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HALF MOON BAY, Calif.  – September 16, 2016 – The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay Sommelier Stephen Allison has earned his accreditation as a Certified Cicerone, a designation from the Cicerone Certification Program recognizing hospitality professionals with proven experience in selecting, acquiring and serving today's wide range of beers.

“The program is modeled after the Court of Master Sommelier's certifications for wine, but it's all about beer,” says Allison. “Similar to the Sommelier certification, the goal is to test your skills against a standard to ensure that the service provided and knowledge communicated to guests is of the highest quality. My certificate states that as a Cicerone it is my responsibility to provide consumers with the highest quality beer and accurate, informative beer information,” he added.

When asked about his favorite beer available at the resort, he selected the Hangar 24 Orange Wheat Beer. “It’s made in Redlands, CA and brewed with locally grown navel oranges. It is a nod to the Belgian Wheat style, a style hundreds of years old that is brewed with the peel of bitter oranges, but it’s also representative of Californian since it is brewed with sweet navel oranges which are commonly grown in California. I recommend it as a pairing with salmon because of its low bitterness and high carbonation which does wonders to cleanse the palate of the fish's oils and the orange flavor marries beautifully with the dill and lemon seasonings commonly used when preparing salmon,” he said.

In addition to earning his Certified Cicerone, Allison’s American Amber Ale won Second Place in the Santa Cruz County Fair’s Homebrew Competition. Allison is also only one of two Certified Cicerones at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., the other being Jonathan Quick at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes.

About the Cicerone Certification Program

The Cicerone Certification Program seeks to ensure that consumers receive the best quality beer at every service occasion. To facilitate this, those who sell and serve beer need to acquire knowledge in five areas including keeping and serving beer, beer styles, beer flavor and evaluation, beer ingredients and brewing processes, and pairing beer with food. The program offers four levels of certification beginning with the simplest and building to the most complex and demanding Certified Beer Server, Certified Cicerone, Advanced Cicerone and Master Cicerone, with only 11 people holding this status.