An introduction to Craft Beer

  • Recommended


    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $75

    Learn in an online classroom with no more than 20 classmates. More

Course Description

In this craft beer course you'll learn from Matt Simpson - the world's first beer sommelier. Matt will give you a guide to craft beer types, the difference between craft beer and commercial beers, how beer is brewed and how to choose which beer to pair with food.

By the end of the course you’ll understand the creation process for beer, craft beer styles, craft beer tasting (appearance, aroma, flavour and mouthfeel), glassware (no plastic cups here, folks) and importantly food and beer combinations. You’ll be confident pairing the right beer with various meals including chocolate, cheese, desserts.

You'll learn:

  • about using grains, hops, malt, yeast and water in craft beer brewing
  • craft beer brewing processes
  • different craft beer styles around the world
  • beer glasses, storing beer and pairing beer with foods

The course includes:

  • 4 on-demand video lessons - presented by Matt Simpson
  • lifetime access to the videos, notes and interactive class
  • flexible classes - join and learn when and where you like
  • downloadable lesson notes
  • practical craft beer assignments and recipes (with tutor feedback available)
  • access on your mobile, PC, Mac or laptop
  • small interactive online classroom - chat online to students from around the world and share your creative ideas

Time to complete the craft beer course:

Every student is different but in general we think the whole course will take around 10 hours 10 minutes to complete including:

  • Video lessons: 2 hours 10 minutes in total
  • Course notes: 30 minutes per lesson
  • Your craft beer assignments: at least 1 hour per lesson
  • Interactive classroom time: 15 minutes per lesson
  • Tutor feedback review (Expert level): 15 minutes per lesson

You'll need:

You don't need any specific equipment for this course, but you will be tasting craft beer with Matt, so a selection of craft beers as you go through the lessons will help you to understand the differences between different craft beers.

Ready to get started?

Just add the course to your basket above - choose the 'Expert' option for personal feedback from Matt on your craft beer assignments.

If you know someone who'd love this course then give it as a gift - just tick "This is a gift" at the checkout.

Any questions? Contact us by clicking on the orange speech symbol - we'd love to hear from you.


A thirst for an understanding about Craft Beer from the one and only Beer Somelier, world expert, Matt Simpson

CPD Accreditation

Course activity has been accredited by the CPD Standards Office (CPDSO). The course equates to 10 hours of CPD learning.
The CPD Standards Office. CPD Provider: 50276.

Course outline

  • Grains, malts, hops, water, yeast

    Craft beer creation takes the sugar from grains, boils it with hops and water, cools it down, adds yeast, which eat the sugars, and turns them into carbon dioxide (or, CO2) and alcohol (and a few other things).

    But more specifically in lesson one we learn about the components that make up craft beers and what the combinations mean.

    We’ll cover:

    Hops (plant flowers for bittering): If beer is a soup, the hops are its spice.

    Water Water may be the most voluminous ingredient in the creation of beer, but for our purposes, it will take a back seat.

    Yeast In a nutshell, yeast are microorganisms that eat the sugars in the wort (the beer before its fermented) and make alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2), as their main byproducts…with a bunch of other flavor and aromatic components as well.

    Malt may be the backbone of beer, water the base and hops the spice…but yeast is the workhorse – the engine – that turns the soup into beer!

  • How is craft beer made

    In order to create a beer, much like any other gourmet dish, you need to formulate a recipe. The brewer selects from all the combinations of grains, water, hops and yeasts available, and comes up with a recipe to match the style guidelines (or personal taste) for which he’s looking to match. Once he/she’s created the recipe, it’s simply a matter of “cooking” the ingredients for their individually required times, volumes and combinations, until the “soup” is just right. In this lesson you will learn the different impacts of the combinations, at that craft beer making is as much art as it is science.

