Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beer Brunch 2009

Mrs. Cicerone is mopping the floors, and there are about three more loads to run through the dishwasher, but otherwise, it's over. Oh, there may also be a few tasty morsels left over, as well. We're too tired to puke out too much flowery prose about the insouciance of the Belgian ale as counterpoint to the ebullience of the confit, etc, so just check out the menu...

Ginger Wheat Ale
Lobster salad in brioche
Rare tuna in wonton cup with ginger cream
Guinness 250th Anniversary Stout
French onion soup & Reyes blue cheese toast
Hacker Pschorr Oktoberfest
Heirloom tomato, cheddar, chevre, and brie pie
Salad greens dressed with tomato vinaigrette
Les Deux Brasseurs Belgian “wild” ale
Poached quail egg over linguine with carbonara, shallots & black truffle
Intermezzo: Grass Roots Saison Sorbet
Rye Peppercorn Pale Ale
Roast pork tenderloin in ginger lemon glaze with artichoke, couscous, and preserved lemon
Polenta in mole sauce and caramelized corn
New York Cheesecake
The stash from the cellar
Assorted Chocolates and Cheeses

(beers not noted otherwise were homemade)

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oktoberfest At Slows: Recap

Whew. That was fun, even what with getting drenched. Terry's DJ stuff didn't have to get shuttled inside until after he'd played our O'fest favorites, the Scorpions. Draft dispense started off shaky, with some warm kegs combined with a cold plate jockey box, a sure recipe for foam. Fortunately, this being beer geek heaven, Jon P. had a coil box in his car, and the kegs were tamed, mostly. Check out these goodies:

Draft beer:

Hofbrau Original
Ayinger Marzen
Erdinger O'fest weizen
Weihenstephan festbier
Atwater Blocktoberfest
Schlenkerla Marzen (mini kegs)
Coney Island Freaktoberfest


Flying Dog Dogtoberfest
Avery Kaiser Imperial O'Fest


Cheese soup
Bratwurst, knackwurst, weisswurst
Red Cabbage
German potato salad
And the guest of honor!

This little guy was stuffed with sausage, apples, onions, and parsnips, and smoked all day. Chefs Brian and Mike pulled rank and ate his cheeks, but Mr. Cicerone was able to score a tasty morsel from his lil' smokey belly. Of course, he tasted wonderful with some Schlenkerla. The potato salad was amazingly good, so rich that I surely do not want to know how much bacon fat was in it. Not much point in talking beer-food pairings with this lot, as all of the beers are 'utility players' and taste good with just about any hearty food. Except: The Kaiser by itself comes off a bit overly sweet, but with the strudel, aww, yeah.

BONUS Scary Link

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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Feinschmeckers Are Coming!

OK it's Sam, not Paul, but Paul Revere didn't actually yell out a warning about the British, either. We are at the final countdown to our annual beer brunch; nervously watching the weather, readying the mountain of plates, glasses, cutlery, cooking, cellar stuff, acquiring tables and chairs, printing menus. This is nowhere near the biggest event we host at our house, but the meal is ambitious in scope, thus we can accommodate, at maximum, around 16 people. And if it rains, doing it indoors in our tiny house, well, let's just say it had better not rain....

Reason Number 32

... why our draft setup is different from the average kegerator. The LED readout on the right is the digital temp controller, scavenged from medical equipment. Two regulators allow us to keep the mild ale, etc, from getting too fizzy, while keeping the pils nice and lively. And the thing in the foreground that resembles a high-tech commode is the combination draft line and keg cleaner. That little baby heats and recirculates PBW solution through our brewery and dispensing equipment, getting it good and clean with less wear and tear on the cellarmaster than manual methods. Coming soon, the self-cleaning drip tray and drain....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Harvest Time!

Doug gets things started:
Greetings and salutations!

