Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oh, my aching head.....

....thanks to a night of overindulging at Cliff Bell's Speakeasy last night. The Kuhnhenn Brewing tap line-up included Fourth Dementia Olde Ale (they served this in a pint glass), Simcoe Silly, Raspberry Eisbock, Mayhem (2 vintages), Extraneous Ale, White Devil, Tenacious Cassis, IPA, Anneliese Amber, American Classic and Hefeweizen. Ouch. The show was silly and fun, and the food, though only finger food appetizers, was tasty and there was plenty.

Did I mention my aching head?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Try these with your Lutefisk

New at Merchant's (from Scandinavia).....

*Nogne O/Mikkeller collaboration "Tyttebaer" (say it quickly) - Wild ale chock full o' Brettanomyces and flavoured with "Scandinavian Cranberries', or Lingonberries. Kjetil (Nogne O brewer) and the Mikkeller guys have done it again with this one. It's fantastic.

*Nogne O (Norway) Tiger Tripel. Classic Belgian-style Tripel, 9% ABV (Yet to try it.)

*Beer Here (Norway) "Dark Hops" Black IPA 8.5%ABV
"Hops were harmed in the production of this beer."

*Bere Here "Morke" Pumpernickel Porter !!!!! 7.5% ABV. Mmmmm. Yum. Mmmmm.

...Full post

New beers at Merchant's

*New Holland Mole Ocho (Mole beer! Brewed with chilies & chocolate, not burrowing nocturnal creatures.)
*New Holland Imperial Hatter
*Short's Golden Rule organic IPA
*Jolly Pumpkin E S Bam (fresh batch)
*Arcadia Sky High Rye in 6 packs (fantastic beer!)

*Rogue Double Mocha Porter (8.2%)
*Samuel Adams "Longshot" Homebrew contest winners 6pack (2 each Lemon Pepper Saison, Old Ale, & Barley Wine) (Note from Mrs Cicerone- nice job on the saison! Really peppery, just how I like them. Am yet to taste the Old Ale & barley Wine.)

"Pink Killer" grapefruit Witbier from the "Silly Brewery (Note from Mrs Cicerone...very strange beer- in a good wKjetiay, I Think.)
Witterkerke Framboise- raspberry Witbier

*We just got a fresh batch of two fantastic bottle-conditioned CAMRA approved English Bitters- Coniston Bluebird Bitter, & Ridgeway Bitter. Both great examples of the style, which is hard to come by here.
*From Ridgeway Brewing- Foreign Extra Stout. Another style that is a little hard to find.
*Oxfordshire Brewing, 3 fantastic English bitters/session beers. "Triple B"- 3.7%."Pride of Oxford"- 4.2%. "Marsh-mellow"- the strongest at 4.7%. This are classic examples of FULL-FLAVOURED BEERS that won't leave you staggering around after you've had a few.
*Hepworth Brewing- another three beautiful full-flavoured English ales. "Pullman Bitter" at 4.2%, "Iron Horse Pale Ale" at 4.8%, and "Classic Old Ale"- another style that is getting harder to find.

Hooray! Some craft beer from Ireland!
Porterhouse Brewing presents.....
*Oyster Stout (brewed with oysters!) Note from Mrs Cicerone- This is a great example of a dry Irish stout. Can't say I could taste any oyster though, especially as I was not eating any at the time, sadly....)
*Irish Red Ale
*Wrassler's XXXX Stout

*Lisberger Bock
*Burgerbrau Dunkler Bock
(Note from Mrs Cicerone- I'm falling behind in my homework. Havn't tasted these yet. But, O! I love Bock!)

(Separate Scandinavia edition to follow....)

...Full post

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brew Day, Batch 318: Pils

Because summer is coming.

Kuhnhenn Brewing & Cliff Bell's presents.....

Speakeasy Night- a celebration of the 77th anniversary of the Michigan repeal of Prohibition. At Cliff Bell's. Saturday April 24.

"A prohibition era night flowing with 13 Kuhnhenn brews and featuring entertainment by Magenta Giraffe Theater Co. is sure to be a hit complete with floor show, improvisational bits and Al Capone himself! Included in admission price is all-you-can-drink Kuhnhenn brews, show and appetizers. Patrons must dress in 1920s garb and be prepared to dance, drink and speakeasy....."

