Thursday, December 29, 2011

Brew Day, Batch 356: Matmos Ale

Another beer where the name came first! We were talking about future Movie Nights, and agreed that Barbarella is on the list.

Don't let the picture of a young, hot Jane Fonda in a sexy outfit snare you; this movie kills brain cells faster than crack.
In this comically bad 1968 sci-fi movie, the dangerous city of Sogo "where a new sin is invented every hour," sits above a subterranean lake filled with an evil sentient goop called "the Matmos." Mrs. C., Uncle Dave, and I figured we needed Matmos Ale for a Barbarella movie night.

Hm. Well, the Matmos seemed to be rather viscous, so right away that points to some good ol' flaked rye. Since it's evil, it ought to be dark. The beer will be pretty highly carbonated as it is supposed to be 'alive.' After coming up with these easy parts, I tossed the formulation over to the voices in my head for consultation, and this is what we came up with:

10 gallon recipe

10 lbs. Briess 2 row pale malt
2 lbs. Weyermann Munich II
2 lbs. flaked rye
1/2 lb. Briess crystal 40L
1/2 lb. Briess crystal 80L
1/2 lb. Dingemans Special B
0.9 oz. Nugget hops 12% alpha (60 min.)
1.0 oz. Nugget hops 12% alpha (20 min.)
1/2 c cocoa powder (10 min.)
1/2 t powdered ginger (10 min.)
1/2 t powdered cardamom (10 min.)
1/2 t powdered cayenne (10 min.)
Wyeast 1098 ale yeast

Weird, eh? The mash was a single infusion at 148F. Once the wort was boiled and cooled we had 10.5 gallons at OG 1.052, a little higher than I'd planned. The beer will be a dark amber color, heavy bodied, with a range of malty flavors including toast, toffee, chocolate, prune, and a spicy, earthy flavor from the rye. The spices are all at (hopefully,) a level where they should not be directly discernible, but should enhance the rye and specialty malt flavors. We will see....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ashley's Belgian Fest

Ashley's Westland is holding its second annual Belgian Fest from February 9 until February 19, 2012. Last year we attended a couple of the events - the highlight for us being "Sour Fest". Here's a peek at some of the line-up for this year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brew Day, Batch 355: SunuvaBuster 2011

Buster was actually brewed yesterday. Today, I took 10 gallons of extra sweet wort I'd collected yesterday while Buster was boiling, topped the kettle up to 12 gallons, and made some Bonus Beer. Tasting the sweet wort, I found it to be decidedly chocolatey tasting. I didn't want to distract from that too much, and so added only one kettle addition of Centennial hops to an estimated 35 BU. Centennial hops, to my taste, contribute a distinctive candy-like bittersweet character when used as a kettle (bittering) hop. The finished OG was a whopping 1.042, and I expect it to attenuate pretty well. We could be drinking this beer pretty soon, I reckon, depending on tap spots....

Brew Day, Batch 354: Buster 2011

As in years past, the "Buster" beer for 2011 will be 1) massive, 2) unconventional in some way. This year, I began thinking along the lines of an Imperial stout with some sort of odd fruit adjunct such as dates or raisins or prunes. The more I thought of it, the more I liked the idea of prunes- a prune-like flavor is pretty natural in a strong dark beer, especially an aged one, as this one would be. Plus, drawing on my Cicerone skills, I have determined that prunes taste dandy. I discussed recipe formulation with my co-conspirator Skip, telling him that I was thinking Imperial stout with some sort of fruit, and he said, without a pause, "Prunes!" Done, and done.

Now, the prunes won't come into play until after the wort is fermented; we will rack the green beer onto a couple pounds, coarsely chopped, in each of two five gallon secondary fermenters.

What did come into play was a lot of malt. A. Lot. Here's the grain bill for 10 gallons:

48 lbs. Muntons Marris Otter Pale Ale malt
1 1/2 lbs. Briess  40L Crystal
1 1/2 lbs. Briess 80L Crystal
1/2 lb. Dingemanns Special B
2 lbs. Fawcett Light Chocolate malt
2 lbs. British roasted barley

This lot was infusion mashed in two cooler type mash/lauter tuns at around 152F with 1qt./lb for around 90 minutes. First runnings yielded only about 8 gallons, so we sparged both mashes a bit to collect a total of about 13-1/2 gallons in the kettle. Once this was reduced to a wee bit over 10 gallons, the ol'l hydrometer read 1.113. Whoa. Cool.

