Thursday, July 1, 2010
In The Begining There Was Home Brew
This beer adventure has shown us a lot. On the west coast we saw the heights of hop-forward beers. In Colorado, we got to know big bold mountain beers. Up in northern California, we saw first hand how some big breweries like Sierra Nevada retain thier craft roots yet strive for best practice in brewing ops. In Oregon and Seattle, cosmopolitan dining stole the show. Manhatten was slick and fast while Brooklyn was a solid scene and down to earth.
However, we hadn't yet taken a good look at the foundations. The movement that threads all these places and beer styles together, home brewing.
Meet the 2Cicerone's. In a leafy suburban street live Annette and Mike. They are both certified Cicerone's, Annette manages a bottleshop with Michigans biggest beer selection and Mike is an avid homebrewer of more than twenty years. The beer he creates is nothing short of amazing.
We were lucky enough to have his Kolsch, Rye Peppercorn Ale, IPA and his Imperial Pilsner, which was worth the flight tickets all on it's own!
It is hard to imagine two more well connected, knowledgable people on the east coast beer scene.
During the day we went out to the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery in Ann Arbor, Detroit, brilliant menu by the way, smokey wood fired pizza's went perfectly with the Bam Bier, Bam Noir and Belipago.
At the brewery the full extent of their operation sets you back a little. Not only have they dedicated their brewery exclusively to barrel aged sours, but sour beer gods Cantillon have donated wooden barrels to the brewery. It seems the sour beer gods approve!
We ended up at Slows Bar-B-Q for dinner, about as high end as American BBQ gets. Ribs, wings and pulled pork at their finest. Not to mention a cracking tap range!
Back to 2Cicerone's abode where we took a little historic tour through elusive and almost extinct beer styles such as Gose and Berliner Weisse. The night finished on a cracking Blood Orange Wheat Wine from Michigan brewery Short's.
Left: A sneaky home brewed IPA the following morning.
Above: Mike's home brew kit.