It's harvest time! Did you know that Michigan ranks second in the nation in the number of agricultural commodities produced (California is number 1)?! We grow more soybeans, dry beans, blueberries, and tart cherries than any state in the country. And we rank in the top ten in more than a dozen other categories! We also rank #6 in the number of breweries and #8 in the volume of beer produced. I say that's worthy of a celebration!
This week we'll celebrate our 3rd annual Harvest Fest. Tuesday through Sunday we'll feature a wonderful special menu of Michigan grown foods and Michigan inspired recipes (more on the food later). Wednesday through Friday we'll release new beers each night (a total of five beers)!
On Wednesday we'll release "Buring Leaf Lager", which is a big batch of what I'll call an Oktoberfest-style lager. Now purists would say, "Doug, this isn't true to style!". My response would be, "Go ---- yourself while enjoying this malty lager with a nice touch of hop flavor and bitterness!" Also on Wednesday, we'll have the second half of "Cherries Gone Wild". This is an ale fermented with cherry juice and wild yeast that was first released at Brew-Ha-Ha! Because this is probably the biggest event of the year Downriver, the mayor of Lincoln Park will be on hand to kick off the festivities.
On Thursday, we'll have "Ale Nouveau", which is a small batch of a wet-hopped ale made with hops grown right here in Lincoln Park. Wet-hopping means the hops were picked right from the vine and used immediately. This results in less bitterness (although it still has plenty of that) and a wonderful and unique flavor. Also on Thursday, we have "Golden Delicious". This a small batch ale made with apples and brown sugar. If you like apple pie, beer, winning the lottery, or having your dog drive you to the beach while you stick your head out the window, you'll love this beer! If that's not enough excitement for ya, how about some live music from "McSpillin"? They play Irish and folk music with Peter, Paul, and Mary-like harmonies.
Finally, on Friday we'll release "Pompoenoogst". In case you forgot everthing Mrs. De Roover taughty ya, that's Flemish for "pumpkin harvest". If Flemish brewers brewed pumpkin beers, I feel this is how they would brew them. If you like pumpkin pie, beer, or a bag full of nothing but brand-name candy bars at Halloween, you'll love this beer! Of course, every night we'll have prizes, games, and the company of some of the finest people you'll ever meet!
Have you heard about this "Harvest Beer Festival" the Michigan Brewers Guild is putting on at Eastern Market on October 24th? We have, and we thought it was such a good idea that we decided to join the MBG again! In fact, we're so excited about it, we decided to charter a bus to take a group of serious beer lovers with us! For just $55 (more or less depending on the number of people), you can get lunch and beer before the bus departs, a ticket to the festival, and round-trip transportation. I have faith that the bus will fill up quickly, so don't delay!
Just a little FYI for those of you coming here from the west or via I-75 or I-94. Starting this week and lasting for the next 14 months, Southfield will be reduced to two lanes each direction through Allen Park. In less your coming at rush hour, it probably won't affect you much.
Our drink of the week this week is Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum. You can get a Jerry & Coke for just $2.25 all week long! You already know that we have $2 tostados, turkey legs, and $2 beers for Fan Club members every Tuesday. But did you know that if you go to any Mrs. Fields Cookie Store on October 1st, they'll give ya a free cookie! You don't even need to mention my name to get it!
This week on, "The Chef Who Bought The Farm"; you'll hear Francisco say, "I didn't know that's what a cow pie was!!" You'll also hear Adam say, "I don't see why they call it ranch dressing".
On your harvest plate this week, look for Navy Bean Dip (#1 bean state in the country), Harvest Salad (made with tart cherries, another #1 crop), BBQ Grape Chicken Wrap (we're #4 in grapes), Ham & Apple Stromboli (made with two more of our top ten ag items), Pasties (it's a Yooper thing), Cherry Pork Chops, Honey Fried Walleye, Apple Butter Salmon, Pumpkin Black Bean Bake (made with beef, beans, and pumpkin), Blueberry Pie, and Pumpkin Cheesecake. Side dishes include baked potatoes, asparagus caserole, red beans and rice, black bean corn salad, corn on the cob, and apple-cherry stuffing. We'll also have a new soup each day which will include cream of celery soup, sweet potato chowder, pea soup, corn chowder, and pumpkin soup.
To summarize: hard-workin' farmers in Michigan, busy cooks in our kitchen, lots of new beers (I'm always busy), drinkin' beer with the mayor, spillin' your beer with McSpillin, a bus-load of beer drinkers going to the big city, orange barrels sproutin' on Southfield, Sailor Jerry, free cookies, cow pies and cow tippin', lots of tasty food at much lower prices than you'd pay in the big city, and happy 2nd anniversary wishes to my beautiful wife!

See ya soon,

Fort Street Brewery
1660 Fort St.
Lincoln Park, MI
(313) 389-9620

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Oktoberfest, tonight at Slows!

They are putting up a tent, so even if it's raining, the show will go on!

7 draft beers, two bottled beers, cheese soup, wurst, sauerbraten, kraut, pretzels, AND there is a small suckling pig being smoked as we speak....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hoist a Tankard, Mateys!

It be that day again! Yaarr!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Detroit Beer Week

From our friend Jon Piepenbrok:

Here's the skinny...

Prompted by the Guild's decision to host the new Fall event in Detroit (finally!), I had the idea to organize Detroit Beer Week. Similarly, Bil Lusa was putting together a couple of special events to celebrate beer in Detroit the same week. Long story short, Bil and I have had several discussions regarding the planning of this monumental and soon to be legendary week-long series of events leading up to the Harvest Festival.

