Sunday, September 26, 2010

Travels in Ontario

Behold- (though you can hardly see it)- my delicious meal from last night at The Belfry in Stratford, Ontario. It's duck confit atop a bed of rich stewy lentils & slow-roasted grape tomatoes in a foie gras vinaigrette. Unseen is Mr Cicerone's "A Tasting of De Martines Tamshire Pork"-
Grilled Loin, Chorizo, and a Pulled Pork Sandwich, with Choucroute (French sauerkraut) and Mostarda (a mustard and fruit condiment.)

While greeted with a huge wine menu, the beer selection was pretty dismal. (The craft beer scene in Ontario, CA is lagging some years behind the USA.) But we were happy to see Sam Adams Boston Lager on the beer list, and it was a fine accompaniment to both our meals.

(And, apologies for the poor quality pictures of late. Our camera pooped out and needs replacing.)

They've even named a town after him....

"Rodney Kibzey Day" was declared on March 6, 2008, by the city of Lombard, IL, after our friend Rodney won the Sam Adams Longshot American Homebrew competition in 2007 with his outstanding Weizenbock.

Rodney has done it AGAIN, winning the Longshot contest this year with his Black IPA, and now there's a town named after him!

(Congratulations Rodney! You're the best! Hope we get to try the beer before I start selling it next year!)

Upcoming Cool Stuff in the Great Beer State

Our home state may have more than its share of problems, but if you like beer, it's one of the best places to be. Here's a quick rundown of some of the reasons why for October:

Harvest Festival at Fort Street Brewery

Wednesday, September 29th - Saturday October 2nd
Saith Doug:
We'll have a special menu of Michigan grown foods and Michigan inspired recipes all week, and a new beer will be released each night as well!

Slows BBQ 5th Anniversary Party

Roosevelt Park | Michigan Ave + 14th Street, Detroit
Sunday October 3 | 12-8pm
Bands, Beer (24+ Taps), Reasons and Mac from SLOWS, Grub from Mind Body Spirit, Cornhole Tournament (sign-up info below), and an Art Opening at the Imagination Station. Admission is free. Food and Beer for sale $5 cash. All proceeds from the event go to the redevelopment of Roosevelt Park. The party is on, rain or shine. We have tents.

Detroit Beer Week

Friday, October 15 – Saturday, October 23, 2010

My day job forced me to be out of town for the inaugural DBW, but this year I'm going at it with guns blazin'! The organizers have some info here on
PDF of Press Release here.

2nd Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Beer Festival

October 23rd, 1-6PM

Last year's festival was great, and those of us in the near suburbs appreciate having an MBG festival so close to home.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A great pairing....

What a shame that our young friends Justin & Nik don't have more of this beer.....
If they did, we would plunder and pillage their supply to serve to our friends at our upcoming Beer Brunch. We've been working on a salad pairing- the salad made with a hop and marmalade vinaigrette and paired with Mr Cicerone's IPA. Justin & Nik's Beta Drive Mango IPA worked wonderfully with our simple salad comprised of greens, chunks of grapefruit, some scattered walnuts and a little fresh goat cheese, drizzled with the hop vinaigrette. Maybe we'll try adding some mango chunks to the salad to see if this recreates the flavours!

On its own merits, Beta Drive poured a brilliant dark orange colour, a little hazy due to the mango pulp, and with a nice full head. Aromas of mango and hops, and initial flavours of sweet mango and malt tied in nicely with the fruity notes from the hops (Citra I think). The pronounced bitter finish added "the zamboni effect" on the tongue, ensuing no cloying mango fruitiness remained. Well done! Hide your stash!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy 25th Anniversary, Bell's!

We had a fun and beer-filled day yesterday at Bell's Eccentric Cafe where we helped the hoards celebrate Bell's 25th Anniversary. We arrived at the cafe at 11'ish, and Bell's Porter was a great first-beer-o-the-day. During the day we drank Java Stout, Two Hearted Ale (unfortunately the cask version that was tapped the day before ran out right when we decided to have one), Wild One, Le Batteur Farmhouse, 2002 Eccentric Ale, 25th Anniversary Ale and 2002 Bourbon-aged Expedition Stout (a treat, but we both declared we would rather have had "regular Expedition", though it's hardly "regular"....). The Big Board O' Beer kept changing, and though we tried, our livers couldn't quite keep up, and we didn't get to the K'Zoo stout, Amber, Lager O' Lakes, Octoberfest, and mead. The 45 piece German band, Ein Prosit!, played Edelweissse on cow bells, and swarms of homebrewers lined up for a carboy of unhopped wort to take home as part of a homebrew competition.
We headed to a quiet local restaurant for dinner on route to the train station before heading home, and our icing-on-the-cake-of-the-day was the appearance, out of the back corner, of Larry Bell, who had just finished dining there. He joined us for a nice chat before he headed back to the brewery, and we headed home on the train where I was accosted by a bunch of jolly ladies who wanted to know the significance of my wonderful hat.

...Full post


We recently went to dinner at Michael Symon's Roast, a downtown Detroit restaurant that deserves every accolade it has received since it opened. We'd been there before for beer dinners, and a couple of times for their Cocktail Hour, but had yet to order from their full menu.
We were joined by Son-of-Mr-Cicerone which gave us an opportunity to share more dishes.

