Saturday, October 30, 2010

Things To Do With Leftovers

OK, most homebrewers know what to do with leftover malt extract. But there are other options besides beer. For one of the courses in our annual beer brunch, I wanted to pair my Batch 300 barleywine, made with 30% flaked rye, with French toast made with rye sourdough, and topped with a malt extract similar in makeup to the wort used for the beer. Unfortunately, my local homebrew supply doesn't stock 30% rye malt extract, so I made a small stovetop mash with the desired ingredients, and then reduced the wort down to a thick, intensely flavored, gloopy syrup. The pairing, which also included a dollop of sour cherry jam, was probably my favorite of all the nine courses. There sure was a lot of malt syrup left over though, and there is something else that has malt in it that is almost as good as beer- malt ice cream! We have a swell gadget called a Donvier, that we use to make the flavors of ice cream that they don't sell in the store. It's very easy, and low-stress; you make up a cooked custard, chill overnight, and freeze it in the Donvier for about 20 minutes, stirring a few times every couple minutes. Here's what goes into the malt ice cream, more or less:

2 eggs
1 to 1-1/2c malt extract syrup
1 c malt extract powder
2/3 c sugar
2 c milk
1/4 c cocoa (optional)
2 c cream
splash of vanilla extract

Beat milk and egg  yolks together. Blend in sugar and malt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, and blend in cocoa (if included.) Cool, mix in cream and vanilla, and chill overnight. Freeze according to ice cream gizmo's instructions. Yield is a little over a quart of frozen bliss....

Two great beer events coming up......

MICHIGAN CASK ALE FEST at Ashley's Westland  on  November 13, noon - 6PM. Info, and get your tickets on-line here, and receive a $10 discount per ticket. This ends tomorrow. For Facebookers, more information here.

Casks that have been announced so far....
Bell's Amber & Double Cream Stout
The Livery Guide IPA & Hopping Dragon Harvest Ale
Founders Harvest Ale
J.W.Lees Harvest Ale aged in a port cask.
Harvest Ale (11.5% alcohol by volume), from the John Willie Lees brewery in Middleton, England, is brewed once a year, for release about December 1, from the first delivery of England's classic Maris Otter barley malt and East Kent Goldings hops. It's fermented in open vessels using three strains of yeast. There are also 4 versions that have been aged in different casks (Port, Sherry, Calvados & Lagavulin whisky), and these are served from a wooden firkin.

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale aged in port. You'll be able to have some if you come to this event!

Sunday November 7, 4-6PM. A guided tasting by Michigan beer guru Rex Halfpenny of beers brewed within the Rouge River watershed. Help support "Friends of The Rouge", and have some great beers while you're there.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Second Week of Beer Week

Sorta. Monday was sort of the extra doughnut in a baker's dozen, as applied to Detroit Beer Week. The good folks at Slows BBQ had a Founders Brewing happy hour out on their patio, with a selection of new and cellared beers, including a cask of this year's Harvest Ale, 1/6 barrels of this year's Nemesis (sharply black and roasty,) and 8 month old draft Kentucky Breakfast Stout, and other delights. The weather was unseasonably warm, the crowd convivial, and (surprise!) there was some decent food to eat, as well. Mr. Cicerone had a bit too much beer, and stayed up a bit too late on a school night, but was kindly looked after by Mrs. Cicerone. (Whooo!!)

Helping us with the last couple of postings......

And Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, a spectacular aged goat cheese.

MBG Fall Festival!! Whooo!!!

This week, I'm the guy who goes, "Whooo!!" Whooo!! The fall festival was great. Sold out, but not oversold. A big, big party with all of your favorite people in attendance. Like these guys:

Joe Hudecek, Andy Hudecek, and Uncle Dave DRINK MICHIGAN BEER! WHOOO!!!

With 40+ breweries each pouring an average of, say, 4 beers, there was no way to check it all out in 5 hours. Some folks (Mrs. Cicerone,) formulate a plan of attack, using the festival program downloaded off the 'net days in advance, focusing on unique, otherwise unavailable beers. Mr. Cicerone, however, uses the 'go with the flow' serendipity-based model. One rule generally adhered to is Visit Doug First. Our friend Doug always has something special for the festival. Hell, he has something special each and every Thursday. Saturday, in addition to a selection of regular beers, we sampled Black Ops 'Black IPA' and "Citra-sation," an IPA made with fresh Citra hops, both excellent.

