We find that most trips we make to Lower East Side craft beer shop and bar Top Hops are educational–owner Ted Kenny has culled an impressive community of serious beer-lovers on both sides of the bar, and drinkers and pourers alike are more than willing to engage in a discussion of styles, brewers, and the local industry so that even total geeks are likely to come away with some new bit of knowledge. Those interested in a more formal lesson, though, will be pleased to learn that the shop is unveiling a series of classes with a level two cicerone–the beer industry’s equivalent of a certified sommelier–that begin tonight.
“This is the first formal class that we’re offering,” explains bar manager Eric Hanson. “We’ve done lectures and talks with brewmasters and different purveyors, but this is our first time using what’s almost a curriculum.” Cicerone Justin Crider will cover specific aspects of the beer industry on Monday nights, traipsing through subjects like hops (tonight’s class), barrel-aged beers (October 28), and off flavors in the bottle (November 11). Those classes cost $50 a pop and include beer tastings (because how else would you learn?); you can purchase access to the full run of five for $200.
If you’d like a more general overview of beer–or perhaps the knowledge to take your own drinking habit beyond a six-pack of Stella–you might want to check out this Saturday’s class, called An Introduction to Beer. “We’ll focus on looking at different beer styles, getting into it, tasting, and what to expect from bottles,” says Hanson.
Space in these classes is limited–and the bar manager notes that the sour beers lesson is already sold out–so get on reserving as soon as possible if you’re interested. Check out the roster and then shoot an email with the title of your preferred class in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. Tonight’s class runs from 6:30 until 8 p.m.