Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We're not worthy!

Chefs Brian Perrone & Mike Metevia of Slows. Having dinner and beers, at OUR house last night, along with Slows manager Terry Perrone. And spouses. And baby Emmet.
On the menu- bacon fat popcorn (of course!), seafood gumbo,  grilled jerked leg o' lamb, roasted brussels, dirty rice, and the devil's ice cream (deep dark chocolate, cinnamon and chili pepper). And, lots o' beer.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Brew Day, Batch 329: Mild Ale

Mmm, mmm, mmmild ale. One of my favorites. And since my 3.5% special bitter will run out soon, I need another 'wimpy' beer to replace it. Targets: OG 1.036, 18 BU, deep reddish brown color. Malty but not sweet, hints of cocoa and burnt toffee, with a finish dried out in part by black malt. Mmmm....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to clog your arteries in one foul swoop.

That's not cream cheese in the tub, but Burrata- fresh mozzarella stuffed with cream
Eat burrata. That's fresh mozzarella stuffed with heavy cream. A mouthfull of buttery decadence sure to make you groan. Today's lunch consisted of said ambrosia, along with fresh goat cheese, fresh smoked mozzarella, fresh pretzel rolls, Mr Cicerone's fave Wensleydale, some good dry salami, and the last of our home-grown cherry tomatoes. The burrata & Wensleydale were just dandy with Three Floyd's Gumballhead, a nice citrusy American wheat.

Where did we get said treats? Everything bar the Wensleydale (and the tomatoes) (and the beer) were acquired FRESH this morning at the Zingerman's booth at Detroit's Eastern Market in Shed 2. Miss Jackie is there every Saturday, and you can sign up for her email newsletter which announces what she's going to bring each Saturday. She brings burrata about once a month.

Michigan Cask Ale festival

Firkins in/on the main bar. There's Rex!
Last Saturday, at Ashley's Westland. 20 casks, set up at 5 stations, and tapped at different times throughout the day. There was a decent size crowd, though memory recalls that the Spring fest was more crowded. Some of the highlights.....Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB, Bell's Double Cream Stout, New Holland Ichabod pumkin, Kuhnhenn ESB, Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA, Dark Horse Reserve Special Black. A wonderful surprise was Arcadia's Panama Red, a smoked red ale with a nice hoppy finish. Our Winner O' The Day though, was.....
Jolly Pumpkin's dry-hopped Bam. Yeh.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Cicerone-y dinner

Oven roasted rare rack of lamb, spiced with a few cloves of garlic and some fresh rosemary sprigs. A confit of onion and shallot (with the special addition of Mr Cicerone's dunkel to replace the beef stock). Oven roasted brussel sprouts, cooked until brownish and caramelly, and seasoned only with salt & pepper. Beers were Jolly Pumpkin's Biere De Goord (A limited release saison that has come and gone, brewed with kale, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin and green tea to help raise awareness about prostate cancer and generate funds for the Pints for Prostates campaign), and Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary Ale #2- Charlie Ken & Fred's Imperial Hellesbock.
 Feast fit for kings. Or Cicerones.

Brew Day, Batch 328: Maibock

10% light Munich, balance Pils malt. 30 BU from Sterling and a moderate lateish dose of Saaz. Target gravity of 1.069.

On a somber note, today I drank the very last two bottles of Berliner Kindl Weisse in my possession, and possibly in all of Michigan. Berliner Weisse is the unfailing friend of the decoction kettle stirrer, with its quenching acidity and its schankbier strength. Next time around I'll have to content myself with the Bruery's Hottenroth....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brew Day, Batch 327: IPA

Staying old school with this one, old school American craft IPA, that is- Briess 2 row base, with some Munich and Crystal to round it out and add some color. Centennial, Perle, Cascade, and Willamette hops to around 55 BU; OG 1055-1060. Chico ale yeast will do the actual work.

Doughed in early enough that if things go right, I can still take Mrs. Cicerone over to the pub for some Indian pudding after I'm finished. Whoo!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The True Last Gasp of Summer

The ginger wheat ale coughed. Sigh.

Monday, November 8, 2010


That would be the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild's Festival of Wood & Barrel-aged Beer, held last Saturday in Chicago. This was the 8th year for this event. I remember going to the first one, in 2003, held upstairs at Rockbottom Chicago. It was the first time I tasted Samuel Adam's Utopias, too- there was a keg of it!