Doug and the Fort Street Brew Zoo
Another festival stalwart and favorite of Mr. Cicerone is Grizzly Peak's Sheerwater IPA. Brewer Duncan Williams almost always brings a cask of this complex and delicious beer to the MBG festivals. This year Mr. and Mrs. Cicerone were also enthralled by a delicious cask mild, and "Poisson Rouge," a wonderfully oaky, tart, perfectly balanced barrel-aged version of their Steelhead Red ale. That was Mr.'s favorite beer of the day.

Another reason for me to go "Whooo!!" was spending a little quality time with Mr. Todd Parker, the very large, very enthusiastic brewer at Copper Canyon, sampling many strong and delicious beers. I had Yellowcard APA, RyePA, Maibock, and Rocktoberfest. The Rocktoberfest was an 8% (!) "double marzen" that was so clean, balanced and drinkable, while hiding its strength, that no one could be blamed for accidentally getting drunk on it.

While Mr Cicerone was busy saying "Whooo!" I was at the Jolly Pumpkin booth sampling Vicious wheat IPA, closely followed by "Nightmare Before Vicious"- the same beer that had been in oak at the JP brewery for 6months. Mmm. Other favourites for me were also Fort St Brewery's Citra-sation, JP Fuego del Otono, Arcadia Nut Brown Ale, Wolverine's Brown lager, Dark Horse Bourbon-aged Plead the Fifth, the aformentioned Poisson Rouge, and, saving the best till last.....Big Rock's Red Rock Flanders Ale.

A Scary Kuhnhenn, The Big Banana, and Crazy Hat Lady.
Stay tuned for another strange-but-true Porta-Potti story.

Beer VS Wine with Cheese...... Motor City Wine, last Thursday, during Detroit Beer Week.
What a great time everybody had! Mr Cicerone and I did something we always say we will do, but somehow never get around to, which is try some really great wines. Thanks to David & Mark for their hospitality and great selections!
Mr Detroit Beer Week- Jon P.

Here's the pairings...
CHEESE- Fresh Mozzarella
BEER - Full Measure Brewing (AKA Mr Cicerone) Ginger Wheat
WINE - Bel Lago Leelanau Primavera

CHEESE - Bucheron aged goat
BBER - Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza
WINE - Morande Sauvignon Blanc - Chile
BEER - Dragonmead Final Absolution Tripel
WINE - Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Dry Riesling

CHEESE - Scottish mature cheddar
BEER - Fuller's ESB (Honorary Michigan beer)
WINE - Charles and Charles cab/syrah

CHEESE - Beemster Vlaskaas
BEER - Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale
WINE - Valtostao Legon Ribera del Duero

CHEESE - Grana Padano Parmagianno
BEER - Detroit Beer Co Detroit Dwarf
WINE - Tenuta Curreza Prine Nergoamaro/Primativo

CHEESE - Point Reyes Blue
BEER - New Holland The Poet Stout
WINE - (Sorry! I seem to have lost the wine for this one.)
Yes, that IS a piece of cheese on my head.....

CHEESE - English Stilton
BEER - Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine
WINE - D'Arenberg Sticky Chardonnay

And the winner is......Beer. We think. Though it might have been very close. We've not received the final tallies yet, but will post them when we do.
Pairing Number 9- the surprise pairing. One person actually tried this.

...Full post

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brew Day, Batch 326: Dortmunder

It's a beautiful sunny fall day outside, so I'm downstairs brewing some lager bier. Hey, the yeasties were ready. Target gravity 1.057, Pilsener + 15% Munich malt, Perle and Saaz to 30 BU. Decoction mash, as befits such a beer, and my workhorse Munich 308 yeast. The beer should be between a Pils and a Helles in terms of hop/malt balance, and a tad stronger than either.

Next up, pumpkin ale....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Beer Week Thus Far (Whoooo!!)