When the volume in the kettle got down to about 12 gallons, we started tracking time. 30 minutes from that point, we added about 2 ounces of Magnum at 20.5% alpha, and one ounce of Nugget at 12%. 40 minutes later, an ounce of Mt. Hood went into the kettle. The extremely scientific calculations underlying these additions have us in the neighborhood of 85 BUs total.

Once cooled, this very heavy wort was turned over to a healthy slurry of Wyeast 1056, which tore into it like a starving wolverine attacking a juicy hamster. Stay tuned....

We have it all!




The end result of this

We tried Mr Cicerone's Wee Heavy ( just a tad too lightweight for this incredibly rich boozy pudding, but close),
Mr Cicerone's Buster '09 (one of my favourite beers EVER, but the pudding made the beer taste too bitter), and Mr Cicerone's Buster  2010- perfect! It takes one MIGHTY beer to stand up to this dessert.

Potato latkes for Chanukah, along with, er, ham and shrimp?
Among the many beers consumed, the "official" Chanukah beer is always He'Brew "Origin" pomegranate ale.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Brewing Buster....

As I type, Mr Cicerone is all-consumed brewing Buster 2011, an Imperial Stout, with an er, secret ingredient to be added later. Here's some pictures.....


Lots of malt. Two mash tuns. Ready to go.
Filling the second mash tun. It (almost) doesn't fit.
Mr Cicerone needs a boost.
Stirring the porridge
Getting help lifting the mash tun from our friend Aaron, the Stone rep who left us for Chicago.
  Mash. Vorlauf. Running in.
All in.



Hop Babes Nicole and Mrs. C add the first charge of hops.
Sloooowly running in to the carboys.

Git yer own!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve, Cicerone Style

Aperitif: Bridgeport Hop Harvest Ale, a fresh hopped Imperial IPA. Massively bitter, fairly light bodied, and nary a whiff of grass clippings, cat byproducts, or any such unpleasantness. Awwright!

We enjoyed the IPA with some of our favorite cheeses, Manchego, Wensleydale, and Farm Country Truffle, while waiting for our porcini-crusted lamb shanks to sloooowly roast. When the bomber of IPA ran out, we dialed the throttle back a bit and enjoyed some special bitter from downstairs, which despite its diminutive OG, was actually a better partner with all of the cheeses. This keg was dry hopped with Northern Brewer, and is gulpably good, to use more of that fancy Ciceroney language.

Main course:  Lamb shanks slow roasted with a paste rub of garlic, shallot, thyme, and rosemary, and finished with dried porcini crumb crust. A sauce made with pan drippings, and a deglaze using Buster 2010 Uber-doppelbock. Plated up with some steamed spinach and mashed rutabaga, to catch all the tasty drippin's. Beer: Allagash Musette, a Belgian style Scotch ale aged (partially) in a bourbon cask. The Musette was deliciously malty; the booze character was minimal.

Dessert beer: 2010 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Woof. Veery boozy and a bit hot. Wish we'd let this one rest another, say, 5-10 years.

All of this occurred in front of a cheery fire. And to all, a good night....

A reminder....

....to go to The Oak Cafe. Here's what we had there last night, on tap.....

Bell's Best Brown Ale- cask-conditioned!
Rodenbach Grand Cru
Short's Sour Puss (Wow! Forget Key Lime Pie and S'Mores Stout! Make more of this!!)
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice
Well's Banana Bread Beer (never seen this on tap before)
(Sierra Nevada) Ovila Dubbel
B. Nektar Zombie Killer Cherry Cyser (Really well done!)
Great Divide Oak-aged Yeti Chocolate (Hints of cayenne. WOW!)

I couldn't manage any Goose Island Matilda or Gouden Carolus Noel.  Shame.

Go!

Whoa.

Because Mrs. Cicerone is clever, we had an amazing dinner last week. Duck confit risotto with Infinium. I'm going to have to shift into hyper-technical Ciceroney talk to describe the Infinium: Wow.