Here's how it went...
APERITIF Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere (me), Pilsner Urquell (Mr Cicerone) (fresh and softly malty), Founders Dirty Bastard (Son-of-Cicerone)
APPETIZERS Charcuterie platter (all made in-house, wonderful), Beef Cheek Perogies (the dough was to die for), and Roasted Bone Marrow (a hit with me more than my dining companions). My beer choice with the appetizers was Rochefort 6. It was light-bodied but O! so full of raisin-y flavour. Mr Cicerone chose the Dirty Bastard, and Son-o-C was still nursing his.
ENTREE Me- Bacon-wrapped trout accompanied with redskin potatoes drizzled in a mustard cream. Oh my. Was this fantastic! De Ranke XX Bitter was my beer of choice (perfect with the fish). Mr Cicerone chose Beast of the Day, which was a suckling pig, and they prepared it with a light salsa verde. I don't think I have ever had such tender, moist pork before, it just melted in your mouth. He chose a Rochefort 6 to go with. Son-o-C opted for a fillet of steak, and pronounced it superb. He asked us to pick a beer for him, and we went all out and chose Rochefort 10, which we all had to try of course. We shared sides of field mushrooms (a huge portion, and full of Umami-rich shitakes), and the famed roasted brussel sprouts which were sweet and delicious, and had roasted walnuts throughout.
DESSERT Though completely sated, we couldn't pass up a dessert beer, and decided on Stone Russian Imperial Stout. Son-o-C was interested in the Creme Brulee, which we pronounced to be a perfect choice to go with the beer, and in the interest of science and of course all things Cicerone-y, we decided we had to taste the Guinness ice-cream, rich & full of cream, and also a fine accompaniment to Stone's wonderful stout.

...Full post

A bit late, but maybe next time!

I proctored a Certified Cicerone exam here in Detroit last week, and if I'd thought about this sooner I would have (should have!) posted the fact that one was being held here!

So, as a reminder of why this blog even exists, here's what it's all about.....
Go to the site, register if you've not already done so, and check out all the resources that are now available to those that are pursuing the certification. There are now on-line classes you can take to help prepare, including a class that teaches about off-flavours! How great is that!!

"This class takes a novel approach to online learning by linking standardized tasting materials shipped to you in advance of the class with an online lecture to help you learn.
When you register for this course, you will receive calibrated tasting spikes that you add to beer to quickly and easily create off-flavor samples for the tutored tasting session."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's Rosh Hashana, and like all Jewish holidays, a great excuse to cook something grand and have some beers from Shmaltz Brewing. In this case, latkes with smoked salmon and dill, washed down with He'Brew Lenny's RIPA (Rye IPA). Mmmm. On both counts.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A feast, er, not fit for this Cicerone?

Or, maybe it's a good test for a Cicerone!Behold Coney Island Pizza!

(I apologize in advance to all the Coney Island lovers out there. I'm just not one of them. If I'm going to eat a hot dog, it has to be plain. With a little ketchup maybe. Australian-style.)

I was invited to share said pizza by my young work-colleague-and-aspiring-homebrewer Nik one evening at work. Okay, I did protest mildly, but I could hardly refuse such an earnest invitation to share this dish that was so dear to Nik's heart. It even came with a disclaimer- "I know you'll say no at first, but please, just give it a try."
And it was okay. Really. But I couldn't have eaten the whole pizza.

Stay tuned for the "Beta Drive" review. That's Nik's, and his buddy Justin's homebrewed mango IPA that we're going to try in the next few days......

Rye Peppercorn Pale Ale is Back On Tap

Opines Skip, "Maybe now Uncle Dave will come over your house again."

Friday, September 3, 2010

A feast fit for a Cicerone

Another hot night spent having beers and eating some of our favourite things in the back yard. Let's see....firstly, tomatoes! Home grown Pink Caspian Heirlooms, the best tomato EVER. They are so rich and luscious, and make a great snack eaten like an apple. Some slices of fresh mozzarella interspersed with home-grown basil (He says "Bay-sil, she says "Bah-sil"), and drizzled with a little balsamic reduction. Some Boquerones (Spanish white anchovies), Marcona amonds, Greek olives (by the way, my favourite new toy is this olive pitter. It works fabulously!) and cheese! Apart from the mozzarella, we had some aged gouda (not a very good one), Scottish Cheddar, Humboldt Fog (always a winner), and some English Derby with sage. (Some time ago Mr Cicerone scored some wonderful cheese with sage from Hirt's at Eastern Market. It was outstanding, but we've not been able to find it since. This was good, but not as good as that particular one.)

Oh- the beer. Mr Cicerone's Bitter (great with olives), Mr Cicerone's Helles. A 2008 bottle of Jolly Pumpkin La Roja (thanks Mike!) was just grand (lots of complexity), and we finally drank our bottle of New Holland's Blue Sunday 2009, an oak-aged sour. This was an interesting mix of wood, bitterness, malt, a little fruit as it warmed, Brett character and sourness. A good beer, but not my favourite from New Holland (Right now, it's Beerhive Tripel. Mmmmm!)

I love summer!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quickie- Cool Stuff We're Doing

Sorry for the sparse posting of late, but your humble Mr. Cicerone's day job is eating him alive!

Tonight, we are making time for a beer, however- Doug at Fort Street is tapping their 145th cask-conditioned ale at 8 ish p.m. "Willamette Damnit" is Piston Pale Ale dry-hopped with Willamette hops. Mmmm...

Saturday night, we're heading to Original Gravity for movie night! Check out the trailer for "Locally Buzzed" here.