Back to the classroom to

MOST men think they are qualified to talk about beer but now a new course on the Suffolk coast will put that assumption to the test.

Russell Claydon

MOST men think they are qualified to talk about beer but now a new course on the Suffolk coast will put that assumption to the test.

It is hoped the county's first ever regular Beer Academy course will get taste buds tempting people back into the classroom.

The Anchor, at Walberswick, will host its inaugural lesson in all things beer related on Friday, as its landlord looks to reverse the negative image of beer drinkers against wine buffs.

Students will be given tuition in everything from knowledge of raw materials and the brewing process to identifying flavours and how to pair a bottle of ale or lager with a meal.

Mark Dorber, the landlord of The Anchor, and a founding father of the Beer Academy, said: “The foundation course is an introduction to the world of brewing and to beer styles.

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“The courses will open people's eyes to the magic and beauty of beer. It will give people a very good understanding of British beer and it does not stop there as we will be looking at beers from all around the world.”

Mr Dorber, who has 28 years experience in the brewing industry, helped establish the Beer Academy in 2003 with the aim of it becoming a world leader in the provision of education and training in the understanding and appreciation of beer.

The one day courses will take place in the surroundings of The Anchor's renovated flint barn and is open to both the public and companies in East Anglia, but Mr Dorber said he hopes it will be just the start for beer education in the county.

“I hope to promote sensitive beer tourism in Suffolk,” he said. “In France you can go on special wine trails and I see no reason why we can't have Suffolk beer trails.

“We have one of the best climates for barley growing in Britain here and we play an important role for the British beer economy.”

Each participant in the Beer Academy Foundation Course will get to taste 12 different-styled beers from a Belgian white to a British barley wine. Home brewing and responsible drinking are also part of the curriculum.

The course claims beer is more complex than wine and Mr Dorber hopes to change the public perception of beer drinkers.

He said: “We are trying to show this country's beer heritage and that its beers are every bit as interesting as it's Belgian cousins.

“This is not an anti-wine campaign but rather a pro-beer one.

“If you want to become a master of wine you go and take exams in it but as yet you cannot become a master of beer, but this is one of the first steps we are taking towards that.”

The course, which is run over six hours, is approved by the Institute for Brewing and Distillation - the industry's most recognised examining body.

Candidates learn through the day before taking a multiple choice exam. If they pass they will receive a Foundation Certificate.

The course costs £120 per person excluding VAT and includes lunch. Anyone interesting in enrolling can phone the Beer Academy for a registration form on 02074998144 or email Mr Dorber on

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