This year 15 years ago Axel Kiesbye from Obertrum am See near Salzburg, Austria established the course for Diplom Biersommelier in a collaboration with Doemens-Akademie in Grafelfing near München, Germany. Axel was the brewmaster of Trumer back then. Normally, this third level for the course would take two weeks, one in München, one in Obertrum, followed by a hefty exam. But the two-level course of the Dutch StiBON to Biersommelier is of such a level that we may try to do it in two days.
I was a tad bit anxious about it beforehand. Not only because of all the mystery surrounding these two days,
Mark van Bergen, Edrinks
“what happens in Obertrum, stays in Obertrum”
but also because three days after the StiBON level 2 exam four months earlier I had surgery for the second tumor discovered in me in three years. I was quite optimistic when I signed up for Obertrum, figuring four months would be enough to recover, but as March came nearer and nearer I had to admit to myself I was not quite there yet. Judy (fellow student) and Maurus (already Diplom Biersommelier) convinced me to email Axel Kiesbye about this just before the trip, and he was very understanding and arranged a resting place for me so I could go into the course a little bit less afraid and with a safety net.
Thanks to a two-week vacation planned around these two days I was already in Salzburg the day before, and even with the mandatory introduction beers the evening before I could start quite well rested.
It were two days chock full of information (from 8.30h tot 22.00h!), but also a lot of fun, new found friends, a lot of practice, a lot of beers and a lot of food. The first day we learned about Germany and Austria and their discord about beer history and about their beer styles. We learned about barrels, the chemistry of wood and barrel aging. We learned about the influence of glasswork on the taste of the beer, certainly a subject I want to dive deeper in later on. Through a seven course meal on the second morning we learned more about cooking with beer and beer and food pairing. I shall not mention the butter.
Most importantly we experienced the influence five basic flavors have on each other. Certainly, we already learned the theory of this during StiBON 1 and 2, but now we could actually taste and feel what they do for, to and against each other. How bitterness enhances spiciness and how sweetness can mask saltiness, sourness and spiciness. It was a perfect ending to almost two years of studying beer and I want to thank Axel, Jens, Oliver and Karl again for everything they did for us!
A test and a tour through Trumer brewery later, we all got our diploma’s! And not just that, our group had the 200th Dutch Diplom Biersommelier Nathan Hak, which of course we had to celebrate as well.
Unfortunately the infamous Partystadl has closed down, but we found something else… (but… what happens in Obertrum, stays in Obertrum)
So, now I’m officially Doemens-StiBON Diplom Biersommelière! And I’ve got a firm base to study beer further. Where shall I begin?