Whooo! Last night was great fun. Beer vs. Wine with cheese upstairs at Motor City Wines, New Holland revelry downstairs at Foran's Grand Trunk, Biketoberfesters infesting both. Mr. and Mrs. Cicerone enjoyed sampling some interesting wines, something we are always saying we are going to do, but never get around to. Thanks to Dave and Mark at Motor City Wines for the hospitality and expertise. After we discharged our Ciceroney duties upstairs, we headed downstairs for some Mad Hatter, and also to continue plotting world domination with the various DBW conspirators. We still have a way to go, but we can make Detroit Beer Week into a world class event. After all, we have an advantage over most other locales; we have the best beer! Whooo!!

See you at the MBG Fall Festival!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Whooo! Beer Week!! Whooo!!

Tuesday night's dinner at Cliff Bell's was great. Great food, great company, great beer. Tonight, Beer v. Wine Cheese pairing at Motor City Wines, New Holland at Grand Trunk, and Biketoberfest with bil! Whoooo!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two beers with every course.... the Detroit Beer Week beer dinner at Cliff Bell's last night.

Orange & coriander cured gravlox with crisp bagel chip, micro green salad & ginger creme fraiche.
Kuhnhenn's Tangerine wit, & Kuhnhenn's Double Rice IPA.
Mrs Cicerone says Wit. Mr Cicerone says DRIPA.

Beer braised Berkshire pork belly with roasted apple, white beans and lardons (it's pork fat).
Kuhnhenn Festbier. Dragonmead Octoberfest Marzen.
We both agreed on Kuhnhenn's Fest.

Duck confit with roasted pumpkin & root vegetable ragout with pumpkin ale reduction.
Dragonmead Final Absolution Tripel. Dragonmead Lil's Grumpkin Pumpkin ale.
Mrs Cicerone says Pumpkin ale. Mr Cicerone says Final Absolution. (He's wrong.)

Chocolate mousse parfait with macerated raspberries and solar syrup. (Mr Cicerone says his dessert had loads of blueberries. I think he was hallucinating.)
Kuhnhenn's Solar Eclipse Imperial Stout. Dragonmead's Under The Kilt Wee Heavy.
We both agreed on Kuhnhenn's Solar Eclipse.

Yes- there was TWO beers with every course. All this for $30. The dinner was well attended, and we were very pleasantly surprised to see Barry Johnson, owner of Saugatuck Brewery there!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Working hard.....

....preparing for our Beer VS Wine & Cheese event this Thursday.

(Yikes! Didn't realize Mr Cicerone snuck in this one of me passed out on the couch after too much Expedition Stout. Or Scotty Karate Scotch ale. Or all of the above.)

Slows 5th anniversary party...

...a few weeks back in Roosevelt Park. 'Twas a cold day, but I kept warm with lots and lots of great beers pouring from this portable dispensing truck. The $5 pints of La Chouffe really helped! As did a wonderfully strange pointy hat.

It was a great party! Beer, food, music, and lots of "bean bag tossing" shenanigans.....(Big party. Big abandoned building in background. Only in Detroit.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tap: Detroit. A great evening!

If you missed Tap: Detroit last night I can only say....."Your loss"!

St Andrew's hall was awash with great beer, food and music last night for the kick off event to Detroit Beer Week. For a mere $35 you had access to the main floor which hosted 7 stations, each with up to 6 different beers and food to go with. Plus some great music from a guy playing an electric cello (crazy but good!), and another band playing some country tunes.