Life is gooood.
But, seriously, wow. As many know, there was a problem with many bottles of the first go-around of Infinium; they were overrun by the dread spoiler diacetyl. Not so with this subsequent batch; it is, I imagine, what was intended by the evil geniuses that conceived of this project. This 10% all malt beer has a subdued nose that reminds one of a "wheat wine" such as Two Brothers Bare Tree, which follows into the strongly malty flavor, with flavors of golden raisins, concentrated pilsner malt, apricot, and noble hop. Then, ...a vanishingly dry finish.The attenuation of this beer is nothing short of amazing. Details are scarce on the patentedTM process behind it, but some here at Chez Cicerone suspect a veeery low-n-slow mash. Check it out if you can find some.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And, on the way home......

......a stop at Dark Horse for the 4 Elf party


...where we shared a beer (Mr Cicerone- Rod, me- Fore Smoked stout) with.....

Barry & Kathy Johnson of Saugatuck. Brewing. Barry IS Saugatuck Brewing. We also run into him everywhere we go.
And....we had a few fun moments with.....

Scotty Karate!
And, ate a little of this, too......

Another Eccentric Day, enjoyed and survived!

Let's see.....we had Two Hearted, Christmas Ale, Amber Ale, Oarsman, Sparkling (sorry, just don't like this beer), Harvest Ale (mmmm, interesting and delicious malt character, hoppy and good), golden rye (wish I could get a lot more of this), Exp Hop 2011-1 (I didn't recommend this one to Mr Cicerone. Read why.), Oracle DIPA, Kalamazoo Stout (first beer of the day), Java stout, Expedition, Rye stout, Smoked stout (yeh!), Harry Magill's & Eccentric Ale.

The food did not disappoint either, there being lots of good fishy things, good cheese, pickled eggs, smoked wild boar, head cheese chock full o' tongue (mmmm), and a large pot of spicy alligator gumbo.




Mr Cicerone, viewing the world through Kalamazoo Stout.
Very silly people

Now bring us some figgy pudding.....

They're soaking in it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thanks Mike!

Mmmm. Chock full of rich, crystal-like malt character, and fresh Cascadey aroma and flavour.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Idea: Feed Mayonnaise to Tunafish

In a cheesy, mostly mediocre movie called "Night Shift," movie audiences were introduced to an actor named Michael Keaton, who played the character Bill "Billy Blaze" Blazejowski. A self-proclaimed "ideas man," he was always shouting his crackpot ideas (hence the title of this post) into a portable tape recorder he carried around everywhere.

Because I am not a movie character, I don't have an audible, visual, prop to show when I have Big Ideas. They just rattle around in my skull until I do something about them. So it was with the idea to Feed Barbecue Potato Chips To Chickens. Well, not exactly, but I had this idea for "Barbecue" Barbecue Chicken.

***DIGRESSION ALERT***




...Full post

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Brew Day, Batch 353: X-Treem IPA

Well, from my point of view, anyways. There was a time when IPAs were not all a minimum of 7% and 70 BUs. My regular version is in the 5.5-6.0% range, 55-60 BUs, but today I wanted to experiment with the fresh Citra hops I'd just got in, and one thing led to another.... Today's beer is going to be in the 7% range, deep amber, 70+ BUs from 4 additions of Citra. Because these hops seem to be pretty resiny, the grist is designed to provide a lot of richness to support them. The following sketchy recipe is for 10 gallons:

17 #  Briess 2 row
3  #  Weyermann Munich 2
1  #  Briess Crystal 40L
1/2#  Briess Crystal 80L
1/4#  Fawcett light chocolate
1 oz  Citra 13.7% alpha (60 min.)
2 oz  Citra 13.7% alpha (30 min.)
1.5oz Citra 13.7% alpha (20 min.)
1.5oz Citra 13.7% alpha (10 min.)

Single temp infusion mash at 150F, 1qt./lb.
OG 1.068
I'm using a healthy slurry of Wyeast 1056, but yeast strain is not critical with this XTRREEM ingredient bill.

Honestly, I'm a bit scared that this will be too resiny and stinky for my taste. If it's too much for me and Mrs. C., I may be advertising a half-pound of hops and a couple kegs 'free to good home.'

