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How to Become a Certified Cicerone
Seven months after taking, and not passing, the Certified Cicerone Exam, I was still licking my wounds. Did I have the right stuff to hold the distinction of Certified Cicerone?
Belgian Beers from 12% Imports of Brooklyn
Beer bottles wrapped in tissue, elegant labels, and a never-ending garden of earthly delights seem to be the norm for Monk’s, displaying an élan vital second to none
99 Drams of Whiskey - Book Review
Hans Offringa, World-class whisky authority and author from Zwolle, the Netherlands, has generously contributed his review of 99 Drams of Whiskey, a 2009 volume by Kate Hopkins, published by St. Martin's Press.
Old wives tale: Never have beer before noon – that is a true sign that you have developed a drinking problem. Who are these old wives and where did they accumulate their higher education?
From the Beer Fox Archives
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Black Albert vs. Dark Lord
In dreamscapes, you might see the shadow of Black Albert on one hill, marching forth to face Dark Lord…his cap, dripping with the blood red wax that sealed his fate.
Beer Fox Tip of the Week
The Brewers Association has just published the long-awaited Draught Beer Quality Manual, prepared by the Technical Committee of the Brewers Association, and dated April 2009. This comprehensive guide is designed to "improve the quality of draught beer for all beer drinkers." Information about draught systems, serving beer, maintenance, and cleanliness has been consolidated from many sources to establish industry standards and is available to beverage industry members and consumers at:
Beer Fox Laugh of the Week
Getting a hairdryer through customs:
A distinguished young woman on a flight from Ireland
asked the Priest beside her, 'Father, may I ask a favor?'
'Of course, child. What may I do for you?'
'Well, I bought an expensive woman's electronic hair dryer for my mother's birthday that is unopened and well over the Customs limits, and I'm afraid they'll confiscate it. Is there any way you could carry it through customs for me? Under your robes perhaps?'
'I would love to help you, dear, but I must warn you: I will not lie.'
'With your honest face, Father, no one will question you.'
When they got to Customs, she let the priest go ahead of her.
The official asked, 'Father, do you have anything to declare?'
'From the top of my head down to my waist, I have nothing to declare.'
The official thought this answer strange, so asked, 'And what do you have to declare from your waist to the floor?'
'I have a marvelous instrument designed to be used on a woman, but which is, to date, unused.'
Roaring with laughter, the official said, 'Go ahead, Father.
Maui Brewing Co. (MBC) is excited to announce the long-awaited opening of their tasting room at their Lahaintown Production facility, at 910 Honoapiilani Highway #55, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761 USA Ph: 1.808.661.6205
The tasting room is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 2pm to 6pm and visitors can expect to sample Maui Brewing Co.'s trio of canned beers (Big Swell IPA, Bikini Blonde Lager and Coconut Porter), as well as a rotating selection of MBC draft microbrews. A beer sampler is available for just $1.00. Refillable, take-home growlers are also available for purchase.
Beer Fests and Events:
Max's Taphouse Rare & Obscure Event Part 2 - June 24-26, 2009, Max's Taphouse, 737 S. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231 USA - Ph: 410-675-6297 - 6:00 p.m. to close - Admission Free
Twenty-four to twenty-six rare and obscure beers will be on tap throughout the three day event, with different beers featured each night. For the beer connoisseur, this is a must-do event! Beers include selections from Hitachino, Harviestoun, Grado Plato, Cantillon, JW Lees, De Proef, De Ranke, Geants, Hofstetten, Slaapmutske, Ellezelloise, Nogne o, Flying Dog, Hopfenstark, Allagash, Brouwerij De Dochter Van de Korenaar, Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus, Brouwerij Contreras, BFM, Del Borgo, Piccolo, Wintercoat, Prof Briem. Liefmans, Christoffel, Avery, Weissenhoe, Mahrs, Stone, De Glazen Toren, and Italaino Cassissona. For information:
Cask Beer Fest - June 27, 2009 - Matinecock Masonic Historical Society, 14 W. Main Street in Oyster Bay, NY, USA - 1:00-5:00 p.m.
