Sunday, January 31, 2010

Brew Day, Batch #314

Let it be known that today, the dumbass remembered to add the salts. And, using an uncharacteristic amount of foresight, the aforementioned brewer is brewing up a batch of Rye Peppercorn Pale Ale before the current batch runs out. There will likely be a short gap between the time the current keg runs out and today's batch is ready, but it should be survivable. This beer is one of the Cicerone's best friends; 'tis hard to find a more food-friendly beer. (I hear it's a particularly good base for a barbecue mop....) The specs, more or less:

OG 1.052-1.056 from 60% pils, 30% light Munich, 10% flaked rye, and a pinch of Special B,

BU 35,

Bittered with Centennial, couple small late additions of Cascade,

2 oz. crushed Tellicherry black peppercorns added near end of boil,


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stone Brewing Beer Dinner....

At Uptown Grill on Wednesday February 3rd. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waltzing Matilda....

Australia Day came yesterday, but we were too busy deciding "Who's Your Bastard" to do justice to the day. So, our celebration happened this evening, with a fine Aussie-style feast. Which means lamb. A simple rack O' lamb, spiked with garlic cloves and rosemary, seared, then roasted on high for about 20 minutes until pink and succulent .....accompanied by onion confit, stewed tomatoes and steamed spinach. Beers? Mr Cicerone's excellent Imperial Pils as our aperitif, and the aptly named Matilda accompanying the lamb....

Sipping on Mr Cicerone's porter right now as I type this, while contemplating watching "The Castle", one of our favourite (Australian) movies....

Winter Warmin'

Twas an exhausting, aggravating day at work; a real soul-sucker- the sort when you need a beer or two to help unwind when you get home. Sorta day makes one want to 'go postal.' Funny how different your perspective is a couple of short hours later, when you are lying on the couch with a belly full of roast lamb, soaking in the heat from the heaped, glowing embers in the fireplace and sipping on a nice winter warmer....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Expedition Stout, on cask, at Slows!

It's been over a month since we've been to Slows BarBQ, our favourite food & beer hangout, and after checking out the current draft list over the weekend, we put all other plans aside and headed over last night.
The tap list is fantastic right now, and I started with Atwater Block's pale ale (a draft product only), dry-hopped and aromatic, lightly malty with a good hoppy finish. Mr Cicerone went straight for Original Gravity's "440 Pepper Smoker", an amber/brownish ale with smoked malt (including a hint of chocolate), infused with jalapenos. A great beer for the Slows food menu. After this- sharing of Arcadia's Cannonball Gold wet-hopped IPA, and He'brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A., Cannonball is just great, and the R.I.P.A was as you'd expect from Shmaltz Brewing- strong, hoppy, excellently balanced & delicious, as well as really heavy-bodied from the rye. A great match with Mr Cicerone's "The Reason" sandwich. Next- the piece-de-resistance- Bell's Expedition Stout on cask! Oh, wondrous libation! It was served at a perfect temperature (about 55deg F) and was rich, fruity (prunes/grapes), with notes of coffee as it opened up, and hops, hops, hops. And, it was perfectly conditioned. Mr Cicerone snuck in a pint of Arcadia Starboard Stout before he had his dessert (beer), and then we shared one more.
Wish we could have tried a few more (Great Divide Yeti, Southern Tier Choklat, Dark Horse Too Stout, Founders Double Trouble....), but our livers cried "enough!"

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Our annual "Not" Christmas party

Put a bunch of homebrewers in a room together, add a theme (of sorts), a "pot luck" menu, raffle tickets and booty, and a thespian or two, and you end up with what we enjoyed last night- a fine night of drinking, feasting, and a lot of raised eyebrows...err, laughs.


Oh, beer. Lots of great offerings from the club, including both Mr Cicerone's & Dan's pils, Leo's pale ale, Tom's Big Brew '09, Mr Cicerone's porter, Mike F's CAP, a delicious Brett-laden golden from Dan, a couple of nice meads (including B. Nektar's Cherry Buckwheat & Bourbon Barrel) and a mini keg of Bell's Best Brown.