Monday, December 5, 2011

Only 5 days to go.....

....until Eccentric Day!

(More)

(More)

Ode to a haggis....

I love haggis!

Luckily, getting some is easy, if you happen to be in the vicinity of Battle Creek in early December. You might be lucky enough to be at Arcadia Brewery on their annual anniversary celebration, an occasion featuring not only great beer....not only haggis....but Tim Suprise himself addressing the haggis! This year was their 15th anniversary. (Congratulations Tim, Josh, Stacey, Rick, and everyone involved with this wonderful brewery!)

We dined well on haggis....wanna know a big secret? Haggis is NOT the nasty, slimy brains-of-a-she-monster thing that everyone seems to think it is. It's MEATLOAF. Yes, there are organy bits in there, and maybe it's cooked inside a sheep stomach, but it's chock full of spices, and oats, and it tastes great. Even Uncle Dave liked it!

See? Meatloaf!
Arcadia brought out two versions of an 15th anniversary ale this year, for sale only at the brewery on celebration day. The base beer was a strong brown ale brewed with tart cherries. Anniversary 15 was this beer aged in bourbon barrels. Anniversary XV was this beer aged in red wine barrels. Sadly, on the day yours truly was suffering a terrible cold that totally killed her taste buds, with beer being the big loser. So, no report! I couldn't taste much! (I still can't, and haven't enjoyed a beer for nearly a week!!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A belated, and quick Thanksgiving post

Due to important things, oh like flying to California to see Mr Cicerone's first grandchild, we haven't posted anything about this year's Thanksgiving feast. So, it's brief, but here we go....

Mother O' Mr Cicerone offered to host, and though that means some compromising with the menu, we were only too happy this year to drive the 5 blocks there, rather than spend three days in preparation doing it at Chez Cicerone. (Let's just say that due to a combination of work, a grandchild and USPS we just didn't have the time this year.)  Turkey, gravy and mashed potato were made by our hosts. Oh, and this too, being the only vegetable that Dad O'Cicerone will eat.....
 That left us, and my sister-in-law, a creative and good cook, to bring the rest!
APPETIZERS  Hot crabby dip. Mmm. Cheese. Mmm. Cheese-stuffed dates with prosciutto. Mmm. Gougeres.
Beers with appetizers were Mr Cicerone's "Atmospherium" saison, Les Deux Brasseurs (sadly past its prime), Jolly Pumpkin Lupulo de Hielo, and a bottle of good Champagne to toast the latest addition to our family.
SOUP I made a delicious squash soup spiced with Garam Masala and other Indian spices. I'd used some of Mr Cicerone's Wee Heavy in the soup, and this went perfectly wth the soup. New Holland's Beerhive Tripel was also good, though a tad sweet for the soup.
SIDES WITH TURKEY  Yay! Oyster and shiitake dressing. Spectacular! Greek salad with lots of feta and some pomegranate seeds. My sister-in-law made a sausage and apple dressing, roasted brussel sprouts, peas with pancetta (yum), and a great cranberry and orange sauce. The turkey was pretty good, considering it was done at the most basic level (frozen turkey, not brined.) Uncle Dave fancied up the potatoes with bacon. Beers - it was a "let's just take all these beers that have been sitting in our fridge forever and drink them" occasion. So we did. Russian River Damnation 23 (nice, oakey, orangey notes) and Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin were drunk and enjoyed. Plus Mr Cicerone's Bitter & Goose Island's Winter Mild. 
DESSERT Pumpkin pies by my sister-in-law, which I'm sure were delicious, but I'm not much of a "pah" eater, so skipped it. We'd made caramel ice cream earlier that week, and that, with Mr Cicerone's Wee Heavy, ended the meal on a great note.


After dinner Mr Cicerone's Buster 2010 made us all drunk, though we wept tears of joy at the incredible deliciousness of this beer as we imbibed.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A chip off the old block...or Baby's first outing.

Mr Cicerone's first grandchild Mia (being held by Son O'Cicerone). 4 days old; her first outing is to a brewpub.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Brew Day, Batch 352: Rye Peppercorn Pale Ale

A favorite.