Mr Siebel, Keith Lemke
Some (but not all) of the breweries in attendance....
Bluegrass Brewing (KY), Capital (WI), Destihl (IL), Dogfish Head (DE), Firestone Walker (CA), Flossmoor Station (IL), Founders (MI), Goose Island (Chicago), Glacier (AK), Kona (HI), Lagunitas (CA), Lost Abbey (CA), Metropolitan (IL), New Holland (MI), Piece (Chicago), Rockbottom (many!), Schlafly (MO), Shmaltz (NY), Smuttynose (NH), Stone (CA), Three Floyds (IN), & Two Brothers (IL).
Yay! Aaron from Stone Brewing.
Categories of wood & barrel-aged beer included Classic Porter/Stout (9 beers), Strong Porter/Stout (26 beers), Barleywine/Wheatwine (17 beers), Classic styles not higher than 7% ABV (10 beers), Strong/Double/Imperial Pale beer (18 beers), Strong/Double/Imperial Dark beer (22 beers), Fruit (6 beers), Experimental (19 beers), Wild (6 beers), Wild Acidic (25 beers), and Bottled (17 beers). That's, er, you do the math. Lots of beers.
Fraternizing with The Press. Is that the Ape Man of New Orleans?
Not being a HUGE fan of bourbon/whisky aged beer, Mr Cicerone and I sought out the wild, acidic, and simple oak-aged beers, though we did have a good shot at a few bourbon or whisky-aged ones. Our favourite of the day (we both chose this beer) was from  Metropolitan Brewing in Chicago. Their Docks of Riga Baltic Porter, brewed with a small portion of cherrywood smoked malt and aged with toasted oak, was layered with flavours of chocolate, black malt, and wood. It was truly delicious.
It's Rodney, Sam Adams Longshot winner 2010. And New Holland's Fred.
Other faves of mine were Flossmoor's Rosie Pom (wild acidic beer aged 2 years in whire wine barrels with pomegranate), Firestone Walker's Lil Opal (Saison aged for 17 months in medium toasted American oak), Half Acre's Pear Goss (gold ale with pears aged in French Oak wine barrels with Lactobacillus Delbrueckii & Brett Bruxellensis), Lagunitas Bourbon barrel-aged Cappucino Stout (took Bronze in the Experimental category), New Belgium's Eric's Ale, New Belgium's Tart Lychee (sour beer blended with lychee & cinnamon), and Shmaltz's Vertical Jewbelation ( a blend of all 7 Jewbelation beers aged in Sazerac rye whisky). My sample of the Best of Show winner, Port Brewing's Red Poppy Ale, a Flanders red-style ale produced with sour cherries and aged in French oak, was poured into my glass (it was a bottled beer) by an enthusiastic, but untrained volunteer, and it contained an inch of yeast sludge. Still good, but not a perfect sample for tasting nuance.
Sir Cicerone and The Mighty Karen
Beers I missed out on tasting (they were saving beer for the evening session) were Goose Island's Bourbon County Ancho Stout & Madame Rose, Dogfish's Poppa Skull (Collaboration with Three Floyds, brewed with cardamon), Founders Backwoods Bastard, Piece's Jockey Full of Bourbon, & Two Brothers Heavier Handed IPA (aged in French oak).

Dinner at Revolution Brewing followed- bacon-fat popcorn, "spaghetti & meatballs" (venison meatballs atop spaghetti squash), a pizza with toppings of Cider braised pork shoulder, granny smith apple, gorgonzola, onion, fennel & tarragon, and meat loaf with celeriac mashed potato and turnip greens. Fantastic beers, fantastic food.

A great time was had by all.

National Indian Pudding Day 2010

Where has the time gone? This Thursday the celebration begins at Fort Street Brewery, with both the pudding itself and Indian Pudding Ale, made, like the dessert, with corn, molasses, ginger, milk, and cinnamon. Whoo! Mr. Cicerone has been looking forward to this; the only reason he might miss the Thursday night festivities is if he is brewing. Thursday is also Veterans Day, and we here at Chez Cicerone suggest you grab the nearest veteran and give him or her a big sloppy kiss. Since Son of Cicerone is in the far-off land of California, he will have to settle for a big sloppy text, but Dad of Cicerone is close to hand....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A bit o' trivia that has nothing to do with beer

If you were like me and wondered why Nick Park chose Wensleydale cheese as Wallace's fave, then here's the answer....
It made his mouth look big and toothy when he pronounced the name.

(It apparently really helped keep production of this strange cheese going - the factory was on the brink. Mr Cicerones loves this odd, dry and slightly bitter cheese. I can take or leave it.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

If you're Jewish, and a beer lover.....

...this is the BEST present ever. I just gave one to myself. The great thing is that all these beers are REALLY good.
The Vertical Jewbelation giftpack, from Shmaltz Brewing.

Inside.....8 bottles of Jewbelation Ale- all 7 recipes, plus Vertical Jewbelation which is aged in whisky.
And....Chanukah candles, and a fabulously cool glass. Plus......

 Build your own Beer Menorah!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mary says....

.....that Fort Street Brewery's Piston Pale Ale is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.