A grand time was had by all, and I hope we didn't scare Jerry & Felicia, the newcomers, away.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Who's Your Bastard - round two!

Ashley's Westland are hosting this on the same night, same time (Tuesday Jan 26, 7PM).


STONE Vertical Epic '09, Sublimely Self-righteous ale, Oaked Arrogant Bastard & Double Bastard on draft, PLUS Kona coffe/Macadamia Nut/Coconut Porter (collaboration between Stone, Ken Schmidt & Maui Brewing), & Juxtaposition Black Pilsner (collaboration between Stone, Cambridge & Brewdog) in bottles.

Hand of Doom (Imperial IPA aged in oak/whisky barrels), Double Trouble IPA, Dirty Bastard, all on draft.

Oh dear, which Ashley's to go to now?????

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Who's your Bastard?

"Who's Your Bastard?" on Tuesday, January 26 at 6:00pm.

Event: Who's Your Bastard?
What: Night of Mayhem
Start Time: Tuesday, January 26 at 6:00pm
End Time: Tuesday, January 26 at 11:00pm
Where: Ashley's Ann Arbor
734.996.9191 | 338 S. State | Ann Arbor | MI | 48104

STONE: Arrogant Bastard, Oak-aged Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard
FOUNDERS: Dirty Bastard, Backwoods Bastard, Flappy Sappy Bastard (Huh?)
(And more!!)

"Join us (Ashley's) for this epic battle and be sure to place your vote
for the best bastard in the business!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

For The Rest Of Us!

Festivus at Fort Street approaches, and it got me thinking about my favorite Festivus memories from years past, and I include a couple pictures here of my very favorite Feat of Strength: SPAM carving. Our friend Mike O'Brien started out strong, but sort of went off the rails in the home stretch. I blame drink...

That's Mike's effort on the left- it started out looking like "FSB" for Fort Street Brewery, but got a little wilty by the end. This led to some Airing of Grievances...

Doug's got the poop about this year's Festivus:
Greetings and salutations!

Everyone's favorite holiday is almost upon us! Visions of marble rye and black & white cookies dance in everyone's heads! For those of you who've had the misfortune of spending the last 20 year's in a Turkish prison, I'm talking about Festivus! The holiday for the rest of us!
This Thursday, January 21st we'll have a full slate of events planned, beginning at 8ish p.m. Our Festivus food menu will actually kick off Tuesday night (more on that later).
First, up at 8 p.m., we'll tap the first of three new beers. It's only fitting to kick everything off with "Festivus Ale". I would call this sort of a brown ale made with killer bee honey. It's so good, you might actually consider becoming a killer bee farmer! At the same time, we'll also release "Opus Amor". You might remember a couple of weeks ago when we released, "A Vow of Silence and Fury". I mentioned that being part of a trilogy. "Opus" is a wheat wine style, made with 50% wheat. At 10% ABV, it's actually the lightest of the three beers in the trilogy. Unlike the other two beers, it has a full body and a wonderful malt richness.
Following the release of those two beers, we'll be hosting a promotional party for Don Q rum. We have regular, Lemon, Coconut, and Mojito flavors. That means free samples and low prices on drinks made with any of the flavors!
At about that same time, we'll have the traditional Festivus pinata smashing. It's a big pinata filled with all kinds of wonderful stuff!
At 9 p.m., we'll have the first Feat of Strength. Bingo! No strength required, but eye hand coordination and reading skills, would be a plus.
Then at 10 p.m., it's time for "Build a Beer Vol. 9" aka "The 12 Ingredients of Christmas"! This is the beer made by drawing random ingredients from a hat. In spite of all the crazy ingredients, I think this may be the best "Build a Beer" yet!
Following the toast for "Build a Beer", we'll have our second Feat of Strength. Name That Tune! At 11, we'll be playing "Beanbags for Beer", to close out the days events.
Whew! Hopefully you can join us for all that fun, and of course, we'll have plenty of great prizes to give out.
You probably know about all our great new specials, and if you forgot, you can find them on our website or read about them everyday on Facebook or maybe even Twitter. I've just got one thing to say about our new specials. Tuesday $3 Cheesy Bread! If ya like cheese, cuddly little puppies, or a cat that changes it's own litter box; you'll love Cheesy Bread!
Yea, cheesy bread is great. Ya know what else is great? Bagels! Even better than a bagel, is a free bagel! Become a friend of Einstein Bros. Bagels on Facebook, and they'll give ya a free bagel. I'm gonna get my free bagel and then I'm gonna unfriend them! That's just the way I am.
This week on "Cooking With Kramer", you'll hear Fran say, "This Cheesy Bread's gold, Jerry! Gold!" You'll also hear Nicole say, "Look at all this paella!". And finally, you'll hear Jason say, "I don't want to say anything that'll get me quoted in the newsletter!"
On your Festivus plate this week, look for Risotto Balls, Big Stein's Calzone, The Big Salad (Cobb Salad), Portabella Burritos, Seafood Paella, Pasta Primavera, Chicken & Waffles, Turkey Burgers, and Beer Can Chicken (Thursday-Sunday).
To summarize:Festivus fun; three new beers; free rum!;Mmmmm! Cheesy Bread!; free bagels!; and Yay Festivus!