A recipe:

10 US gallons

Mash:

11   lb. pale 2 row malt
5    lb. Munich malt
2    lb. flaked rye
1/4  lb. Special B

Infusion mash 1 qt./lb. at 150-152F. Rye can make for a slow runoff, so consider doing a mashoff with an infusion of boiling water.

Boil:

1 1/2  oz. Centennial 10.5 % for 60 min.
1/2    oz. Cascade 8.6% for 15 min.
1/2    oz. Cascade 8.6% for 5 min.
2      oz. coarsely ground Tellicherry pepper for 5 min.

Total estimated BU is around 35.
OG around 1.055ish.

Chill and pitch with ale yeast; I like to use Wyeast 1098 for a wee bit of esteriness, but this is really an ingredient-driven beer, so don't sweat yeast choice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dinner!

Quick post on a truly delicious dinner! Gnocci (store bought) with home-made pesto (garden-grown basil), garnished with toasted pine nuts and fresh Parmigiano. Beer- 5 Rabbit Brewery- 5 Vulture Oaxacan-style ale brewed with ancho chili and piloncillo sugar.

I'd purchased this beer last weekend while in Chicago, and was dying to try it. We popped open a bottle while preparing dinner, and found it tasted wonderful with our basic vinaigrette-dressed salad that incorporated greens and red bell peppers. Mr Cicerone's dry-hopped-with-Goldings-Bitter was our beer of choice with the gnocci, but we also found that the rich malt character and nice mild chili flavour paired nicely with the pesto sauce.

Note- I am to believe that the 5 Rabbit guys, yet to own their own brewery, have just started to brew their beers at our very own Saugatuck Brewery! I had a pint of their Vida y Muerte ale at Hopleaf in Chicago this past weekend, their first beer brewed at Saugatuck.

5 Rabbit Vida y Muerte Harvest Ale
"For fall, we wanted to make a beer that celebrates the spirit of the harvest season. The beer itself is loosely based on an Oktoberfest/märzen style, a rich, caramelly beer. Our version, which we call a "müerzen," is fermented with ale yeast for a slight fruitiness, and has some very nontraditional ingredients in it. First is dulce de leche, a delicious milk caramel popular throughout Latin America. It brings a delicate carameliness to the beer, plus a touch of milk sugar, which being unfermentable, adds a very slight sweetness to the finished beer. In addition, we chose some spices to give the beer a delicate spiciness that is a bit reminiscent of graham crackers."

(The beer tasted of malt, cinnamon and anise. Delicious!)

The Rockery rocks!

The Rockery in Wyandotte have an amazing Michigan beer selection that just keeps getting better. The Lovely Melanie has just announced the inaugural  meeting for the Downriver Women's Craft Beer Lovers Society at The Rockery on Thursday December 8 at 7PM. More details here if you use Facebook.

See you there!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brew Day, Batch 351: Return of Leap Beer

A long, long, time ago, in a brewery far away... uh, OK, 15 years ago, several blocks from here, I made my first beer with rye as an adjunct. I had seen scant mention of rye in the brewing literature, but knew it was used occasionally in some way. I picked up a small amount of flaked rye on a whim one day, and decided to include it in a batch of simple ale to see what it was like. My wife-of-those-days questioned the wisdom of using this unknown adjunct without following some sort of recipe or procedure, but I countered with the point that it was February 29, and I was taking a leap. Not much of a leap, really- it was a pre-gelatinized cereal, and only 15% of the grist, the bulk of which was good old super-diastatic Briess 2 row. But Leap Beer was kind of a fun name, so it stuck. And we loved the beer. It was your basic blond ale with a little spicy something extra, and the unexpectedly heavy body that rye brings. Many subsequent batches of beer included rye, but I never made anything like that first experimental ale again, until today. Technical geekery below the fold:


...Full post

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Tap Handle For Buster

My friend Dan used to have a tap handle that was a spring-loaded wiggly hula girl. This tap handle was so cool that you would actually drink more of whatever beer it was dispensing than you would otherwise, just for the fun of operating the tap. I recently made a tap handle that might have a similar effect on the drinker, made more dangerous by the beer it was designed for, Buster. Also, Buster. Check it out:


...Full post

Monday, November 7, 2011

Movie night....