I think Mr Cicerone will fit right in with this outfit....

Beer & Game Dinner at Uptown Grille

Tuesday, April 27th, 6:30 p.m
RSVP @ 248-960-3344
$45/person (Gratuity Included)

Orval Trappist Ale 6.9% Paired w/ Smoked Trout, served with warm Brown Bread. Fontiago Cheese, & sliced fresh Pears
Sam Smith Russian Imperial Stout Paired w/ Pan-seared Duck Breast, atop fresh field Greens with a Port-Wine Vinaigrette, Stilton Bleu Cheese & Candied Walnuts
Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock 6.7%Paired w/ Michigan Cherry-Glazed Pheasant Breast, Stuffed with Porcini Mushrooms & Roasted Carrots
Westmalle Trappist Tripel 9.5% Paired w/ Elk “Osso Bucco” accompanied by Creamy Herbed Risotto & Roasted Asparagus
Lindeman’s Framboise 4.0% Paired w/ a decadent Chocolate Cheesecake with fresh raspberries, drizzled with a Natural Raspberry Reduction a beer!

New Holland Brewery have just released El Mole Ocho, and of course being huge fans of mole Mr Cicerone and I tasted our bottle over the weekend. I had prepared a rich braised lamb shank stew (with a "needed to be drunk" oldish bottle of Bell's Hell Hath No Fury incorporated into the braising stock), and although the dish had no specific tie-in flavours with the mole beer, we decided to give it a go anyway.
Wow. First flavour that came through was jalapeno. The flavour, not the heat. Next, chocolate, and a long finish of malty sweetness with a note of coffee. The beer was fine with our lamb, but didn't necessarily create fireworks, so we saved some for dessert, and tasted it again with a scoop of both chocolate and coffee ice cream. Eureka! Score!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Back In The Groove

Sorta. Jet lag has proven to be persistent here at Chez Cicerone, but I think we're on top of it now. Last night, we stopped my Slows withdrawal symptoms with a bbq sandwich, Schlenkerla Fastenbier, Dogfish Pangaea, Victory Yakima Twilight, and Bell's Oatmeal Stout.

Meat- the Aussie way

Fancy some Vintage Rump?
First time I've ever seen this (I'm serious!)....

...Full post

Aussie Retail recap

There are a lot of great imports available in Aussie beer stores, and way more USA craft beer than when we there 4 years ago.

More recent additions to the scene are Sierra Nevada, Great Divide, Left Hand, Firestone Walker (and we can't get it in Michigan!), Anchor, Flying Dog, Dogfish Head and Stone beers.

Note the prices above......that would be $28.99 for a 6pk of Sam Adams Boston Lager, $9.50 for an 11.2oz of Hitachino, $34.99 for a 6pk of Stone Oaked AB.

The average cost for a 6pack of locally-made craft beer was $20. Australia is not a cheap place to live!

...Full post

Our final hurrah

Our last night in Oz called for a special meal. That would be "fish & chips". The Australian way. Which means flake, heavily battered and deep fried, or "grilled", which means lightly battered sprinkled and fried on a hotplate. Mandatory sides (for me!) are potato cakes- thick slices of potato battered and deep fried, dim sims ***- steamed for me and fried for Mr Cicerone, chips (fries- thick cut), and battered and deep fried scallops, which have the roe attached (I am yet to find a scallop here that has the roe, and I have certainly looked). Other popular sides that did not grace our table that evening are battered and deep fried banana and pineapple, and chiko rolls.
NOTE- STEAMED & FRIED DIM SIMS NEXT TO POTATO CAKE, AND SCALLOPS (batter removed for photo) WITH ROE. And yes, that is a Red Hook glass, acquired by my bro-in-law while visiting here, and filled with Mountain Goat Hightail Ale.

This meal is not (but should be) featured in "This Is Why You're Fat".

***Anyone see Muriel's Wedding? When Muriel was discussing her fictitious boyfriend with Rhonda, and was asked his name, Muriel stuttered "Eeer, Tim. Tim.....Sims. Tim Sims." I saw the movie at its debut at the Chicago International Film Fest and was the only person in the room that laughed.