Touted as one of the largest cask beer festivals on Long Island, the festival will present samples of the cask beer from the local, award winning breweries like Blue Point Brewing Company and Black Forest Brew Haus, plus breweries hailing from California, Pennsylvania, New York State, and Massachusetts. Tickets are $40, with DD tickets available for $10. For information:
Hops & Cops at Yards Brewing Company - June 28, 2009 - Yards Brewing Company, 901 N. Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia, PA - 1:00-5:00 p.m.
This Summer fundraiser celebrates with the Philadelphia Federal Order of Police and will have live music, great food and incredible beer. Event will be both inside and outside of the brewery.
Selinsgrove Beer & Wine Festival - July 18, 2009 - Downtown Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania - 2:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Micros and Craft Brews, wine from regional wineries, entertainment, tastings, and great food are delivered in this historic section in Northeastern USA. For info:
The Chefs Association of the Pacific Coast Master Butcher Demo - July 20, 2009 - Cathedral Hill Hotel, 1101 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA. 94109, USA - Demonstration: 6 p.m. Hors D’Ouevre Reception: 6:45 p.m. Dinner: 7:30 p.m.
Features a demonstration by a Master Butcher followed by a Four Course Dinner paired with the excellent beers of Lagunitas Brewing Company. For information and reservations:
Big Beer Float River & Beer Festival - August 8-9, 2009, Ann Morrison Park Fountain Area, Boise, ID - 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
With over 50 beers, live music, dozens of great vendors, kids events, a home-brewers challenge, costume contest and lots of other great events.How about a $1000 gift certificate at Brewtopia Beer Market for the person who travels the farthest? Good deal! Info to come at:
Great American Beer Festival - September 24-26, 2009 - Colorado Convention Center, Hall F, 14th and Stout Streets. Denver, Colorado 80302 - 5:30-10:00 p.m. with one Saturday Session (members only) 12:30-4:30 p.m.
The Great American Beer Festival is listed as one of the top 1,000 places in the US to visit before you die. Tickets for this year's festival went on sale to the public June 1. Tickets for the Saturday Members-Only session have sold quickly with 42% of the tickets already sold. Thursday – Saturday evening sessions have already climbed to around 20% sold. Info at:
Strasbourg European Mondial de la Biere - October 16-18, 2009, Strasbourg Exhibition Park, (Wacken), Halls 20/21, Strasbourg (European capital & metropolis of Alsace), France - 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Sunday
"Mondial de la Biere wanted to establish ourselves in Europe, and Strasbourg, the French beer capital, was a natural choice," said Jeannine Marois, founder and president of the Mondial de la bière. At a time of « Dégustez peu, dégustez mieux » (taste sparingly, taste better), beer is taken to a higher cultural level, where hundreds of beers from across the world will awaken European taste buds as the craft brewing world gathers full speed and strength.
Craft Beer of the Week Award
Mama Mia! Pizza Beer, Pizza Beer Company, St. Charles, Illinois, brewed and bottled by Sprecher Brewing Company, Glendale, Wisconsin, USA
Style: Herbed/Spice Beer - 4.6 ABV
A hazy, golden amber body swirls in the glass, while pungent herbs and spices immediately seize your attention. Brewed with oregano, basil, tomato, and garlic, this beer messes with your mind.
From the website: "Pizza Beer is a debris free product. The Margarita pizza is put into the mash & steeped like a tea bag. A whole wheat crust made with water, flour & yeast is topped with tomato, oregano, basil & garlic. The essence of the pizza spices is washed off with hot water and filtered into a brewpot, where it is boiled for a long, long time. During the process, we add hops & spices in a cheesecloth type bag & filter the cooled liquid into a fermentation vessel."
In reality? Aromas are of pizza and continue, more delicately, into the flavor profile. With highly spiced, Italian food - lasagne, lobster ravioli, pizza, or penne pasta with marinara sauce and parmesan - the flavors echo more gently than they initially appear. For the adventurous beer taster, this is a recommended experience.
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Carolyn Smagalski, Beer and Brewing Editor
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