...at The "New Burton Theatre", AKA Chez Cicerone. 
(Named as such after the original Burton closed, though I believe it has opened again. So, we're the "New Burton", and they are the "New Old Burton"?)

 Besides all things Ciceroney, I'm a big independent movie nut. Nothing makes me happier than combining my love of beer and food with the delights of interesting and different movies. I've seen countless independent, foreign & "arty farty" movies, and wish I'd started and kept some sort of listing when I first discovered there was something more to movies than  "Rocky" which everybody was raving about, and which I have never seen to this day. Aptly, I think my first foreign movie was Tampopo, a bizarre Japanese movie about food.
Anyway,  Mr Cicerone surprised me over the summer with a projector and screen all set up in the basement. So we can have many more movie nights, like this.
This past Sunday it was Leningrad Cowboys Go America, an old favourite from that strange Fin, Aki Kaurismaki.

The Cowboys.
Dinner was onions. Amongst many other good things. Many beers were drunk, including Einbecker Maibock and Mr Cicerone's Buster 2009 and 2010.We did consider Wodka, but hey, we're beer people!

Previous Movie Nights included The Room and Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster. (Slight digression- Mr Cicerone and I watched this movie the very first time we spent an evening together. It was a very promising start to our future together!)  Future Movie nights will include such gems as The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T, Barbarella, The Abominable Dr Phibes, Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Triplets of Belleville, and many more.

Doing what we do.....

Dinner at home- rack of lamb, rubbed with a Moroccan spice blend of cumin, sweet paprika, cayenne, ginger, cloves, turmeric, nutmeg & coriander. (Delicious!!) Spinach- simply done. Israeli couscous infused with garlic and preserved lemon. And our second last home-grown Caspian Pink heirloom tomato. Served with The Bruery/Cigar City collaboration beer, Marron Acidifie Oud Bruin. Wonderful.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Brew Day, Batch 350: Nugget Pale Ale

Mmm, my most favoritest pale ale ever. American Pale Ale, target gravity 1.048, 45 BUs from 3 additions of the esteemed Nugget variety of hops. I usually tell people that this one is exactly how the voices in my head described it. Closer to the truth would be that it's what I've settled on after brewing many, many batches of pale ale. Because the voices said to....

Friday, November 4, 2011

Brew Day, Batch 349: Rauchbier

Ja... rauchbier! 'Bout damn time. We're looking at high 1.050s and 24 BU, with a medium to dark amber color from 2/3 home-smoked rauchmalz, and 1/3 a blend of Weyermann Munich 1 and 2 (mostly 1.) I'm cutting the rauchmalt on this one because it's the first significant use of this batch and thus somewhat unknown- I expect the beer to be somewhere between the light smokiness of Spezial and the robust smokiness of Schlenkerla. I further expect some rich malt flavor from the good Deutscher malt and a decoction mash. Fortunately, the hot, steamy work of conducting said mash is made easier by Batch 346, a nicely balanced, dry-hopped, under-4% ale....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Brew Day, Batch 348: Return of Winter Ginger

Is 6lbs./bbl. too much ginger? Not in this beer, which has lots of heavy duty malt character from Pils, dark Munich, and a bit of CaraMunich, to about 7% v/v. It does take a while for it to mature, though....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mrs. C In EID

Nicole of awesome foodie blog Eat It Detroit, formerly known as Dining In Detroit, dropped in on Annette at the store Saturday, one thing led to another, and... check out the nice story and pix here.

More CBS fun

Miss Eat It Detroit, Nicole, joined in the fun at Merchant's this past Saturday, too. Here are her pictures...

Beer Week! Whooo!!

This week, we are on the "Beer Dinner A Day" diet, a grueling marathon. The first event, the Dogfish Head dinner at Slows, was amazing; Mrs. C has loads of food-porn pix, and will recap the dinner, but just let me say, Whooo!!

It warms my heart to see a beer dinner at Slows again after so much time off, and to see Chef Brian and Chef Mike so happy to be doing what they do so well. Can't wait for the next one. Meantime, we're off to Foran's Grand Trunk tonight for a dinner featuring Barry Johnson's Saugatuck Brewing Co. beers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

We worship and adore you O! CBS.....