See ya soon,

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

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No Perseguidor for us!

Sadly, the much anticipated Perseguidor Beer Dinner, to be held last night at The Jolly Pumpkin Cafe was cancelled for reasons unknown. But, with no other plans, and as were all dressed up with nowhere to go, so to speak, we headed to Ann Arbor anyway, to partake of the regular menu, which is never a disappointment. I started the evening with a snifter of Maracaibo Especial, Ron's rich winter brown ale spiced with cacao and orange. It lived up to expectation. Mr Cicerone chose a pint of North Peak Siren Amber, and announced that it was delicious. A large portion of crispy fries infused with rosemary and sprinkled with truffle salt accompanied our beers. Next- Bam Noire for me (grape candy beer, and I don't like grape candy, but love this beer!), and North Peak Diabolical IPA for Mr Cicerone. We split a delicious Smashed Chick Pea Panini (crushed chick pea salad with cucumber yogurt dressing, grilled eggplant, and arugula). Towards the end of our sandwich we decided on a bottle of Baudelaire Ale Absurd, a tripel-style made with rye- rich and delicious, and great with the sandwich.
Our only problem? We had chosen the dinner over standing in line for the release of the beer earlier that day, and hence were not able to even taste Perseguidor. It sold out. Hopefully we'll see some over the summer at a festival, or other beer event, because the blend this year sounds great.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Brew Day Batch # 313

American IPA, at the request of Mrs. Cicerone. She quite rightly points out that frequently the first thing either of us goes for on arriving home from work is a snappy pale ale, bitter and quenching. Thus the design criteria: OG 1.060ish, medium light body, gold to amber color, 60 BU and lots of hop flavor and aroma. We want some malt depth, but not too much sweetness. To that end, I included 10% Munich and 5% Cara Hell in the grist, the balance being pale malts carefully selected based on what was leftover in assorted sacks in the Circus Room. As to hops, most of the bittering duty falls to a couple of additions of Centennial, giving over to 3 additions of Cascade as the boil progresses, and capped with a dose of UK Fuggles at strike to round things out a bit. Hmm, must be time for a beer-- maybe a Sierra Nevada Celebration for inspiration....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You can't beat Michael Symon's Roast....

....during Cocktail Hour for $3 "bites" (and beer specials) - available 4.30-6.30PM weekdays. We had a huge portion of crisp, aromatic rosemary-laden fries, tender plump chicken livers over creamy polenta, a big portion of deliciously creamy mac & cheese, & beast-of-the-day (goat!) tacos (2 tacos per serving). Great Lakes Burning River pale ale (on tap) went nicely with our fries & livers, a bottle of JP Oro de Calabaza was excellent with the tacos & mac, and a generous portion of a rich, malty barley wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing (on tap) made for an exceptional dessert. Service, as usual, was excellent. Thanks, Brian & Joseph!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

As I lay here and groan.....