Slows BarBQ were pairing lamb riblets with a chocolate barbeque sauce and a red cabbage slaw (mmmmm!!)- beer choices were too many to mention, but Kuhnhenn American IPA and New Holland Sundog Amber were our beers of choice with our snack, though Dark Horse Reserve Special Black would have been stellar with the chocolate sauce (it was pouring across the way). Detroit Beer Co had jambalaya paired with an English-style pale ale- a fine pairing. Grand Truck Pub had a delicious beef & lamb stew (thanks Dave!), and Arcadia Scotch and Dark Horse Special Reserve Black were the stars with this stew. Redsmoke Barbeque offered pulled pork (Mr Cicerone pronounced this to be very good) with teeny brioche buns, a great macaroni and cheese that tasted like it was made with some horseradish, and corn muffins. Arbor Brewing's Olde # 22 altbier was a fine accompaniment. Next up- Jacoby's with mini schnitzel, mini potato pancakes, meatballs and spaetzl. (The spaetzl were great!). Kuhnhenn's Oktoberfest hit the spot with this. And Millking It AXL pale ale. Talking about Kuhnhenn's, the guys left their own O'Fest celebration to come to this event. Eric looked pretty fancy in lederhosen too. The guacamole, salsa & pico de gallo from Zumba Mexican Grill was good, and popular. Last up was some really good Asiago cheese from Traffic Jam. Mighty good. Think I was drinking Kuhnhenn's Classic American Pils with this. Somewhere in the mix, we threw in a New Holland Hopivore wet hop ale (surprisingly, but deliciously malty), Dragonmead's Final Absolution, Founders Centennial IPA, and more. Again- all this for $35!

An extra $20 entitled you to access to the floor below which housed firkins from The Livery (String of Ponies pale ale), and New Holland (Ichabod pumpkin ale). And a tub full of Belgian and other imported beers. (Offerings included Duvel, Orval, D Tremens, Schlenkerla Rauchbier, Petrus Pale Ale). And Jolly Pumpkin's Luciernaga & La Parcela pumpkin ale. And both Big Rock's, & Kuhnhenn's Black IPA. And more. Great drinking and foot-tapping music was provided by an Irish-style band complete with fiddle and bodhran.

The extra $20 also got you to the top floor which housed a DJ (turns out it was David from Motor City Wine where we'll be doing the Beer VS Wine & cheese event on Thursday), B. Nektar meads, spirits from New Holland, Michigan vodka, and something called "Chocolate Cake Liqueur" (sorry- just not our thing).

A great evening, and thanks to Jason & Jon for all the hard work. Sadly, the event was a tad under attended. For anyone reading this- go next year!

...Full post

Every home in Michigan needs this......

Every bar in Michigan needs this......

A fridge dedicated to Michigan beer! (St Andrew's hall, scene of last night's Tap: Detroit.)
In close up.....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Detroit Beer Week

Gentlemen, (and ladies,) start your livers!

DBW starts tonight:

Tonight, Tap:Detroit at St. Andrew's Hall, previously detailed here, looks downright overwhelming; we will do our best to take advantage of all the foody and beery goodness on offer.

Sunday, while recovering from tonight's inevitable excesses, (and while hopefully brewing a batch of Dortmunder,) Mrs. Cicerone and I will be working out the final details for Thursday's Beer vs. Wine cheese pairing event at Motor City Wines. Tickets are $20 for approx. 8 pairings, a steal!

Tuesday night, we'll be staying out past our bedtime at Cliff Bell's, swankiest place in town, for their beer dinner, featuring Kuhnhenn Bros. and Dragonmead beers.

More Info:

The Free Press did a nice, thorough piece about Jon, Jason, and DBW here on Thursday, with events listed, and the Facebook list is updated constantly. Also, at my new favorite blog, Dining in Detroit, Nicole is "blogging the hell" out of DBW. Check it out.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Brew Day, Batch 325: Irish Stout

'bout time! Also preparing for batch 326, some kinda lager....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beer Brunch - Acknowledgements

Rye peppercorn ale idea stolen from my buddy Larry Kress.

Hop infused oil idea stolen from Sean Paxton.

Bacon fat popcorn stolen from Revolution Brewing in Chicago.

Chicken liver mousse idea stolen from the Local Taphouse in Melbourne.

Dunkel idea stolen from Bavaria.

Thanks to one and all!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Beer Brunch bites the dust....

(I'm suffering the aftermath as I write this- pure physical weariness along with that loverly "day- after-a-bit-too-much" woozy feeling. But O! It was SO worth it!)

Here's what we had.....
Mr Cicerone's "I'm Not a Frenchie" strong golden ale with gougeres (that's cheesey puffs), and bacon-fat popcorn with parmesan and fried sage leaves.
Mr Cicerone's ginger wheat ale with gazpacho Andaluso drizzled with ginger cream

Mr Cicerone's "Batch 300" rye barley wine with rye sourdough french toast, rye wort reduction syrup and sour cherry jam.

