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Lee Noble knows beer and wine: Lancaster County’s only cicerone passes sommelier exam – Online Beer and Wine
Ask Lee Noble what he’s drinking and it might be a dry-hopped sour beer, a glass of pinot noir or maybe a whiskey.
He knows what he likes, and he also has two certifications to show he has expertise when it comes to both wine and beer.
In November, Noble passed the certified sommelier exam, the second of four tests required to become a master sommelier.
This test came two years after he passed the certified cicerone (sis-uh-rohn) exam, the second of four levels of beer knowledge.
It took a lot of trial, error and practice, but those two certifications put him in rare company.
Noble, the bar manager at Pour, a restaurant at 114 N. Prince St., is one of just 68 certified cicerones in Pennsylvania and the only one in Lancaster County, according to the Craft Beer Institute.
With his newest certification, he’s joining about 100 certified sommeliers in Pennsylvania, including three with Lancaster addresses, said Kathleen Lewis, executive director of the Court of Master Sommeliers.
After blind taste tests, lots of reading and on-the-job service practice, Noble has the knowledge, skills and vocabulary to help customers pick the right drink. He also can help people learn how to correctly store and serve alcoholic beverages.
Noble, 34, has worked in the restaurant industry since he was a teenager. He shifted to the bar side of the industry because, although it’s hard work, it’s instantly gratifying and a lot of fun. In 2009, Noble moved from Indiana to Lancaster to be closer to family.
During an interview, he shared details about the two tests and how he prepared for them. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Why did you go for these certifications?
I was a beer drinker and was kind of growing in my taste with the craft beer movement. So when I took on the role as head bartender, I set my sights on doing the cicerone thing to expand my repertoire in the beer world.
My former boss (Eric Garman) had a great wine repertoire and a good reputation for building this wine program here. So I looked at him and said, “I want to learn more about wine than this guy.” The most immediate way I could conceive of to do that was to start the certification process.
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