...after a fantastic meal, I'm thankful for all the fantastic food, beer and resources that allow me to create dishes such as the one we just finished.
Take two thick veal chops on the bone, season with unsalted butter, salt & pepper, and roast in a 500 deg oven on a shallow baking dish for 15-20 minutes, turning once. At the same time, smother 1/2 pound of red grapes with a mix of aged sherry vinegar & balsamic vinegar, unsalted butter, and S & P, and roast them in the oven on another shallow dish until they have broken down and caramelized slightly. Spread the grape goo on the chops, and serve with a side of roasted caramelized brussel sprouts. The perfect beer?The rare Cantillon St Lamvinus. Oh my.

Thinking back to last night's feast, 'twas a savoury bread pudding, made with cubed French bread, eggs, cream, scallions, roasted garlic puree, Italian parsley, a touch of cayenne pepper, and Nueske bacon. The secret ingredient, incorporated into the egg/cream mix, was Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale. We drank more of the same with the pudding- it was rich, malty, and pruney- somehow not quite as Mr Cicerone and I remembered it, but if anything, even better than we remembered!

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Short's Beer Dinner.... Uptown Grille on January 12th.
Purchase your tickets before January 12th for $34.99/person(Includes Gratuity) or $39.99 the day of the event.RSVP @248-960-3344

Featured Menu...
Key Lime Pie Paired w/Coconut encrusted Chilean Sea Bass with a Lime Cilantro Slaw and Mango Salsa.
Pistachio Cream Ale Paired w/Braised Asian Pork, served in a Bib Lettuce Cup with Asian Vegetables.
Caramel Apple Red Paired w/State Fair Chicken Drumstick, Pecan encrusted and served with Winter Tomato Chutney
Cup of Joe Stout Paired w/Char-Grilled Coffee BBQ braised Short Ribs, Served with Smashed Garlic Red Skin Potatoes & Asparagus garnished with Spicy Onion Straws
P.B & J w/Bread Pudding with Caramelized Bananas Drizzled with Homemade Carmel & Chocolate Sauce with a Dollop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock! At Merchant's!

One case of the famed,and spectacular Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock (2007) has made its way to Merchant's!
Also just arrived are Kuhnhenn's Fourth Dementia Olde Ale -11.5%ABV- (3 cases), and "Mayhem" - a new beer. It's 10.5%ABV Belgian-style strong made with Michigan-grown beet sugar. It's full of all those rich raisiny pruney flavours.

Arriving today also-
Bell's Hopslam
Founders Double Trouble IPA

And, another Michigan brewery has made its way to Dearborn. Tri City Brewing of Bay City is here. We have Lumberjack Pale Ale, and Brownhoist Nut Brown.

If any of you out there went to the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe last Thursday to get some of Ron's Lambicus Dexterius you are lucky! (It is spectacular!) Unfortunately though, demand on the day was overwhelming, and the original plan to save some back for distribution was quashed. It was all sold at the cafe. If you're a fan of Perseguidor, #5 will released for sale, also at the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe in Ann Arbor, on Sunday January 17th.
Happy New Year all!
Annette May
Beer Department Manager
Certified Cicerone (TM)
Merchant's Fine Wine, Dearborn

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Warmin' at Fort Street

The latest from Brewmaster Doug:

Greetings and salutations!

