You can’t be more passionate than this: Andrea Kalrait, Director Exhibitions BrauBeviale, is now also a qualified beer sommelière

She is firmly established in the beverages sector, on first-name terms with many brewers and does her job with the greatest passion. Because when it comes to the subject of beer, she is committed to it heart and soul – both professionally as well as privately. Andrea Kalrait has been at NürnbergMesse GmbH for 25 years and since 2013 Director of Exhibitions at BrauBeviale, one of the most important equipment shows for the beverages sector. With immediate effect she is also in charge of the strategy for international trade fairs in key growth markets, which are grouped together under the Beviale Family. In spring 2017, she went one step further and trained to become a beer sommelière on a two-week crash-course. In an interview she has now revealed to us what prompted this decision, to what extent her taste for beer has changed as a result and how she would like to contribute her newly-acquired know-how to the next BrauBeviale Triple (2018/2019/2020).

1. What gave you the idea to train as a beer sommelière?

Andrea Kalrait: For almost 22 years now I have been in charge of BrauBeviale and have dedicated myself professionally to the product beer. As I am a person who really enjoys things, it was only a question of time until the passion for beer and enthusiasm for its diversity also caught up with me on a private level. The key experience for me was a discussion with Dr. Wolfgang Stempfl, Managing Director of the Doemens Academy, during a tasting session for the Consumers' Favourite Awards – the general public award at the European Beer Star – at BrauBeviale six years ago. There I became aware of several things about the diversity of beers. In the past few years I have participated at many different events in order to further extend my know-how. As a result, I've already been a member of the European Beer Star tasters' committee since 2014 – a very exciting task with a lot of responsibility. For me, the training as a beer sommelière was the ideal way to complement my previous knowledge with profound know-how and, beyond that, to gain a better understanding of the way brewers work and the challenges they face.

2. Could you briefly describe the two weeks which you spent training at the Doemens Academy and the BierKulturHaus? What were they like in practical terms?

Andrea Kalrait: They were two very intensive weeks, which were crammed full with special themes from morning to evening. "Non-brewers" in particular must learn all the course elements from scratch – and our course was indeed the first without any previously qualified brewers among the participants. The nature of the course involves us taking a really deep look into the brewing process. I learnt which chemical reactions take place here, what the task of hops and yeast is and also got to know the structure, significance and hygiene of the draft (beer) dispensing system. The first week at Doemens in Gräfelfing was particularly characterized by theory and history and we concerned ourselves with the origin and development of diverse beer styles. During the second week at the BierKulturHaus in Obertrum, we then really got stuck in and brewed our own beer: an Oatmeal Stout. In Obertrum we also addressed the subject of tasting and learnt a great deal about the interaction of beer with cheese or chocolate as well as what you need to know when cooking with beer. As part of the final exams, we developed our own beer menu. So these were two very diverse weeks.

3. Have you already got ideas about how you can include your newly-acquired know-how in your daily job as Director Exhibitions at BrauBeviale?

Andrea Kalrait: The next BrauBeviale will be held from 13 to 15 November 2018 in Nuremberg. The newly-acquired know-how and the associated understanding will no doubt come into play here and there at BrauBeviale. On an international level, the craft beer theme in particular is playing an important role for NürnbergMesse. In May, CRAFT BEER CHINA, a member of our Beviale Family, will be held. Here, I have also already been assigned the first concrete task: together with our partner Doemens, I will be hosting an evening on the theme of beer and the appropriate food that goes with it. In addition, at the beginning of May, I was a member of the tasting jury at the Meininger Craft Beer Award. In August, I will once again be a member of the tasting jury at the European Beer Star.

Many thanks for the interview!

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