...Full post

Monday, April 12, 2010

Your Parma Update

This has been your parma update.

More Notable Snacks

We're winding down, getting bags packed for an early departure tomorrow, readying ourselves for tearful farewells, and looking back at some pretty fair fare...



Moreton Bay Bug spring rolls with lime dipping sauce
Salt & pepper calamari
Mountain Goat Steam Ale and Little Creatures Bright Ale


First foray...

Bruschetta with boquerones
Grilled artichoke hearts, olives
Marinated mushrooms

Lunch the next day....

Octopus Galician-style with sweet paprika
Fried whitebait with aoli
Semolina gnocchi with sage butter (On left, not dumplings, but thick slabs.)
Frites with aoli
We enjoyed a peppery saison from Temple brewing, and Mountain Goat Riwaka Pale Ale, with these delicious snacks.


Peppered rare kangaroo fillet atop greens, with feta, olives, cucumber and red onion, enjoyed with Epic Brewing's pale ale
Chick pea and semi-dried tomato stew with fried halloumi, enjoyed with Mountain Goat Hightail, and Temple Special Bitter.


Charcuterie platter- prosciutto, pancetta, roasted eggplant, roasted zucchini, roasted red pepper, and O!, the most wonderful smooth, rich and luscious chicken liver pate (which we will be attempting to reproduce very soon).
Cheese platter with quince paste and dried fruits. The cheeses were not identified, but one was a washed rind "moderately stinky" cows milk, one was something akin to a gruyere, and one was a rich buttery triplecream.
All enjoyed with Bridge Rd Chevalier saison, and Mountain Goat Rapunzel.

...Full post

Friday, April 9, 2010

Beer At The Source

We had the opportunity to visit the Mountain Goat brewery this past Friday night. Wednesday and Friday nights, they open a bar in one half of the warehouse that is home to the brewhouse equipment.

It appears to be very popular with people of all ages, and one reason has to be the beer. We enjoyed a couple pints of the excellent Riwaka pale ale, and Mrs. Cicerone had a pot of Hightail Ale dispensed through a Randall full of Galaxy hops. Your humble correspondent found the Randallized beer to be far too chlorophyllic to enjoy, but Mrs. Cicerone didn't mind. The Riwaka hops, derived from cross breeding Saaz with a New Zealand strain, give a fine, smooth, citrusy and floral character, without any noticeable harshness or pungency. At 4.8%, it's pushing the limits of what I'd call a session beer, but its smooth drinkability and many flavor nuances keep it interesting across multiple pints. Also on tap was Rapunzel, a strong Belgian golden ale, but we were wary of such strong beer before dinner. 'Twould have to wait for another time and place....

...Full post

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Here's the koala

That would be us with pots of Koala Pale Ale, an American style pale, courtesy of Rusty Waters/Phillip Island Brewing who just happened to have their taproom right next door to our cabin at Phillip Island we just spent the past few days at... Noice!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Memorable Beer Excursions

Wow. A great find. Incredible beer selection, knowledgable staff, beautiful draft system, appropriate glassware. We drank us some fine beers on a couple of different occasions, and heard us some err, not so fine singing by a duo, one of who was sporting the strangest "hair do" I've seen. Some highlights:
Bridge Rd Chevalier Saison
Coopers Extra Stout- on tap! Even better than anticipated.
Feral Brewing JME10, a limited release Shiraz barrel-aged Belgian-style strong ale.
Mountain Goat Rapunzel Tripel
James Squire Orchard Ale

Check out the draft list:


A second wonderful experience. We were treated like royalty, and drank of the establishment's finest. Matilda Bay's unfiltered Alpha Pale Ale, Murray's Extra Porter, Holgate UXB (a strong bitter brewed especially for Beer DeLuxe, and O! it was marvelous), Moonshine Scotch Ale, Holgate Beelzebub - a Pinot Noir barrel-aged dry-hopped barley wine, and later that evening, (after we returned from a quick one at the James Squire brewpub,

and our Mrs Parmas adventure,) Murray's Anniversary Ale, a French oak-aged barley wine that was elegant and nuanced.