My customers, struck speechless, immediately dropped to their knees upon sighting the Holy Grail.....



Mrs Cicerone & Miss Eat It Detroit with the Sacred Object.

Detroit Beer Week is upon us!

Check out the menu for tonight's Dogfish Head dinner at Slows.

The menu for tomorrow night's dinner at Cliff Bell's with Dragonmead and Kuhnhenn is here.

The Saugatuck Brewing beer dinner at Foran's Grand Trunk pub, also tomorrow evening, is sold out. The menu has not been posted anywhere. We'll report on it after the fact!

Wednesday brings Beer VS Wine with cheese & charcuterie. Can't wait for this one! Last year Mr Cicerone and I did the cheese portion, but this year we're free to just go and enjoy!

Wednesday also brings Short's beer dinner at Andiamo, Dearborn. The menu has not been posted, but these are the beers......
Andiamo/Short's Beer Dinner Beers:
Bellaire Brown
Huma Lupa Licious
Autumn Ale
Mystery Stout
The Soft Parade

Thursday sees Bell's at The Rattlesnake Club. Check out this menu.....

And, I just read that Portofino in Wyandotte will be hosting another Saugatuck Brewing dinner on Thursday. Here's the details so far....

There's also a bunch of Happy Hours, including a Sour Hour at Slows On Wednesday, a Founders event on Thursday with a KEG OF CBS (see next post!), and other interesting events, like this one....., and this one.....and this one....

Full list available here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beer dinners- past, and future!

Dessert- Caramel mouse, eeer...mousse, with chocolate pot au creme & hazelnut ice cream. Paired with Sam Adams Cream Stout.
We attended a spectacular Sam Adams beer dinner at Wolfgang Puck Grille last week. Chef Marc did another incredible job pairing five beers with 5 mouth-watering courses. Miss Jessica, the Sam Adams rep, did a wonderful job presenting the dinner, and talking about the company and the beers.
APPETIZERS- Shrimp tempura, crab cakes, tuna tartare- all paired with the lovely lemony Coastal Wheat.
TWO- Sauteed red snapper, mussels, caramelized cauliflower, pepperoni & saffron beurre blanc- paired with Sam Adams Imperial White Ale  ( delicious malty, spicy wheat wine). This was Chef Marc's homage to paella!
THREE - Roasted pork tenderloin with cabbage, confit of bacon, cider glaze & mustard sauce-paired with Sam Adams Oktoberfest marzen. Mmm, Mmm.
FOUR - Beef tenderloin with cipollini onion, blue cheese, cabernet reduction & fingerling potato, paired with Sam Adams Boston Lager. A rich, intensely flavoured dish on many levels that may have been a little better matched with a slightly stronger flavoured beer (Black lager or Boston ale would be my first pick from their portfolio), but the Boston Lager was pretty close to matching the intensity. Boston Lager is a delicious, flavourful, and often overlooked beer....
DESSERT- delicious on all accounts. A great match.
Thanks once again to Jessica, Chef Marc, and the entire team at Wolfgang Puck Grille for their exceptional service.

UPCOMING BEER DINNERS....
Detroit Beer Week is upon us again. Apart from a bunch of beery events, there's a slew of beer dinners that are not to be missed!
Monday October 17- details not finalised yet, but Slows are having a Dogfish Head beer dinner.
Tuesday October 18 - Cliff Bell's Dragonmead/Kuhnhenn beer dinner, AND Foran's Grand Trunk Pub Saugatuck Brewing Beer Dinner, which I think is sold out.
Wednesday October 19 - Andiamo Dearborn's Short's beer dinner
Thursday October 20 - Rattlesnake Club Bell's beer dinner

Get ready to loosen your belts!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

We need *proper* bagels in Detroit!

As it stands now, I shlep to Elaine's Bagels in Berkley once a month just to buy bagels. Because bread baked in a circle with a hole in the middle is NOT necessarily a bagel. 

 The Detroit Institute of Bagels is coming. Vote for them here so they win the Hatch Detroit competition, which gives them $50,000 to set up shop.