(The Harvest Festival is an MBG event at Detroit's Eastern Market.)

The week is slated to kick off Friday October 16, with events each day, leading up to the Harvest Festival on Saturday October 24, with the final events being held Sunday the 25th...

We see the Harvest Festival, and Detroit Beer Week, as not only a way to promote Great Beer in SE Michigan and Detroit, but also as a way to promote the value and beauty of our beloved city as well. That being said events will consist of everything from pub crawls to historic brewing tours to educational sessions to tastings, beer dinners and more; all focusing on Michigan Beer and the City of Detroit...

Our current list of venues we have already spoken
to or want to be involved include:

Atwater Block Brewery
Motor City Brewing Works
Traffic Jam and Snug
Detroit Beer Co
Slow's Bar-B-Q
Foran's Grand Trunk Pub
24 Grille
Park Bar

Sounds good, yes?

Contact Jon for more info:

Jon Piepenbrok
Detroit Beer Week

There is also alleged to be a Facebook page for the event....

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Batch #307 - Irish Stout be served from the cask at Aaron and Beth's wedding. And for inspiration?

Mr. C's Brother Reviews Jolly Pumpkin Cafe

Right here. 'Twas nice; we'll be returning soon....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I like pie

What to do with a bunch of huge, fresh Pink Caspian Heirlooms culled from our garden?

Make pie!That would be with a filling of said Heirlooms, cheese (wensleydale, chevre & manchego), green onion and fresh basil & thyme baked into a rich buttery pate sucre crust. Mmmmm.

Serve with a malty beer such as Maibock (especially if made by Mr Cicerone) or a Munich Dunkel, such as Ettaler Kloster Dunkel.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dinner, 7 September

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Crawfish boil, homemade pils. Any questions?

This Week At Fort Street

From Doug:

How about a new beer to help cure the end of summer blues? This Thursday, September 10th at 8ish p.m., we'll be tapping "Rice & Rye Tri-PA". As the name might imply, it's an IPA made with rice and rye. Somehow, that just didn't seem interesting enough, so I decided to use three different yeast strains as well. If you were fortunate enough to have "Devilish Doug", "Backyard IPA", and "Sai What?", then you've had all three yeast strains before. My initial thoughts are that it's an orgasmic explosion of deliciousness. At 9% ABV, it'll also get ya drunk! As usual, we'll have some fabulous prizes for a few lucky folks in attendance for the tapping.

New Holland Beer Dinner at Wolfgang Puck's

Via the Rave Associates newsletter:

Wolfgang Puck Grille Beer Dinner - Sept 30, 7:00pm

Join Chef Marc Djozlija, the Wolfgang Puck Staff and Brett VanderKamp founder of New Holland Brewing for a journey to the world of food and beer with Michigan's own New Holland Brewing, from Holland Michigan. This five course beer dinner is paired with five New Holland beers, Full Circle, Mad Hatter, The Poet, Golden Cap, and Sundog. $40 per guest. Reservations requested. Please call Wolfgang Puck 313-465-1648

Not being casino fans, we have not yet visited Marc's place, but check out the menus at their website. Sounds promising....

I will just add....

...that even though I'm not a huge dessert person, the herb-infused creme caramel combined with Collaboration Holiday Ale had me swooning with rapture.

Overdue: Report on Stone Dinner at Slows

The most recent Beer Club Dinner at SlowsBBQ featuring the beers of Stone Brewing was overwhelmingly good, and took some fortitude to get through. Thought you might like to see what you missed:

Boquerones, Roasted Garlic, Caramelized Onion, Sundried Tomato, Sesame Cracker
Levitation Ale

Yellowfin Tuna, Tempura Zucchini, Heirloom Tomato, Grilled Sweet Corn
Smoked Porter

Yukon Gold Blini, Beef Tenderloin, Pancetta, Haricot Vert
Stone Pale Ale

Smoked Lamb Shank Sandwich, Carrot and Parsnip, Fennel Butter Griddled Sourdough
Oaked Arrogant Bastard

Bacon Cured Sea Scallop, Braised Grains, Balsamic Glazed Shitake
Ruination IPA

Glazed Pork Belly, Radicchio, Endive, Arugula, Bittersweet Chocolate, Plums, Caramel-Sherry Vinaigrette
Stone 13th Anniversary Ale

Juniper, Ginger, Rosemary infused Crème Caramel
Collaboration Holiday Ale Stone/Jolly Pumpkin/Nogne O

Ciceroney notes:

The lamb shank sandwich and accompaniments just about put Mr. Cicerone into a pleasure-induced coma. Chances are, at these dinners, that if there is a delicious meaty sandwich on the menu, that Chef Brian's protege Mike is behind it. The bacon-cured scallop, also Mike's course, was indeed cured like bacon, and was extremely salty and smokey. On its own, it was a bit much, which is how we at Chez Cicerone are inclined to look at Ruination, as well. Together, they were very good- their intensity levels were well-matched. The braised grain (quinoa,) and the shiitakes, also had some nice interplay with the beer, accentuating some earthy hop notes.

