Monday, August 22, 2011

We went to Bonny Doon..(again!)

That would be Great Taste of the Midwest, 2011. The 25th festival! My first one was 1997, or 1998 (I can't remember!), I skipped 1999 'cos I'd just had some surgery, and have since been to every one since. Mr Cicerone joined me for his first in 2003, the year we met (aaah, fond, fond memories of our starry-eyed courtship....). We're members of Chicago Beer Society, and hence get tickets through them, and luckily we've not missed out yet.
It was, as usual, a wonderful day.
Beer highlights were Revolution Brewing's saison, served with a small lemony cookie dipped in beery ice cream, Jolly Pumpkin's Calabaza Blanca with hibiscus (okay, we just had this at the MBG fest in July, but I couldn't resist!), Metropolitan Brewing's Krankshaft kolsch (poured through a robot draft tower!!),
Lafayette Brewing's agave wheat wine & their oatmeal stout poured through a coffee randall, Great Dane's THREE pilsners, New Glarus' everything, Kuhnhenn's Mild (on cask on the Real Ale tent), Goose Island's Sofie, Fleur & Scarlet (no, I didn't stand in the line for an hour to get a pour of Rare BCS), and a few more that can't be remembered clearly. Our plans to taste Chicago's 5 Rabbit beers, as well as the strong beers we always leave until last were foiled by the inevitable summer storm which hit hard at 5PM..
Food highlights were a smoky barbecued pork loin sandwich, and these.....
Back in Chicagoland after the fest, we dined at the incredible Bavarian Lodge in suburban Lisle which boasts this draft beer list....(wow!!). It was Porterhouse Oyster Stout for me.
The rest of the weekend saw us beer shopping (including a bottle of Brewdog's Sink The Bismark which I picked up for a friend), dining with friends (and we did enjoy 5 Rabbit's 5 Lizard witbier brewed with lime and passionfruit with dinner), a Viking breakfast with Child O' Mr Cicerone and a stop at Bell's on the way home (we missed out on Wild One at the festival).
Here's the new bathroom at The Eccentric Cafe!!

Detroit Draft Divas at Merchant's

I recently became a member of said Divas, a group of delightful beer-savvy women (wearing awesome t-shirts) who get together periodically to discover and enjoy the delights of local good craft brew. Honorary Diva Todd Parker from Copper Canyon regularly joins the group, and this past Sunday Merchant's Fine Wine welcomed the Divas into the store for browsing, shopping, a beer scavenger hunt with prizes for winners, and following this, lunch and beers at Fort Street.

Thanks ladies! It was fun. Next time you'll be able to taste some beer, as Merchant's will have its license to do this.

It's that time of year again.. Mr Cicerone and I practise, practise, practise in creating 10 new food and beer pairings for our annual Beer Brunch. (Here's 2009's)

Last week we pulverized a bunch of grapes and almonds into, er, something.....and tried 6 beers until we found just the right one. A recent evening of tasting cheese and a bunch of beers found us reinventing an "oldie but goodie" for this year's brunch, and we're making a test batch this weekend just to be sure. By accident we recently discovered a perfect beer accompaniment to grilled pineapple, and decided we might add that in to the menu- to discover the perfect beer was a limited release. So- last night we set upon tasting a lot of beer to find something with just the right nuances.....The salad course created some problems finding a perfect beer match but we did nail that one finally (luckily we love cucumber). Tonight it's all about bacon. We're about half done....and we're not giving away any more!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Brew Day, Batch 344: Irish Stout

'Cause we're out. Shouldn't be out of Irish stout, if you're me... Target OG 1.038-1.040, 40 BU from one addition of Northern Brewer. Going to cask condition this'n with a bit of Fuggles, I think. Can't wait....

Friday, August 5, 2011

Admittedly Not Of International Interest

... but very exciting locally, is First Tomato Day. Check out these ugly babies:

Caspian Pink tomatoes, the best tasting tomatoes I know of. Dinner this evening will (for Mr. C, anyway,) consist of one of these sliced up and piled on crusty bread with some good, peppery, aged salami. Some Maibock to wash it down might be in order, as well....

International Beer Day

Who knew? Apparently, Detroit is not international enough to have gotten the memo about this. Of course, we here at Chez Cicerone are for it. Heck, every day is Beer Day, here....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Most Important Ingredient

Whether we're talking beer, or life itself, we're talking about water. Out Washtenaw way, local brewers are staging a series of events to benefit the Huron River Watershed Council. Here's the press release from Dianna at Promote Michigan; click to embiggen:

Obviously, there's more than a little self-interest here, as brewers depend on a clean and healthy water supply to provide you and me with a clean and healthy beer supply! More and clickable info at the HRWC website.