    You will learn the components of making craft beer in lesson two:

  • Craft Beer Styles

    As a trained and experienced beer judge, I believe that having delineated styles is not only healthy, but necessary. Why? Because without style guidelines and their inherent definitions, competition among brewers – both professional and homebrew – would be impossible. How else would it be possible to compare apples to apples, style for style, entry for entry, and see which brewer is more competent at adhering to a given set of parameters? It wouldn’t. Without someone outlining the levels of bitterness, color, gravity, aroma, flavor, and more - for any given beer type, competitions would be purely hedonic and subjective, not objective and impartial, as any competition should be judged. By the end of lesson three – you will understand the following styles and how they are judged: German Lagers, Ales, Czech Republic/Eastern European German Lagers, Ales, British Ales, American Ales, American Beers, Stouts and Lagers and more.

  • Beer Tasting, Presentation and Storage

    There’s nothing really complicated about drinking beer. You simply pick it up and drink, right? No, not really. Beer is an incredibly complex beverage that commands the respect of a proper pour, an inspecting glance and sniff, and finally, a taste.

    If you think about what goes into making a beer (water, malt, hops and yeast), then consider how many different varieties of each component there are, then multiply all the possible variations of those ingredients, you’ll realize how many possible variations of this beverage are possible…thousands. Which is what makes the Style Guidelines so important as a baseline.

    In this final lesson you will come away with the learning outcomes of understanding: Tasting beer properly, beer glassware, beer serving temperatures, and beer and food pairings.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option


    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Matt

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 4 assignments marked by Matt
    • Certificate of completion and CPD hours
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
  • The Peer option

    Discover the benefits of group learning in an online interactive classroom of no more than 20 people. Get the most from shared knowledge and community study

    • Start course whenever you like
    • Practise what you learn with your peers
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • 4 course assignments
    • Group chat & direct message classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more

Buy this course for a business or group

You can now buy this course through your business or organisation for individuals and groups up to 20

Food & Drink classroom - how it works

  • Start anytime

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors
  • Test yourself

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments
  • Personal tuition

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors
  • Share ideas

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

Meet Matt

Matt - Food & Drink
Matt Simpson has been involved with craft beer, in one regard or another, for well over two decades. He taught Beer Education 101 at Emory University, is a BJCP ( Certified Judge, Siebel/Doemens Bier Sommelier Certified, has been invited to judge the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) five years and counting, was an Administrator for (arguably, the largest beer website in the world, with over 450,000 members and growing - having created their trading site policy and sanctions for negligent traders), was co-founder and Managing Editor of (now defunct), was the President of Ale Atlanta (once one of the largest, organized groups of craft beer aficionados in the U.S.), is an award-winning homebrewer, with multiple ribbons won (including two in the AHA’s National Homebrew Competition), and owner of one of the largest, most robust and comprehensive beer cellars in the world...

...all starting long before there was such a thing as the "Craft Beer Revolution."

He's even a Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) certified BBQ judge!

Additionally, he wrote the “Ask Beer” column for BEER magazine, "Beer Talk...From the Wings," for Hooters magazine and the seasonal beer column for In The Mix magazine, a beverage-oriented publication that reaches such hospitality industry giants as The Four Seasons and Four Points Sheraton.

Mr. Simpson has been studying, traveling, brewing, writing and hosting craft beer tastings for decades, and is truly privileged to call some of the most accomplished industry professionals, brewers and beer aficionados in the world, friends.

With a broadcasting background as well, Mr. Simpson is also available to act as print or on-air “Beer Expert.” As reliable as he is personable, he is able to inform and educate, all while allowing his personal passion for beer to shine through to any audience. Whether speaking to laypeople or aficionados, Simpson educates, using language catered to his listeners, with an enlighteningly conversational style.

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Awards & Accreditations

  • Royal Horticultural Society - Approved Centre 2023-2024
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • CPD Accredited (provider 50276)
  • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Digital Health and Wellbeing Learning Product of the Year
  • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Adult Home Learning Product of the Year