Welcome to 2010! It's a new year, and with it brings new things to Fort Street Brewery. We've got all new specials, new beers on the way, a new website on the way, and plenty more excitement.
First, let's start with the beers. This Thursday, January 7th we'll be tapping "A Vow of Silence and Fury". There's a great story behind this beer. In the coming month, you'll see two other related beers. For now, I'll just tell you that this is a 13% ABV Belgian-style ale made with 50% wheat. If you like wheat beers, French cheese, drinking wine at communion, or getting drunk, you'll love this beer! For our second beer, we have the return of "Snowplowed". This is our 3rd version of snowplowed. It's been a little different each time, with the common factor being juniper berries. This year it's a 5.8% ABV ale made with oats, caramel oats, and rye (plus the juniper). If you like gin, gin rummy, or butterrum cookies, you'll love this beer! As always, we'll have some fabulous prizes for a few lucky folks in attendance.
I mentioned all new specials, so let me tell you about those. On Mondays, we have $2 pints of Lincoln Lager, $2 tostados, $6 one-pound burritos, and $6 Long Island Pitchers. Tuesdays are $2.25 Fan Club Beers ($2 until we get the new bigger glasses in a week or two), $3 turkey legs, and $3 cheesy bread (basically a cheese pizza cut into smaller pieces). Wednesdays we offer $2 Lincoln Lagers and $6 Long Island Pitchers. Thursdays we have a new beer, and that's enough excitement for anyone. On Fridays, you can buy any beer in a logo pint glass for $5 and keep the glass. On Saturday we have $4 pepperoni pizzas and happy hour prices ($2 well drinks, $.50 off pints, and 12 food items under $2.50) until 6 p.m. (Monday-Friday it's 3-7 p.m.). Finally, on Sunday we have $4 pepperoni pizzas and $2.25 Fan Club beers again. Instead of doing a drink of the week, we now have a drink of the day. This month, Mondays feature $4 Three Olive Bombs, Tuesday $3 Southern Comfort and Cranberry juice, Wednesday is $1.75 Spiced Cookies, Thursday is $2.50 Canadian Apples, Friday is $3.25 Milagro Palomas or Tequila Sunrises, Saturday we have $3.50 Margaritaville Margaritas, and Sunday is $2.50 Sailor Jerry and Coke. Whew! Got all that? I hope so, because there will be a test at the end of this newsletter.
Were you feeling a little hungover New Year's Day? Is that a recurring problem? If you've answered yes to either question, go to for a free sample of this supposed miracle hangover cure.
This week on, "Burritos That Go Bump in the Night"; you'll hear Jason say, "Ya know, if you add all these ingredients up, these burritos weigh alot more than a pound!". You'll also hear Nicole say, "That's very interesting, Jason."
On your plate this week, look for Spaghetti & Meatballs, Italian Sausage Pizza, Crab Puffs, Chicken Salad Snuggies, Stuffed Turkey Burgers, Chicken & Waffles, and Beer Can Chicken (Thursday-Sunday).
In summary: two new beers on Thursday; so many new specials that we really suggest picking up a copy of our calendar so that you can remember them all; drink of the day; $4 pepperoni pizzas; a free hangover cure; and just 2 1/2 more weeks until Festivus!

See ya soon,

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

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Cicerone Christmas

These two Cicerones keep it really low-key on Christmas, and late in the day just head over to nearby family, where they partake of simple fare prepared by Mother-of-Mr Cicerone. (Well, mostly- we brought over more of the wonderfully decadent plum pudding I'd made some time ago, flamed it with calvados, and served it for dessert with hard sauce and Scaldis Noel. ) The beers kept coming all day though, and this year we shared Mr Cicerone's Wee Winter Warmer and porter, The Bruery's 2 Turtle Doves, Van Twee (Belgian strong/porter with Michigan cherries. More porterish than Belgian, with nice cherry notes), St Bernardus Christmas Ale, and Sierra Celebration Ale with all in attendance. Our "special" gift from brother-of-Cicerone was, um, very nice. But our gift to him stole the show, of course.

Our own "Cicerone Christmas" happens on Christmas Eve after I crawl home from work. We stay in, make a fire, cook something special, and relax, rejoicing that the madness is *almost* over. We snacked on some cheese first- some delicious sage-infused cheddar, some smoked gouda, and a little horseradish-infused cheddar. Our aperitif beer was The Bruery's Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, an excellent example of this unique style of beer. Dinner was risotto, with shreds of duck confit mixed through. To go with the risotto- Allagash Confluence 2009. Malty, a little hoppy, and a lot of mouth-watering Brett character. Delicious. For dessert- simple nuggets of dark chocolate and some chipotle and chocolate covered hazelnuts, enjoyed with Mr Cicerone's delicious porter.

Coming soon- A Cicerone New Year weekend in Chicago!

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