) working on the Coors and Lone Star sponsorships. Building upon that knowledge, he opened up Crepe Cellar Kitchen & Pub followed by Growlers Pour House.
Tonidandel’s Certified Cicerone title now sets the neighborhood bar apart from many others around the city. And it comes at a time when the NoDa neighbhorhood is flourishing with beer opportunities with the opening of two, and soon to be three, breweries in the community.
Among the other Certified Cicerones in North Carolina are: Cliff Mori (Arden, NC); Matthew Pennisi (Chapel Hill, NC); Erik Myers (Durham, NC); David Wren (Morrisville, NC); Eric McCrory (Raleigh, NC); Eric Rylander (Wilmington, NC).
For more information on the Certified Cicerones® Program, please visit: http://www.cicerone.org/
About Growlers Pour House
Growlers Pour House is a Charlotte gastropub serving craft beer & beer food. Owned by Jeff Tonidandel, and Paul Manley with Damian Dining, Growlers Pour House is located just two miles north of Uptown Charlotte, at 3120 N. Davidson Street, Charlotte, NC 28205. For more information, visit www.growlerspourhouse.com, www.twitter.com/