The pork belly was wonderful with its sweet glaze, and a natural with the big, malty 13th Anniversary Ale. Mr. Cicerone has not always been the biggest fan of this currently trendy meat, but was blown away by this delicious preparation that Chef Brian's buddy Marc provided the recipe for.

Next beer dinner is a week early, on 21 September, and will be buffet style on the patio to accommodate more people. See you there!

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A Simple Dinner

Our friend Tracy gave us a nice bunch of beet greens from her garden (again.) (Thanks, Tracy!) Past experience has taught that such greens are delicious when gently sauteed with some chopped ginger root and a bit of onion. Mrs. Cicerone cleverly and efficiently turned this into a 'one pot' dinner by steaming a fillet of red snapper on top of the greens. Both the cooking liquid and the beer on the table were homemade ginger wheat ale. As they say in Oz, noice!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dinner With Friends

A small piece of advice: If Tyler Barber invites you over for dinner, go. Tyler and Connie Barber are members of a group called "Dinner With Friends" that take turns hosting fancy meals. Tyler is also one of the most talented homebrewers in Michigan, as well as a barbecue maniac. A better reporter would have pictures of his twin homemade 55 gallon drum smokers. This is what we were treated with last weekend:

Smoked Salmon Spread with Toasted Flatbread
Smoked Queso with Tortilla Chips
Smoked, Stuffed, and Wrapped Jalapenos Two Ways
-Crab and Cream Cheese
-Hot Pepper Cheese and Cream Cheese

"Dead Animal Course"
Pulled Pork
Beef Brisket
Baby Back Ribs
(plus about eight different sauces for folks to try, including a vinegar-based Eastern Carolina style sauce for certain Cicerone barbecue purists...)

Side Dishes
Apple Pie Baked Beans
Sweet Potato Casserole
Corn On the Cob
Turnip Greens
Fire and Ice Pickles
Deviled Egg Potato Salad

Texas Sheet cake
Banana Pudding

American Pale Ale
Cream Ale
Irish Stout
Wit a few guest growlers.

Try as we might, we didn't even sample each dish. We did sample all of the barbecue, though, and despite my personal preferences, the brisket was the hands-down winner at this dinner. Succulent and smokey, mmm. The beans were loaded with bacon, brown sugar, and spices including cinnamon, and tasted great with both my crisp ginger wheat and Brewmaster Doug's Bootlegger's Bourbon Aged Porter. (For different reasons, of course; ginger is good with all those other apple pie spices, and the spritziness of the beer cut the sugar nicely; on the other side, the brown sugar and spice go awfully nice with the vanilla, coconut, fruity, and chocolaty flavors in the porter.)

Dessert for me was a double dose of Doppelbock, because there's always room for beer....

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Slows Oktoberfest Beer Club, Monday September 21st

Just in, from Tara....

"Hello again!!! & Yes it is right around the corner-OKTOBERFEST that is!!!!Yeah!!! And to celebrate- Our way- we will be having an amazing selection of beers from our favorite first couple of beer!!! Cicerones Annette May(Merchants Fine Wine Dbn.) & Mike Bardallis. Also Chef Brian & Chef Michaelwill be serving up their Oktoberfest delights on the Patio!!! MUSIC,BEER AND INCREDIBLE FOOD sounds like a hell of a good time!!!! Anyone have any Lederhosen???? The cost is$30 per person-at lease 7BEERS!!!! Start time is as usual 6:30pm Monday SEPT 21 (rain day will be Tuesday 9/22) And another fun thing we can increase the head count from 30- a patiofull!!! However please still RSVP to either Terry or Tara @Slows313-962-9828- Much THanks & See you then!!!!-Tara"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Stone Brewing 13th anniversary event at Ashley's

Stone Brewing 13th anniversary Event!
Thursday Sept. 3rd 7-9 pm
Ashley's Westland
Come join Aaron Tyrell from Stone Brewing on Thursday Sept 3rd from 7-9pm. There will be a keg of Stone's 13th Anniversary Ale just for this special event. Also on tap for the night will be: Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Levitation Ale, Ruination IPA, Pale Ale.
Plus: Bottles of Russian Imperial Stout and Arrogant Bastard.

Win a Stone Brewery "You're Not Worthy" pub light!