Brew Day, Batch 347: Helles

First lager of the fall, which should be ready around November feasting time. And a good thing, too, because hellesbier has quite the affinity for food. Today's targets: OG 1.044-1.048 from Pils malt with 10% or so light Munich malt, and 22 BU from Sterling and/or Perle, with a nice dose of Saaz for flavor and aroma. The esteemed Wyeast 2308 Munich lager will handle the alchemical portion of the job.

Side note at the bottom: I note happily that the tap water temperature hereabouts is finally below 70F and dropping, good news for those of us who depend on it to chill down boiling hot wort.

Side note at the bottom #2: Today is undoubtedly the last Saturday this year where the mercury hits 80F outside, so here I am, in the basement....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Detroit Beer Week Approaches

We're still a bit short on details, but here is the executive summary:

When: October 13-23, 2011
What: Beer related special events
Where: All of your favorite beery places around town
Who: All of us!
Why: Beer! Whoooo!!
How: Show up thirsty....

A growing list of some of the events can be seen here.

We would also like to point out that the Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Festival will be on the 22nd at Eastern Market. Whooo!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tonight at Fort Street

We'll let Doug tell it:

This Thursday, October 6th at 8ish p.m., we'll tap our 189th cask-conditioned beer. "Ginger On The Bottom", is actually a cask-conditioned lager. The base beer is one of those "when ya gonna have an Oktoberfest beer on tap?" beers. To the cask, we added fresh peeled ginger. If you like ginger snaps, ginger ale, Ginger from Gilligan's Island, or pestering me about why we don't have an Oktoberfest beer on tap, you're sure to love this beer! As always, we'll have free beer and autographed photos of Tina Louise for a few lucky folks in attendance at the tapping!

Mmmm, ginger....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Brew Day, Batch 346: Bitter

Target gravity 1.038-1.042 from Marris Otter plus 3% 80L crystal, 30 BUs from Mt. Hood, with a nice big late dose of Northern Brewer. Northern Brewer, to my senses, gives an interesting blend of flavors, with tea, mint, and wood chief among them. Fermentation to be carried out by W1056, which, while not exactly ideal for this beer, gets the job done reliably. If it does a good job with this wort, I just might give it something more challenging to do....

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sunday afternoon....

We spent yesterday afternoon drinking some fine beers at Tashmoo Biergarten, Detroit. Some innovative people have created a temporary beer garden of sorts in a vacant residential lot there. They managed to get the licenses involved to pour and charge for beer, and I'm sure proceeds will be going to local charities. It runs for 5 Sunday afternoons.
It's outdoors, and there's no tents or any other cover, so as long as it doesn't rain.....Beer are poured from a temporary bar toward the back of the lot, and people sit at very cool communal tables made from old doors atop trestles (I love these!).
The beers were great- Jolly Pumpkin Bambiere and La Parcela (their pumpkin beer) for $6 a pint, and MillKing It BRIK Irish-style Red & AXL Pale Ale, New Holland Poet Stout, and...I think there was one more, for $4 a pint. There were 2 food booths- brats and perogies, both sourced locally.
There was a good crowd there, despite the chilly day!

Double take

video
Thanks to The Rockery for hosting a fun evening last Wednesday. Scotty Karate, AND Scotty Karate. And a bunch of other Dark Horse beers.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Brewdog Insanity, round two!


A couple of months ago we went over to our friend Richard's house to share Tactical Nuclear Penguin, a freeze-distilled beer with 32% ABV. Well, Brewdog usurped themselves with Sink The Bismark, a "quadruple IPA that contains four times the hops, four times the bitterness and frozen four times to create at a staggering 41% ABV", and a Sunday evening a few weeks ago saw us at Richard's again, with our teeny pours and scared looks on our faces.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.....


Barb, AKA Mrs Richard.  (Thanks for a wonderful meal!)
Mr Cicerone's reaction- a slap on the face!
I guess I started breathing fumes.
Richard was very happy.
The beer did still taste like beer though. It had zero carbonation (unlike Penguin which had a moderate carbonation level), but the malt and hop character came through nicely, along with the HUGE alcohol. You could tell that this was (once) an IPA!

A pre-dinner cocktail of Cascade Kriek. Woody and sour, and very good!

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