Mr Cicerone's "Old School" American IPA with greens, walnuts, chevre, mango and an Amarillo hop and blood orange marmalade vinaigrette.

He'Brew "Rejewvenator" date doppelbock with chicken liver mousse and broiled figs.

INTERMEZZO: Redstone Meadery "Nectar of the Hops".

Mr Cicerone's dunkel with double secret ultimate umami burger sliders
with mystery meat, manchego, tomato & shitake.

Mr Cicerone's rye peppercorn pale ale with preserved lemon cheesecake.
Mr Cicerone's "Buster" blonde uber bock with cheese- Manchego (Spain), Chimay a la Biere (Belgium), Mature Scottish cheddar (Scotland)

Three Floyds Dark Lord Stout 2009 with coconut ice cream.

Courtesy of Mr Cicerone's incredible year of brewing (two of the beers were brewed last year), we were heavy on the homebrew and light on commercial beers this time around.

Beautiful weather, fantastic food, amazing beer, even some good pairings if I say so myself, and great friends to share it all with. Life can be good!!

(Eeer, Uncle Dave, is that you??)

...Full post

A Little Sumpin' Wild....

From Lagunitas Brewing. A lovely accompaniment to our "quick sushi at home" meal consisting of rare seared tuna, edamame & sticky rice with nori. The beer is a strong ale made with pale malt and malted wheat, and fermented with Westmalle Tripel yeast. The fruity esters from the yeast shone through the layers of malt and hops. Very nice!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ashley's Cask Ale Fest

It's November 13, noon-6PM. Ashley's Westland.

Buy your tickets
on-line by October 10 for only $20!
After October 10 they're $35.

Th Spring cask fest was just great.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 7:00pm
St. Andrew's Hall, Detroit MI, Detroit, MI

This year’s Detroit Beer Week kicks off on October 16 with “Tap:Detroit” – a charity beer event at St. Andrews Hall, co-produced by Live Nation and Liquid Table, with support from the Michigan Brewers Guild and other sponsors. Tap:Detroit will feature eight of Detroit’s best beer-friendly restaurants pairing multiple dishes with Michigan Beer, a rare beer and cask ale sampling, live entertainment on all three floors, and a cocktail lounge showcasing Michigan-distilled spirits and meads. Tickets are $35 for the main event, and $55 for all-access. A portion of proceeds from Tap:Detroit will benefit Pints For Prostates, a charity to build awareness and fund research for prostate cancer. More information at
Tickets are available online @ & as well as St Andrew's box office, Kuhnhenn Brewery, Merchants Fine Wine, Grand Trunk Pub.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Intemperate Michigander Screed

On the plus side, this'll be short. I was putting together a backgrounder for Annette's TV appearance, just a collection of stats on the brewing industry here in the Great Beer State. One statistic in particular shifted a burr that's been under my saddle for a long time: Craft beer sales in Michigan account for 1.8% of all beer sales, less than half of the national average. (All figures from 2008.) Since ALL of the beer produced in Michigan is craft beer, that means that 98+% of the beer purchased by Michiganders comes from out of state. All you guys with the "Out of a job yet?" bumper stickers? Buy Michigan beer!

What makes all this doubly confounding is that there is no sacrifice involved in supporting the home team- Michigan produces some of the world's finest beer!

Ps- I also recommend buying a Chevy!

Mrs. Cicerone On TV

Annette was asked on somewhat short notice to appear on Channel 2's Saturday morning news show, to plug the Michigan Brewers Guild's Fall Festival. She was in three segments, and managed to get the plug in on the last one. Here are the clips, in the order they appeared:

Being on TV (or in any interview-type situation) is weird. It can be hard to get your information out there when someone else is steering the conversation, under tight time restrictions. Kudos to Mrs. Cicerone for doing a great job under pressure. (Now if I could just get used to being referred to as her 'entourage.') Chef Kelli was very cool, a good communicator, and a consummate professional. Here are links to the recipes from the two segments: Pancakes, Potato Salad, Fondue

The Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Festival will be on October 23rd at Eastern Market, from 1-6PM. More info here.

...Full post