And yes, that's Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale (2004- our anniversary beer) and Bell's Expedition Stout in the background. We took these, and a bottle of Founders Nemesis to share with the Beer DeLuxe folk. All were extremely happy and declared Nemesis to be one of the best beers they'd had. Once again I'll say that the staff at Beer Deluxe are truly fantastic. Their knowledge and passion for great beer is remarkable. Thanks (again) Barney, Wilson, and all the staff at Beer DeLuxe for a memorable 6th wedding anniversary.

Some Retail Opportunities

We are able to buy a few British beers here that we can't get at home, despite being a wee bit farther away now. Right now we are revisiting the remarkable Golden Glory, which we enjoyed last time we were here. It's an English Summer Ale flavored with Saaz and peach blossom extract. It has a peachy, floral aroma, medium bitterness, and a moderate clean maltiness. We also enjoyed Badger's First Gold, a single hop varietal bitter, which was fine, indeed. A can of Brain's bitter had us both grinning, and Worthington's White Shield, a real Burton pale ale, is still a minerally, hoppy wonder. We also have acquired a bottle of Fuller's Golden Pride that will be coming home with us, and a bottle of Mann's Brown Ale that might....

Mostly, though, we're drinking Aussie beer. The craft beer scene has exploded here in the last few years, and we're not going to be able to sample everything even in our immediate vicinity. Tonight we are going to sample the beers at the brewpub right next door to where we're staying. (No conceivable excuse for skipping that....)

Monday, April 5, 2010

The great Melbournian delicacy

"Parma", as in "chicken/veal parmigiana". It's everywhere. It was a staple of every pub's "counter meal" during my "night out at the pub" days in the 70's & 80's, and there it still was during our last trip to Oz in 2006, the notice outside every pub proudly advertising "Pot & Parma". **

A quick foray into the Elsternwick pub the other day did not fail to disappoint with the sight of a well-dressed business woman lunching alone on, you guessed it, a Parma.

And, behold this sign outside a pub we passed recently.

Field research led us to "Mrs Parmas" , a restaurant devoted entirely to the art of Parma prep, for dinner over the weekend (it was actually recommended to us for its good beer menu!)And, here 'tis.....Eggplant "Parmageddon" for Mr Cicerone, and Veal Parma atop a bed of mushy peas for me. Good beer-sopping food indeed!

** A "pot" over here is a 10oz glass of beer.....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Why I Like English Beer

This is a hugely flavorful beer. After all, it's a strong pale ale, as it says on the label. Check what else it says (lower right.)

First Foray

We had some free time after dinner on Tuesday night, so we hopped on the train downtown to look for beers. First stop, Young and Jackson's hotel, right across from the Flinders Street Station. Y&J is an institution in Melbourne, and is home to the famous Chloe. (I'll leave it to the curious to Google her.) There are four bars throughout the pub, and they specialize these days in Aussie craft beer. We had pots of steam beer from Mountain Goat, crisp and fruity, an IPA from Bridge Road, Fat Yak pale ale from Matilda Bay, and an estery (pear) White Rabbit Brown Ale. The "pot" is a small glass of beer, 10 oz., and is peculiar to Melbourne. (Everybody in Detroit knows it's properly called a shell!) Y&J also recognizes how well suited to good food craft beer is. Check it out:

From there, we headed across to Federation Square, and Beer Deluxe. This is a fancy beer bar, with a selection of hard to find Australian and imported beers. And they've got a Randall!

Mrs. Cicerone couldn't resist getting the Temple pale ale that was pouring forth from it. 'Twas very fine, indeed. A pale ale from Mountain Goat made with New Zealand Riwaka hops suited me just fine. We also split a bottle of Epic Armageddon IPA, a malty, juicy hop bomb that reminded Mr. Cicerone of Alpha King.

Then, a taste of Moo Brew oak aged Imperial Stout, very rare, and very oaky. Noice, as they say in these parts. We had a great time chattering on about beer with the very knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff there, and will be back on Saturday to visit with Barney, who will soon be travelling to the states to sit the Cicerone exam. Stay tuned....

Special note to the people behind Windows Vista and 7: Die. Painfully.